Author(s): Wilson Arboleda BM, Frederick AL
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Abstract There is general agreement that postural alignment is important in optimizing voice function. A number of articles have illuminated the way in which posture, particularly of the cervical spine, is directly related to vocal resonance and pitch control. Despite frequent involvement in muscle training, few speech pathologists have the background in exercise physiology necessary to appreciate the contribution of muscular length-tension relationships to postural alignment. The purpose of this article is to provide voice therapists with information to help them formulate appropriate recommendations for improving postural alignment. This article synthesizes information from the literature regarding the role of muscular length-tension balance in the attainment and maintenance of postural alignment. Important considerations in the assessment of muscle tension and weakness are presented along with advice regarding application to the treatment of voice-disordered patients. Concepts detailed include agonist/antagonist relationships, the biomechanics of stretching, postural assessment, and the relationship between muscle tension and muscle weakness. The role of both stretching and strength-based training is discussed. Specific exercises with emphasis on altering the alignment of the cervical and thoracic spine are presented with suggestions for their use in the clinic. There is growing understanding of the physiology behind recommendations of voice teachers and therapists to maintain optimal alignment. To effectively mediate postural misalignment, clinicians must have knowledge of the length-tension relationships between muscles. This understanding will lead to better interventions for postural alignment.
This article was published in J Voice
and referenced in Journal of Speech Pathology & Therapy