How Can Therapy Help With Your GERD?

Published: June 26, 2014

Speech-language pathologists (SLP) are therapists who provide rehabilitation interventions to individuals who display difficulty with speech, receptive and expressive language and cognitive skills including memory loss. Speech therapists also provide therapeutic interventions to people who display difficulty with swallowing food, liquids, and/or medications as well as voice disorders.

GastroEsophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) can be a contributor to difficulty with swallowing or changes in vocal intensity or pitch. GERD is the backflow of acid from the stomach into the swallowing tube or the esophagus. Symptoms of GERD include heart burn or burning in your throat, a feeling of something stuck below the Adam’s apple after eating and even pain going down your arm. If you have experienced any symptoms of GERD, you should speak with your physician. The doctor may recommend an esophagram which is a non-invasive imaging exam that can further look at your esophagus. Medications are also available for GERD and should be discussed with your physician.

GERD can also be controlled by assessing your daily activities and life style that may be contributing to the symptoms. Food items that increase the risk for GERD are spicy or acidic foods, fried foods, caffeine, alcohol and dairy products to name a few. The speech therapist will assess current diet consistency and monitor for signs of swallowing difficulty and symptoms of reflux. They can provide suggestions on strategies that you can implement with your daily meals. Other contributors to GERD are weight gain, increased stress and positioning during and after eating or drinking. Occupational therapy can provide suggestions for positioning including positioning devices like wedges or raising your bed. Physical therapy can help to improve your posture and help improve overall body strength. Avoiding wearing tight or constricting clothing and eating smaller meals more frequently can also be utilized to reduce the symptoms of GERD.

If you have GERD and need rehabilitation intervention, the therapy staff on the campus of Passavant Community can help. They are available on an outpatient basis by calling (724) 452-3492 or via home health services at (877) 862-6659.

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