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Simple tilt of head makes pills go down, say researchers


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#1 janey

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Posted 21 June 2010 - 03:14 PM

Simple tilt of head makes pills go down, say researchers.

As part of a four-year study, 33 children with previous difficulties swallowing medication were asked to try various head positions — in some cases looking up, down, to the left or to the right — using candy as practice "pills." Tamara Gignac. Calgary Herald. 06/14/10. (Also see: Dysphagia)

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#2 janey

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Posted 22 June 2010 - 02:42 AM

I know this article speaks specifically about children, but I know from experience that a specific tilt of the head can help with swallowing. Last summer I was diagnosed with Oropharyngeal dysphagia. This is difficulty swallowing due to weak muscles at the top of the esophagus. Food can get stuck in the back of my throat and when that happens, I have a hard time getting it into the esophagus. The most helpful thing I learned in physical therapy was to tilt my head forward when I swallow. That opens up the passage and also prevents food from going the wrong way. It works great!!!! In contrast to that, tilting my head in any other direction - back or turning to the side - actually causes food to get stuck and sends me into a choking fit. So if you do have a hard time swallowing things, you might test this out. You might find a tilt position that makes swallowing a little easier.
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#3 Shelley Ensz

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Posted 23 June 2010 - 03:56 AM

I was almost at my wits end for swallowing some pills, when I learned about the head tilt. I need to bend my head forward when taking pills, and bend it forward when food gets stuck in my throat, as well.

For some reason, I was taught to bend my head backward when swallowing a pill -- and that is exactly the position that can get pills (and food) stuck for me. It seems counterintuitive, but give it a try if you are having pill swallowing challenges, and see what position works best for you.
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