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Valentina Carlile Osteopata
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  • Writer's pictureValentina Carlile DO

Myofunctional therapy; why collaboration between speech therapist and osteopath is important

Myofunctional therapy; why collaboration between speech therapist and osteopath is important

It often happens that a patient undergoing myofunctional speech therapy interrupts the course due to the onset of pain in the muscles of the upper triangle or is unable to make significant progress in the acquisition of new motor patterns.

In these cases, speech therapists send patients for osteopathic evaluation/treatment before they can continue on the myofunctional path. All of this happens quite regularly depending on your dental class.

Why all this?

What has been found is that the isokinetic exercise of suction of the tongue against the palate has repercussions on the expressive form of the dorsal-cervical discomfort and pain relationships due to a significant difference in the suprahyoid and suboccipital musculature between the classes and the assimilation of the phase intermediate stage of myofunctional therapy.

These tension differences trigger discomfort or pain, limiting the progress of the therapy.

It is for this reason that patients are sent for osteopathic consultation, precisely to correct complex biomechanics that can not only trigger but enhance these symptoms.

The explanation is that functional units such as the tongue have a greater predisposition to these frameworks because it is anchored to the hyoid bone, which is interconnected to sophisticated systems, such as the cranio-cervical-mandibular one, whose complex mechanism requires adequately developed and positioned structures so that the suboccipital muscles contribute to the physiological cervical curvature (lordosis) and ensure the stability of the head so that the suprahyoid muscles exert craniomandibular leverage and the tongue can therefore move.

Patients with class 2/II division, specifically, present occlusion with pronounced incisal vertical overlap, retrognathism and a face slightly inclined downwards. The change in head posture can lead the tongue musculature, the interconnecting chain of the hyoid bone, and the cervical spine to reorganize to ensure the balance of the stomatognathic system. In particular, during the movement of the tongue, due to its posterior displacement, according to mandibular retrognathism, not only the mandibular suprahyoid muscles, but also the postural muscles of the head, suboccipital can be overloaded.

In these patients, orofacial myofunctional disorders are observed resulting from the flaccidity of the lingual muscles, such as the accommodation of the tongue on the oral floor and the interposition of the same between the arches during swallowing and speech.

Linguistic strengthening is one of the main objectives to be achieved. During the movements of the tongue, however, the mandibular and cervical muscles can also be overloaded resulting in the symptoms and limitations complained of which limit the continuation of the exercises.


Valentina Carlile - Osteopath expert in Osteopathy applied to voice and speech disorders since 2002. For information and reservations visit the page Contacts

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