Swallowing exercises

We’re keen to support my mum who’s had a massive stroke recover from bad dysphagia - her speech therapist seems to have disengaged in the last few weeks (long story - it’s in my previous thread!), and refusing to do another swallow test pre-discharge which might not be for another few weeks, which seems weird considering mum’s consultant is being so supportive. Can anyone here recommend any exercises we can do with her to practice her swallowing as we can push back and justify another swallow test?
Expectations are low but we’re seeing mum improve with other kinds of support we’re giving her as a family.

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Hi @EMG72
If you use magnifying glass there are 33 posts about swallowing exercises and you’ll find more there as well as anything you get has answers to this question :slight_smile:

Also if you search swallowing exercises for dysphagia on YouTube you will get a lot of hits including the NHS and various other hospitals and clinics.

Trolling through the two sources will provide you with insights - if you find any particularly worth recommending you might pop those links into the chat here :slight_smile:

As far as I’m aware (I had several tests - I thought!) a swallow test requires only a teaspoon and some water what are you expecting that they might do in some weeks?



My stroke was mild in comparison to your mum’s but I did have my own issues with swallowing and choking in the beginning. One little exercise I happened upon myself was because my throat muscles were always tensing up and closing up the throat a little.

I just pushed my tongue down hard to the bottom of my mouth to try to get a bit of stretch and hollow out the back of my throat, it pushes the Adams apple down too. It’s like trying to stretch out the neck of a balloon though to try and get a good stretch back there. And every time I swallowed I could feel it all tightening up again. Which is why I made a habit out of it and did it after every bite of food or sip of liquid.
Yawning was another method of achieving the same result, I think that’s what gave me the idea in the first place.

It did gradually stop tensing up and closing but it took some months. And I never really got much help for it from the physio or speech therapist…but we were all in lockdown at the time.


I am confused by the teaspoon and some water for the swallow test? Mine were much more involved than that. I assume you are thinking of the GUSS test done at bedside?

I had all of those mentioned after this comment:

A swallowing assessment test helps determine why someone is having trouble swallowing and if treatment has been effective. There are several types of swallowing assessment tests, including:

  • Barium swallow

A radiologist will ask the patient to swallow a thick, chalky barium drink while X-rays or fluoroscopy are taken to show the barium moving through the mouth and throat.

  • Swallowing study

Also known as fluoroscopy, this test uses X-rays to film the throat and esophagus while the patient swallows liquid mixed with barium or solid foods coated with barium. The patient will also watch a video screen with a doctor and speech pathologist, and take different positions to see how they affect swallowing.

  • Endoscopic evaluation of swallowing

Also known as endoscopy, a speech-language pathologist (SLP) uses a small tube with a camera and light on the end called an endoscope to see what happens in the mouth and throat when the patient swallows. The patient will sit for the test, have the tube put into their nose and down their throat, and eat and drink different things.

  • Fiberoptic endoscopic evaluation of swallowing

An SLP passes a thin, flexible instrument through the patient’s nose and views parts of their throat as they swallow.

A swallowing assessment test may also include a bedside swallow screen, where the patient drinks sequentially and the SLP places their hands on the patient’s throat to feel when they swallow. The SLP will also watch the patient for coughing, choking, or voice changes.


Ok yes I can see that they are much more involved than what I had which was somebody with a cup of water and a teaspoon and took about 5 seconds

I guess I was triaged into the 'no further testing required’ category