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Valentina Carlile Osteopata
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  • Writer's pictureValentina Carlile DO

Osteopathic approach to Reinke's edema

Reinke's edema is an irreversible chronic inflammatory disease of the vocal cords. This disease is a predilection for smokers, it mainly affects between 40 and 60 years of age and without significant difference between the two sexes, although other factors such as voice abuse and gastroesophageal reflux can also favor it.

As with other vocal pathologies, a timely laryngoscopy performed when it is realized that the vocal disorders persist over time, allows an early diagnosis.

Over time, nicotine determines the apposition of a nodular gelatinous collection on the vocal cord, precisely in the space between it and the mucosa. This phenomenon, in most cases bilateral, creates a coating and weighting of the vocal cords which causes the voice to become more hoarse over time due to the simultaneous vibration from the nodular formation and the cords during phonation and breathing. An accessory consequence of chordal heaviness is that to be able to reproduce the sounds that require chordal adduction, it becomes necessary to resort to accessory muscles, such as the muscles of the cervical tract and the cords with consequent hypotonic cord degeneration, and greater phonatory effort. Sometimes these gelatinous clusters become so large that they obstruct the airways.

The resulting voice is the low, hoarse one, typical of the smoker.

This pathology has a surgical resolution of removal of the alteration. The intervention is usually followed by a speech therapy rehabilitation based mainly on breathing and vocalization exercises. Not infrequent is the persistence of chordal hypotonia, very often related to the spatial - functional variations of the laryngeal antrum.

The contribution of the osteopath is essential in this phase since it will be necessary to restore the entire upper triangle and its balances in order to remove those fees that have been adopted for a long time. For what is my personal work experience it is always more profitable to be able to 'put a hand' on the patient immediately after the surgery in order to be able to rebalance him before he starts the speech therapy therapy, in order to avoid that the execution of the proposed exercises is characterized from fees now acquired by the patient. The yield and recovery times are thus optimized.

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