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Valentina Carlile Osteopata
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  • Writer's pictureValentina Carlile DO

Osteopathy, voice, singing: Incidence and causes of functional dysphonia

Incidence and causes of functional dysphonia

Approximately 57% of voice professionals have suffered from a relevant clinical voice problem in their lifetime.

These disorders can be caused by neural, structural or functional alterations within the larynx and vocal tract.

These disorders can be divided into two categories: organic disorders and functional disorders.

  • Organic disorders: refer to reductions in the quality of the voice or its emission due to neurogenic or structural causes affecting the cords

  • Functional disorders: characterized by the absence of neurogenic or structural involvement. In the literature, their role has been investigated as the underlying origin of benign pathologies such as nodules or cysts, and as a form of secondary, compensatory adaptation to laryngeal pathologies.

Functional dysphonias, currently defined as malregulatory, show related symptoms such as physical, functional and emotional disorders.

Incorrect vocal technique resulting from a lack of training, high vocal demand, noisy working conditions or with poor acoustic feedback, personality disorders and psychological disorders lead to functional, and subsequently, potentially, organic disorders.

The symptoms most frequently reported by patients are:

  • Laryngeal and perilaryngeal tension

  • Pharyngeal tension

  • Tongue tension

  • Tension and pain in the neck and respiratory muscles (for example in the cervical region and between the shoulder blades)

However, it has been seen that cervical problems are also risk factors for the development of dysphonia, and it is likely that those who have had neck pain once have multiple subsequent episodes and relapses are frequent.

These pains are often accompanied by headache, migraine, pain in the shoulder, upper limb and even low back pain.

Since the larynx is a suspended organ that is affected by the tensions deriving from its musculotendinous anchorages, which can affect its position, one can understand how high the impact of these structures is on the larynx, and consequently on the voice.

In these cases, contacting an Osteopath can help solve various problems in a non-invasive and continuous manner.


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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