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Valentina Carlile Osteopata
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  • Writer's pictureValentina Carlile DO

Osteopathy: How to treat voice disorders and improve it

Among the most common voice disorders we find nodules, polyps, cysts, hemorrhagic flaps, chordal paralysis, chordal paresis, inclined vocal cords, granulomas, polypoid degenerations, and spastic dysphonies.

Many factors can trigger a vocal pathology, such as a bacterial or viral cause, infections, allergies, gastroesophageal reflux, cervical problems, substance abuse, psychogenic factors, etc.

Vocal disturbances can also be the result of a very personal physical use of the voice, use that we can call overload, misuse or abuse. However, what most ailments have in common is some form of muscle imbalance. For example, although paralysis and paresis can be caused by viruses, granulomas can originate from gastroesophageal reflux and polyps can originate from smoking, these irritants trigger the phase of muscle imbalance in and of itself.

The key to treating voice disorders is to both address muscle imbalance and try to reduce irritants.

Our body is a perfect machine capable of creating rewards in order to survive and to keep functioning. If it's too hot you sweat to cool down If you become dehydrated, a series of bodily functions begins to save energy for survival. If the larynx is attacked by acid, the body creates mucus to protect it. If your feet hurt, your entire body compensates to allow you to keep moving.

Likewise, if there is discomfort when we sing or speak (for whatever reason), the muscles of the vocal system begin to compensate in order to continue producing sounds. In simple terms we could call it 'compensatory maladaptation behavior' and this, however, could become habitual over time. Athletes are well aware that it is often this secondary tension, the misalignment of the body, that can become a big problem, sometimes bigger than the initial cause.

Athletes who have learned about their body know that early treatment of a disorder is essential for proper and effective recovery. They also learn to train their muscles for maximum yield. The key is to always balance and balance when performing an exercise for effective use of the body.

Those who use the voice should treat their instrument as athletes do to benefit from it to the fullest.

Like an athlete, the voice professional must be able to optimize their instrument to the maximum of their physiological capacity. Daily use of the voice is most beneficial when the voice is used functionally, and anyone who has had a voice disorder knows what a debilitating effect this has on the psyche. A vocal disorder can hardly be cured without vocal training.

The term muscul tension dysphonia was created to describe severe muscle imbalance. Each speech disorder has a degree of muscul tension dysphonia. A good example of this condition is when a person undergoes cordial nodule removal surgery without any voice therapy. Often these people experience after surgery the same type of hoarseness they had before this. The reason for this is that the muscles have adapted to the present nodules and even though the nodules are no longer there, the muscles continue to function as if they were still there. This is a good example of how our body is perfect (not always to our benefit) at retaining a memory in the muscle.

Nodules (mostly female) and polyps (mostly male) are easy to diagnose due to hoarseness and lack of vocal excursion. However, the hoarseness and reduced range are more the result of the muscle imbalance that was present before the nodules and worsened with the onset of these.

The good news is that with good vocal exercise we are able to rebalance the functioning of these muscles. It is possible to strengthen and release the voice just as any other muscle in our body develops.

The key thing is to truly realize that each part of our body is in connection with another, so there is no need to separate the voice from the rest of the body, just as there is no need to separate the body from the mind. An altered voice alters our mental state just as our mental state alters our voice. By learning to balance the muscles involved in voice production, you will appreciate important results.

We are our voice.

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