Authors: Wada S, Tohara H, Iida T, Inoue M, Sato M, Ueda K
Title: Jaw-Opening Exercise for Insufficient Opening of Upper Esophageal Sphincter
Source: Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation 2012 93(11): 1995-1999
Year: 2012
Research Design: Case Series

Objective: To investigate the effects of the jaw-opening exercise on decreased upper esophageal sphincter (UES) opening while swallowing. Design: Intervention study: before-after trial with 4-week follow-up evaluation. Setting: A university school of dentistry dental hospital. Participants: Patients with dysphagia (N=8; 7 men, 1 woman; average age ± SD, 70.5±11.3y; age range, 54–86y). Interventions: All patients performed a jaw-opening exercise to strengthen the suprahyoid muscles. The exercise involved opening the jaw to its maximum and maintaining this position for 10 seconds. Each exercise set consisted of 5 repetitions, and 2 sets were carried out daily for 4 weeks. The effectiveness of the exercise was evaluated by a videofluorographic swallowing study (VFSS). Main Outcome Measures: Hyoid elevation, UES opening, pharynx passage time, and pharyngeal residue after swallowing at preexercise and postexercise were compared by VFSS. Results: Compared with before starting the exercise, significant improvements were observed in the extent of upward movement of the hyoid bone (p<.05), the amount of UES opening (p<.05), and the time for pharynx passage (p<.05) 4 weeks after initiating the exercise. Pharyngeal residue decreased in some subjects, and no increases were noted in any subjects. Conclusions: The jaw-opening exercise is an effective treatment for dysphagia caused by dysfunction of hyoid elevation and UES opening.

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