Question About Swallowing

Hello, I have talked a little too Jen about this, but I was wondering what others experience as well. One of my symptoms, probably more from the instability than the Chiari, is trouble swallowing. If you have this as well, can you explain what specifically your difficulty is when you swallow? I always saw on the symptom list “difficulty swallowing” but didn’t know if my symptom qualified.
I seem to have more difficultly swallowing my own salivia and liquid. I also have trouble positioning my neck and head to open my mouth enough to take bites of food sometimes. When I do swallow, I have to position my head a certianly way and it’s usually a really slow swallow, and sometimes feels like it just goes up instead of down. Lol
And, I wonder what causes the difficulty.

I have that too but it isn’t every day or all the time. Every once and a while I’ll be eating or chewing gum and I can’t swallow or its hard… almost like when you have something stuck in your throat but you can’t cough it up or swallow it’s like your throat is temporarily paralyzed.

I feel like the ear thing, this everything, we are like long lost sisters! :D I get "choked" on my saliva and fluids. Mostly water, Kool-aid, etc. I have to tuck my chin when swallowing fluids. It also helps that I use the same kind of cups with straws all the time. I rarely "drink" out of a regular cup without a straw.

Sometimes I also swallow so much air it gets stuck.


Oro-motor dyspraxia.

The Chiari can cause pressure on the lower cranial nerve nuclei, which is what helps coordinate swallowing(and your gone, so speech is sometimes involved as well).

In the pre-verbal patient population(toddlers and younger), sleep apnea and failure to thrive are common presenting problems. They are just too young to complain of the other symptoms. There are times the child ends up with a feeding tube before anyone thinks to do an MRI of their head.

In general, it takes greater coordination for thin liquids(so some patients are placed on food thickeners to help).

Just like a sleep study can evaluate for central sleep apnea, a swallow study(usually ordered by a gastro-enterologist(GI doc)) can distinguish a neurological cause for oro-motor dyspraxia.

The straw answer is unusual(and really shouldn't help significant dysfunction but may get all the muscles moving together in a voluntary fashion(sucking through the straw) before the involuntary muscles kick in(swallow)).

That makes a lot of sense! I figured most of my symptoms were all rolled into the Chiari, but never understood how! As always, I love having answers! I haven't noticed it much since decompression but I'm also a lot more careful and tuck my chin so that I don't have a coughing spell!!