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Michigan Head & Neck Institute

TMJ Blog

Difficulty Swallowing? Dysphagia & TMD

Have you ever had difficulty swallowing? You are not alone. Approximately 1 in every 17 people will experience this symptom in their lifetime. Dysphagia can result from numerous causes including degenerative neurologic disorders (Parkinson’s or Multiple Sclerosis), traumatic head and neck injuries, respiratory conditions (COPD), autoimmune disorders (meningitis) and cancer treatments (radiation/medications) to name a few.

Dysphagia arises when there are problems with the swallowing process, occurring anywhere from the stomach to the mouth. Impaired function in the larynx, esophagus, palate or even tongue may be present, causing difficulty when stimulating the swallowing reflex.

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Many people suffering from TMJ disorder report difficulty swallowing as one of their various symptoms. On either side of the mandible (lower jaw), the attachment of the anterior digastric muscles loops around the hyoid bone. When these muscles are tight or foreshortened, they can move the hyoid bone, in turn causing difficulty swallowing.

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To alleviate this, one common treatment is to inject a small amount of Marcaine into the ligamentous portion of the anterior digastric at the anterior inferior border of the chin (tip of the chin). This modality often improves the swallowing of food, liquids and even saliva.

Dr. Richard Klein has been utilizing this treatment in his practice since 1985 when he opened the Michigan Head and Neck Institute. For more information on the treatment of Dysphagia, please contact our office at (586) 573 – 0438 or info@michiganheadandneck.com

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The contents of this website, such as text, graphics, images, and other materials are for informational purposes only. While there are many commonalities among multiple TMD and sleep apnea cases, each patient is unique. Information on this website should be used to educate the reader about what they should discuss with their doctor if they are suffering from the listed symptoms. The information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Seek the advice of your physician or you may call our office with any questions you may have regarding TMD or sleep apnea. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or 911 immediately.