The Wonders of Speech-Language Pathologists

I had to learn how to swallow and chew all over again and still have trouble drinking water. My brain injury caused me to have weakness to the left side of my tongue and the left side of my throat. The accident had left me with a broken jaw. I had to first strength these muscles then I could worry about swallowing and chewing correctly correctly.

The speech- language pathologist had me singing or told me to let out a loud humming sound that came from deep within my throat. She also had me practice movements with my tongue at an attempt to strengthen it as well.

She also would have me practice opening my mouth as wide as I could. This was to strengthen my jaw which I had broken during the accident. She told me to open as wide as I could while my mouth was wired shut to strengthen it so that I could chew food once I got my jaw unwired.

The trick to swallowing is you must angle your head down in order not to choke (especially with clear liquids), but this problem with liquid is probably due to my tracheotomy rather than my brain injury.

But, the speech-language pathologist taught to make sure I chewed my food very good before I swallowed it, taught me to take small sips of water to wash down the food and made sure I wasn’t trying to guzzle my beverage.

I still have problems drinking but I am getting better at it. When I was in rehab they only let me drink out of a straw, in order to keep my head angled down. Now, every time I drink out of a can or bottle I practically French kiss the bottle. I do this, subconsciously, to slow the flow of liquids. My friends make fun of me all the time.

I, now, make a conscious effort to curl my tongue before I put the beverage to my lips. I make sure my heads angled down and I take a sip. If my head is angled up, I choke but I give a mild cough. Unlike before where I would cough repeatedly.

Sometimes as I am eating my food the left side of my jaw pops or gives a loud crack. It is one hundred times better than it was when I was in rehab. It’s all good, I’ll take it!

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Comments

  • Charlie Radcliff  On November 3, 2010 at 17:46

    My jaw always clicks too! I broke it in two places and now have two metal plates which are pinned to my jawbone. Always clicking when a chew or just whenever I want to freak someone out and click my jaw! haha. It feels similar to when you crack your knuckles…hard to describe!

    • zgauvin  On November 3, 2010 at 18:35

      Isn’t it annoying! When I eat sometimes, it just pops extremely loud and it hurts. Do you have any pain?

  • Debbie Hampton  On November 15, 2010 at 20:53

    WOW! Extremely impressive site. You have done a lot of good work here. I had a great deal of tightness in my jaw after my ABI. Muscle tension is a side effect of a brain injury. I could literally feel my jaw loosen and it would pop as it adjusted in doing neurofeedback.

    I have also done canio sacral massage which has helped my jaw and speech tremendously. She is trained in TMJ and actually puts gloves on and goes in my mouth and works on my jaw joint from in there.

    Please visit my blog where I tell about many therapies I have done which have proven very beneficial for me. Many of which you can do on your own to take advantage of the brain’s neuroplasticity to the fullest. It does take time and persistence, but it does work!

    http://www.thebestbrainpossible.com

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