Have you ever had trouble 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 trouble when stimulating the swallowing reflex.

Dysphagia and TMD

Many people suffering from TMJ disorder report trouble 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 TMJ trouble swallowing.

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 TMJ difficulty 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.