Vocal Physiotherapy is a specialised therapy which treats the structures of the body which we use to produce sound. This may include treatment of the myofascial, muscular and cartilaginous structures of the larynx and the surrounding region, to produce efficient vibration of the vocal folds, and improve voice.
How do we make sound?
Our voice is produced by vibration of the vocal folds, which are soft tissue structures protected
inside the larynx. The larynx is suspended by muscles, and like any muscle in the body, repetitive or poor use can cause fatigue, pain and tension, which can affect your ability to produce your voice.
Muscles also attach directly and indirectly to the vocal folds, allowing them to open and close.
When we speak, air is pushed from the lungs up through the trachea, and when the air hits the vocal
folds, it causes them to vibrate, which emerges as sound.
As well as the vocal fold vibration, we need correct coordination of our breath, muscle tone, and
posture. Therefore, problems with any of these areas can affect the efficiency of the vocal cords, leading to
issues with the voice.
Who can benefit from Vocal Physio?
Voice physiotherapy is ideal for anyone who uses their voice a lot or has vocal quality issues. These may include:
- Increased effort or tension with speaking/singing
- Pain whilst speaking/singing
- Tongue tension
- Regular loss of voice
- Poor vocal quality – breathy, quiet, raw or hoarse sound
People with increased vocal load may include teachers, lawyers, receptionists, lecturers, radio announcers, singers and performers. Or maybe you just like to talk a lot!
What can I expect during treatment?
Our physiotherapist, Anna, has trained in Melbourne in vocal physiotherapy. She has a background in singing and acting, and particularly enjoys musical theatre, which is what has led her to become particularly interested in this niche area of physiotherapy.
In a vocal physiotherapy appointment, Anna will assess and treat you individually, depending on your vocal demands and goals. Consequently, an appointment may include assessment of:
- Muscle tension and flexibility around the larynx, neck and tongue root
- Sound quality
- Neck, shoulder blade, ribcage and back movement
- Jaw movement/TMJ
- Breathing patterns
Vocal physiotherapy treatment usually involves a team approach, so as part of your assessment, Anna may be in contact with speech language therapists, vocal coaches or ENTs (ear, nose and throat doctors).
If you have any questions, or you are unsure if Vocal Physio is for you, please feel free to get in touch with us today.