Difficulty in swallowing is called dysphagia; it is prevalent in up to 65 percent of stroke patients. If the symptom is left untreated, then the patient may suffer from increased disability, poor nutrition and pneumonia.
The ingestion of food or drink in the airway and lungs can occur to people with dysphagia. Pneumonia is another life-threatening problem that may develop. To treat dysphagia, most doctors recommend a speech language pathologist who recommends therapy such as exercises to strengthen the mouth and throat muscles. In order to ensure that stroke survivors with swallowing problems receive adequate nutrition, doctors often use tube feeding.
In China, acupuncture is used after a stroke once the patient is no longer in a life-threatening condition. Some patients who have received acupuncture have recovered from dysphagia. Acupuncture may also help patients to gradually improve their speaking ability, and may help patients with some paralysis to increase their mobility.
Acupuncture is an affordable treatment which may help in the rehabilitation of the mouth and throat muscles after stroke.