Difficulty Swallowing Acupuncture Case Study

Dysphagia (Difficulty Swallowing)

“Denise” was a 28 year-old-female whose main complaint was difficulty swallowing.  Sometimes when eating, she would swallow her food and it would simply lodge in her esophagus, getting stuck before it could reach the stomach.

The stuck food would put pressure on her windpipe which would create a bit of panic, even though she could still breathe.

She would typically make herself vomit to relieve the pressure of the food.  She had visited the ER in the past for this condition.  The medical staff there actually discovered that she had an especially narrow esophagus.

Unfortunately they made this discovery by inserting a scope down her throat that was too wide for the space, which caused tearing and further injury to the esophagus.

By the time we met she was still healing from the trauma of being scoped, and still struggling with the occasional difficulty swallowing.

Even with a narrow esophagus, the trouble swallowing wasn’t constant.  So the question was “why sometimes and not others?”

During our first visit it was revealed that she was leading a very busy life, and often ate dinner in a rush, standing up, hustling around her home office in between bites.  Turns out those were the times she was most likely to get food stuck.

She hadn’t made that connection before.

Also foods that tended to be a bit dry, like chicken breast, had a much higher tendency to stick.

We used acupuncture treatment to re-regulate her nervous system (get her out of constant stress mode) so that her entire digestive system could have the blood flow needed to work more efficiently.

A bit of lifestyle modification (drink plenty of water with drier foods, chew well, actually sit down and enjoy your food) and she was symptom free after a short course of treatment.

Follow up a year later and the difficulty swallowing hadn’t returned.