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Is your tongue posture responsible for your neck and shoulder stiffness? Let’s find out

Published on:2 October 2021, 15:00pm IST
You might not consider your tongue to be an important organ, but guess what? It impacts the functioning of various organs in your body. Read on to find out how.
tongue posture exercises
Your tongue posture determines how happy and healthy you are. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
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Your tongue is such a crucial part of your body. This might have surprised you, right? Beneath your tongue is the beginning of a connective tissue, which is similar to a spider web, named fascia

Fascia’s job is to give structural support to your muscles, bones, nerves, and internal organs. The fascia is a continuous sheet of tissue that stretches from the tongue, goes down your neck, and covers your chest, hip, knees, all the way to your toes. In other words, there is a direct connection between the functions of your face and tongue and your breathing and posture. 

tongue posture exercises
A condition that restricts the tongue’s range of motion. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Now, imagine what happens if your fascia is a tad bit too tight? It would be a bit like walking around in a tight Spiderman suit — you can move around but it is difficult, due to a compensated posture. Similarly, if the fascia beneath your tongue is tight, it will still do its job, but will also put a strain on your entire body posture.

What is the Ideal tongue posture?

The front, back, and middle of your tongue is supposed to rest at the roof of your mouth, with its tip being right behind your front teeth. However, most often, only the tip rests up, while the middle and back of your tongue are resting below.

The ideal tongue position that puts your entire tongue on the roof helps you breathe naturally through your nose, instead of your mouth. However, oftentimes your tongue is unable to rest properly due to tongue ties, narrow and backwardly positioned jaws, and low muscle tone. The tongue tie is nothing but a tight fascia that pulls when the tongue attempts to talk or swallow.

This restricts the tongue from normal movement and function. The movements of the ‘tied’ tongue are then accompanied by many compensations like unfavorable movements of the TMJ, lower jaw, the tension in the floor of the mouth, neck, face, and head.

What does this tongue compensation look like in your body?

Your body is a beautiful piece of architecture that is going to compensate if the fascia coat is too tight.

Also, read: Your tongue can reveal if you’re deficient in vitamin D

A tight fascia will show in your body through some compensations such as: 

  • Forward neck posture
  • Slouching and rolled shoulders
  • Teeth grinding and clenching
  • Jaw pain
  • Bow/duck Feet
  • Flat feet 
  • Walking on the tip or heels of the foot
  • Back and hip misalignment
  • Neck and chest tightness
tongue posture exercises
Unhealthy fascia can cause a host of problems. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
What happens when the tongue tie is resolved?

Through myofunctional therapy, aka tongue therapy, your tongue can be trained to rest at the roof of your mouth, allowing you to breathe, sleep, and move around properly. Along with tongue exercises, tongue ties can also be resolved with a small fascial tongue-tie release procedure. 

When the fascial tension beneath your tongue is resolved, everything else opens up to allow you to move freely without pain or distress. 

On a daily basis, we hear our patients telling us how the tongue tie release changed their lives —

“I had my tongue tie surgery and it changed my life. The surgery immediately improved my poor posture, foot pronation, my neck, and back pain and I could breathe better.”

“My nasal congestion disappeared. I could swallow much easily and didn’t know what normal swallowing feels like in so many years. My body felt free and I felt younger than my age.”

tongue posture exercises
Tongue-tie can resolve, allowing the tongue to move freely for eating and speech. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
What else could the tongue posture be affecting?

Your tongue isn’t just responsible for muscle tension or nasal obstruction. The tiny muscle is credited with giving you holistic wellbeing.  The answer to your breathing, sleeping, moving, eating, and even living right lies in your tongue.

When it isn’t paid attention to, your tongue posture can cause:

  1. Headaches, shoulder, neck, and back pain
  2. Nasal congestion and sinusitis
  3. Sleep apnea, insomnia, and snoring
  4. Difficulty with speech, and swallowing.
  5. Acid reflux
  6. Orofacial pain and TMJ/TMD dysfunction
  7. Tightness in the chest
  8. Clenching and teeth grinding
  9. Malaligned teeth and jaws

Take a moment to be mindful of what you’re doing right now. Where is your tongue resting? Are you slouching? Can you feel that tension in your neck and shoulders that is keeping you from living your best life? The answers will guide you! 

Dr. Ankita Shah Dr. Ankita Shah

Dr. Ankita Shah, Founder & Director of Dentician & Tongue Tie and Sleep Institute, India.