Most of us take speaking for granted. But for many stroke victims, or those with brain injuries relearning how to speak, and sometimes even swallow can be a long recovery process.
At University Health System's Reeves Rehabilitation Center, speech and language pathologists see all sorts of patients. Speech pathologist Rocio Infante said, "Ranging from strokes, traumatic brain injury. We will see people who have speech and language disorders, voice disorders, swallowing, and also cognitive disorders."
Dr. Infante says stroke patients are majority of who they see, many have trouble swallowing. She told us, "If it affects the swallowing muscles they become weak and every time you drink or have something to eat it may go down the wrong way."
They use several techniques to help retrain the muscles many of us take for granted. "One of them is considered the Masako maneuver where you stick your tongue out and hold it between your teeth or your lips and try to swallow," said Dr. Infante.
Another technique is called the Mendelssohn. Dr. Infante said, "When you swallow you will feel your voice box go up and down what you were trying to do is try to hold your voice box up for two seconds during the swallow." Again, to retrain those muscles.
Dr. Infante added, "Men are very hard to open up, but once we establish that relationship and they see we are goofy, and easy to talk, to they will open up and we really get to see that emotional aspect and we help them cope and transition with what they have now to get them back to the highest level that they can."
Next Wednesday we'll introduce you to Scott Davie who has suffered six strokes since 1999, but one in 2016 greatly affected his ability to speak and remember. He told us, "In 2016 was the first time I've ever been able to get therapy."
Hear how speech therapy has helped his recovery process in next week's Real Men Wear Gowns. For more men's health information call 210-358-3045. You can also find the rest of our Real Men Wear Gowns stories, just go to wearthegown.com