Vocal unloading involves physiotherapy treatment of the myofascial, muscular and cartilaginous structures of the larynx and the surrounding perilaryngeal region to produce efficient vocal fold vibration and voice production. Like any muscle or muscle group, repetitive use can cause fatigue, soreness and changes in patterning which will affect your ability to produce your voice. Vocal unloading assists voice users to break this cycle of motor changes and retrain their voice and body with neuromuscular re-education to achieve the most efficient voice production possible. In simplistic terms, our voice is produced not only by vibration of the vocal folds but also by the complex coordination of our breath, muscle tone and recruitment and posture. Vocal unloading not only assesses and treats the local laryngeal and perilaryngeal region but also assesses all contributing physical factors for voice production. Treatment and assessment is individualised to reflect the individuality of voice production and each person’s individual vocal demands and goals. Your assessment and treatment may include the following areas:

  • Posture (head, neck, lumbopelvic)
  • Cervical Spine position and function
  • TMJ (Temporomandibular joint commonly known as the jaw)
  • Scapular position and movement
  • Breathing patterns
  • Voice analysis (tone, power and comfort)s

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Who is Vocal Unloading for?

Vocal unloading is for all voice users both professional and amateur and those with vocal issues. It is most commonly used for people experiencing voice quality issues, increased effort with vocalisation, pain with vocalisation, tongue tension and throat pain of muscular origin. Professional voice users such as teachers, barristers, radio and TV presenters, singers of all genres or musical theatre performers often report an effortful voice that may fatigue with the nature of their profession. Treatment can be rehabilitative (to fix things) or maintenance (to keep it right!) For professional voice users, we can work in communication with your vocal coach and for those with defined pathology or medical conditions we will interact with your ENT specialist or speech pathologist. Common issues appropriate for Vocal Unloading:

  • Neck tension or jaw in singing or talking
  • High load of voice use
  • “Tongue root tension” in singing
  • Muscle Tension Dysphonia
  • Globus Pharyngeus (throat pain)
  • Hyoid Syndrome
  • Post microlaryngoscopy
  • Orofacial pain
  • Jaw Pain

If you are unsure whether or not vocal unloading is appropriate for you, please speak to Physiotherapists Louise or David.