The Performance Medicine physiotherapists work in a multidisciplinary team in conjunction with ENT specialists, speech pathologists and vocal coaches. We also collaborate with international and national experts to develop the most effective treatment methods for often difficult voice problems. Performance Medicine’s Director is regularly invited to present at a national and international level at Speech Pathology, ENT, Physiotherapy and voice teacher conferences.
Vocal unloading encompasses the vocal 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. Vocal unloading endeavours to act as a neuromuscular cycle breaker to enhance the performance voice and to alleviate the pathological voice. It assists voice users to break their 'maladaptive voice cycle' 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. Commonly known as the “Power – Source – Filter” model. The Power-Source-Filter model in conjunction with the anatomy of the larynx displays the inter-relationship and dependency of the voice on the rest of the body. Therefore, vocal unloading not only assesses and treats the local laryngeal and perilaryngeal region but also assesses voice production holistically.
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
- TMJ (Temporomandibular joint commonly known as the jaw)
- Scapular kinematics
- Breathing patterns (deep abdominal and pelvic floor activity
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Vocal unloading is for all voice users both professional and amateur and those with vocal issues. Most commonly, Vocal Unloading is beneficial for people experiencing voice quality issues, increased effort with vocalisation, pain with vocalisation, tongue tension and throat pain of muscular origin.
Professional voice users (anyone who uses their voice for work) such as teachers, barristers, radio announcers. singers (classical, pop, contemporary) or musical theatre performers, often report an effortful voice that may fatigue with the nature of their profession. This group often present to Performance Medicine for a “tune up” to maintain their laryngeal mobility and tissue health.
Treatment is regularly in conjunction with their vocal coach, ENT or voice therapist. Those who have been diagnosed with a voice issue, such as dysphonia, by their ENT specialist or speech pathologist are often referred to vocal physiotherapy.
Treatment will have a team approach with their physiotherapist working together with the referring ENT 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
- Dysphonia (including Muscle Tension Dysphonia & Dysphonia from various causes)
- 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 call one or our physiotherapists today.
Vocal physio appointments are 30 minutes.
We recommend 60 minute appointments for those with a chronic or complex issue surrounding their singing or dysphonia to ensure a thorough assessment and treatment.
Please wear appropriate clothing (such as a low backed singlet) so that you can be assessed thoroughly.
Physiotherapy private health insurance rebates apply.
- 2015 Music Theatre Educators Alliance Conference, WAAPA Perth
- 2015 Module 1 Foundations of Voice
- 2015 Vocal Unloading for Speech Pathologists
- 2014 Foundations of Voice – Vocal Unloading for Physiotherapists
- 2014 Vocal Unloading for Speech Pathologists
- 2013 Australian Physiotherapy Association National Conference, Melbourne
- 2013 ANATS (Australian National Association of Teachers of Singing), Melbourne
- 2013 ICVT (International Congress of Voice Teachers), Brisbane
- 2013 AVA (Australian Voice Foundation), Brisbane
- 2013 The Voice Foundation, Philadelphia, USA
- 2012 Laryngology Society of Australia, Melbourne
- 2012 AVA (Australian Voice Association)
- 2011 AVA (Australian Voice Association)
- 2010 Voice Interest Group, Melbourne
- 2009 ASPAH (Australian Society of Performing Arts Healthcare)
- 2009 Voice Interest Group, Melbourne