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Your suprahyoid muscle is in your neck just below your chin. It engages when you open your mouth, swallow and speak. Both elderly patients and people who have been injured can have difficulty swallowing if this muscle weakens. Research shows some basic exercises can help strengthen your suprahyoid.
Your suprahyoid muscle is composed of three muscles: geniohyoid, mylohyoid and the anterior belly of the digastrics muscle. Your neck is divided into two regions, a front (anterior) and a back (posterior). Your suprahyoid muscles are on the front of your neck above the hyoid bone. This bone is directly beneath your tongue. It is unique because it does not attach to any other bone in your body. A group of muscles, including your suprahyoid, and ligaments attach and support it.
The main function of this muscle is assisting with swallowing by pulling the hyoid bone upward and forward. This widens your pharynx and closes your respiratory passageway so food doesn't end up in your lungs. In addition to swallowing, this muscle assists with pronunciation and making sure all your neck muscles work collectively as you flex your neck.
Benefit of Exercises
If you have experienced an injury or stroke, you may have lost the strength in your suprahyoid muscles. This can lead to dysphagia, difficulty in swallowing, or aspiration, taking in food into your lungs. A set of exercises targeted at strengthening your upper esophageal sphincter can strengthen your suprahyoid muscles. This helps you open your mouth wider and prevents flow resistance.
A study published in the вЂњArchives of Physical Medicine and RehabilitationвЂќ in 2012 showed that jaw-opening exercises can strengthen the suprahyoid. The participants opened their jaws to the maximum and held this position for 10 seconds. They did two sets with five repetitions per set every day for four weeks. Compared to the beginning of the study, participants had significant improvement in the upward movement of the hyoid bone, opening of the upper esophageal sphincter and the amount of time it took for food to clear to the esophagus.