Did you know that chiropractors can assist in tongue tie diagnosis and rehab?
Tongue tie affects a large number of children every year and treatment is recommended for young children in order to avoid long-term side effects.
Working with a chiropractor is a critical component of rehab following tongue tie revision, ensuring proper alignment and function of the surrounding area, so full functionality is returned as soon as possible.
What is tongue tie?
Tongue tie is an unusually short, thick, or tight frenulum, a band of tissue that connects the bottom of the tongue to the floor of your mouth. In nearly every instance of tongue tie, a lip tie is also present. Similarly, to tongue tie, a lip tie is found when the band of tissue that connects the lip to the gums is too tight, short, or thick.
Why does it need to be evaluated and diagnosed?
If you suspect your child may have a tongue and/or lip tie, it should be evaluated, diagnosed, and treated as soon as possible. Tongue tie can affect an infant’s ability to correctly nurse, swallow, breath, and even self soothe. If the tongue cannot move in a full and proper range of motion, it is unable to properly mold the palate which also plays a critical role in the previously mentioned actions.
Signs of tongue tie?
Mouth breathing is one common sign a person may be tongue tied. Often if the tongue cannot reach up to the palate and create a seal of sorts, it is very uncomfortable to try and breath through your nose.
Symptoms commonly seen in tongue tied infants include, but are not limited to:
- Clicking while nursing
- Falling asleep while nursing
- Poor latch or suction
- Milk blisters
- Slow weight gain
- Weight loss
- Stiffness or back arching
- Car seat issues
Symptoms commonly seen in the mamas of tongue tied babies include, but are not limited to:
- Overactive or delayed milk ejection
- Mastitis/inflammation of breasts
- Pain, no amount is normal!
- Recurring infections
- Unnatural/uncomfortable feeding positions
- “Lipstick” shape appears damaged
- Plugged ducts
- Bruising on or around nipple
How is it treated?
Once a tongue tie has been properly diagnosed, the recommended next step is to have it revised, or clipped. The procedure is typically very quick and minimally invasive. Though it is not ideal to have oral surgery done on your infant or young child, it is the best way to ensure prevention of negative long-term side effects which include seemingly untreatable headaches, behavioral problems, vagus nerve interference, crowding of teeth, speech difficulties, sleep disorders and more.
Chiropractic Care and Tongue Tie
Following the revision, your child should receive the care of a chiropractor, craniosacral therapist, or ideally both. These practitioners will ensure proper alignment and function of the surrounding areas as well as teach you stretches and retraining exercises, so full functionality is returned as soon as possible. It is also a good idea to check in with a lactation consultant to ensure there are no other challenges disturbing optimal nursing.
It may seem odd to think that chiropractors would have anything to do with tongue tie, but in reality, they are an excellent practitioner to include on your child’s care team following tongue tie revision. Everything in your body is connected, so when restriction is present inside the mouth due to a tethered tongue, it often leads to restriction and tension of the surrounding muscles which results in misalignment of spinal segments. Ensuring and maintaining proper alignment of the spine will result in faster healing and proper functionality of the surrounding muscles as well as the tongue itself.
Craniosacral Therapy and Tongue Tie
Craniosacral therapy is another crucial part of recovery as it helps to remove any interference to the cranial nerves caused by the tongue tie. The restriction is not only within the motion but being unable to fully move the tongue can limit the motion of the cranial bones themselves. When the cranial bones are unable to move as they should, flattening of the skull can occur.
At SuNu we are lucky to have a chiropractor, Dr. Courtney, who is specially trained to support children with tongue tie with both adjustments and craniosacral therapy. If you have any questions about these treatments, you are welcome to call and speak with our front desk or Dr. Courtney.