• Difficulty Swallowing & Swallowing Disorders
  • Why Can’t I Swallow?
  • NeuroMuscular Electrial Stimulation (NMES)
  • Esophageal Dysphagia
  • Dysphagia in People with Dementia


(Flexible Endoscopic Evaluation of Swallowing)

We are proud to be one of the few providers that has this functional exam of the swallow with use of flexible endoscopy, more commonly referred to as FEES (Flexible Endoscopic Evaluation of Swallow). This allows us to bring invaluable diagnostic measures regarding the function of your swallow. It requires no anesthesia. The small wire on the end of the scope gets passed through your nose to the back of your throat where we can visualize the areas within and surrounding your voice box.

Difficulty Swallowing & Swallowing Disorders

Cobalt Therapy offers extensive support to those experiencing a range of swallowing difficulties. We are often a doctor’s invaluable resource for helping to narrow down what may be underlying their patients’ swallowing disorders. The medical term for a swallowing disorder is dysphagia, which presents as difficulty in swallowing food or liquids safely.

When we swallow a drink for example, it should go down the esophagus (food pipe) into your stomach. If the swallow is impaired, it may result in the drink getting displaced into the trachea (airway) which may then lead to coughing. If not expelled by coughing, the liquid may enter the lungs. This increases chances of acquiring aspiration pneumonia.

Why Can’t I Swallow?

Figuring out the source of one’s swallowing difficulties is a challenging task to say the least if there was not an acute event (such as a stroke or surgical injury). So many factors can impact how we swallow from our colon all the way up to the brain. No doctor’s order is necessary to be evaluated by us for your swallowing difficulties. But we will need a doctor that is willing to sign your plan of care once established before we can begin treatment. Often our evaluations can identify more accurately what type of testing you will need for better diagnosis of what is truly causing your swallowing disorder. There are more than 25 different tests to date that are part of diagnosing a swallowing disorder. Getting the right ones done will not only be cost effective, but will save you a lot of time and frustration! We often serve as a coordinator between doctors for helping you resolve your swallowing difficulties.

Click here to learn more about Why Can’t I Swallow?

Neuromuscular Electrical Stimulation (NMES)

People also refer to NMES therapy as VitalStim or E-Stim, which is short for electrical stimulation. NMES therapy involves a device that delivers an electrical current through electrodes that are placed over the identified areas of weakness. The current sends a signal to the nerves which help increase muscle contractions when swallowing. With this technology, the patient can not only improve accuracy of muscle contraction but help re-educate the muscles for swallowing purposes.

We are especially excited about the Ampcare Effective Swallowing Protocol (ESP™). ESP uses a neuro re-eduation method for optimal treatment results. We’ve seen great results so far with this program!

Click here to learn about Ampcare’s Effective Swallowing Protocol

Esophageal Dysphagia

There are a variety of problems that can arise in the esophagus (food pipe) that ultimately wreck havoc on the swallow function. Often, silent reflux plays a major role in this as the problem can exist for an extended period of time unknown to the patient. Too much reflux over long periods of time can alter the lining within the esophagus and cause an overactive UES (Upper Esophageal Sphincter). While getting to the source of the reflux problem should be the number one priority, there are also exercises that can be performed to allow that UES to open more freely. This results in less difficulties with swallowing foods. We also help guide you in your doctor’s nutritional recommendations for getting your reflux under control as well as offer methods that have been shown to help our patients.

Dysphagia in People with Dementia

For people with Dementia, finding a solution to their swallowing difficulties presents a much different challenge. Aggressive treatment methods like Neuro Muscular Electrical Stimulation (NMES) may not be possible. Therefore, more traditional dysphagia treatment options should be utilized in combination with proven compensatory strategies by modifying the diet textures and methods of consuming foods/liquids. Let our specialists help guide you for best management of your loved one’s dysphagia.