vital stim therapy
VitalStim therapy is a painless non-invasive therapy for treating dysphagia obtained by external electrical stimulation which is applied to the front of the neck. This is an FDA approved program for restoring the swallowing function in patients with Oropharyngeal Dysphagia.
At Comfort Home Health Agency, our VitalStim Therapy is combined with traditional therapy. It is an effective way to help accelerate strength, restore function, and help the brain remap the swallow. It unites the power of electrical stimulation with the benefits of swallowing exercise.
What you need to know
How does VitalStim therapy work?
VitalStim therapy uses small electrical currents to stimulate the muscles that are responsible for swallowing. This comes with rehabilitation. The VitalStim therapy is based on neuro-muscular electrical stimulation (NMES), where a small electric current is carefully calibrated and is emitted by electrodes design specifically for this purpose. The current stimulates motor nerves, and these, in turn, cause the contraction of the muscles involved in the complex mechanism of swallowing. The quality of this program works with repeated therapy from where muscles are retrained.
The Speech Therapist will make prior assessments of the muscle groups as the initial step to determine the program’s depth.
After this, the speech therapists will initiate the Vital Stim to the patient. At the same time, your therapist will work on positions, maneuvers, and exercises to retrain the swallow’s ability.
The therapy usually takes about an hour or less, depending on the case of the patient.
Upon application, the muscle strength increases. The patient’s cortical reorganizations are also accelerated, and the effectiveness of exercise therapy also increases.
Visible improvements in swallowing are almost immediate. However, on average, it is often after 6 to 20 treatment session to see good results.