Live Blogging My Tongue Tie Release Part 2: Preparing
In Part One of this series, I shared my story as a person with a tongue tie that wasn’t diagnosed until I was in my forties. Headaches, insomnia, TMJD, neck pain and shoulder issues were some of my (typical) symptoms.
Now, I’m one day out from getting my tongue tie released (I’m beyond excited!!!) so I’m doing All The Things to get my tongue ready for the procedure.
Actually, I’ve been doing All The Things for about 2 months now, because tongue tie releases are most successful when you prepare for them.
In today’s video, I’m sharing why preparation is so important for a successful release, and some of the exercises I’ve been doing. These exercises have been prescribed specifically for me by my Oral Myofunctional Therapist and may not be the right exercises for another body. However, the basic reasons for them are pretty universal and I think that if you’re working through a tongue tie you’ll probably get some good insights from this.
I’m also sharing a simple assessment that you can use to check on your body pre- and post- release to identify changes in a more objective and accurate way than the posture photos that many people use.
Tongue tie release preparation tips:
#1 Start early! 6 weeks before is a minimum.
#2 Work with an oral myofunctional therapist (OMT) certified by the AOMT.
#3 Make sure you like your OMT and they give you clear goals for your work together. For example, these might include: helping you gain motor skills, helping you change your compensating patterns, and helping you prepare for what you’re going to do during the surgery.
#4 Practice lots. Yes, tongue exercises are not super fun, and you’ll probably not love looking at yourself really closely in a mirror 3x a day. Do it anyway. Remind yourself often why you are doing this (for me, it’s so I can SLEEP) and set aside time in your day for practice. I like early mornings best, and I set my phone alarm for 2 other sessions over the day, as well as a bit before bed. My OMT loves me and yours will to if you do this, but really, you’re the winner!
#5 Work on being technical. You can stick out your tongue lots of ways, but if you’re not using the right muscles you aren’t getting the benefit of your exercises. This can take time to learn.
#6 Work with an informed manual therapist such as an osteopath or a cranial sacral therapist who will help your body integrate the changes from your surgery and all your hard work!
#7 BONUS If you want to create even greater change, consider starting a movement practice such as Restorative Exercise. I’m biased ’cause I teach it, but I teach it because it’s awesome. And because it’s specifically designed to help you reshape your body so it’s more functional and more sustainable. Here’s one little routine I developed to support my tongue tie release work. Sign up for my newsletter if you want to stay in touch and get lots more awesome movement tips!
Bonus: How To Assess Your Spine Pre- and Post- Release
I see a lot of before and after tongue tie release photos pop up on Facebook and they can be really cool.
But although they are interesting, they aren’t very objective. Changes in time of day, light, clothes, camera angles and more can mean that these photos may not really show the extent of change pre- and post- release.
That’s why at the end of the video above I share a tip for how you can assess yourself more scientifically and objectively. It’s still not perfect, but it should let you get a pretty accurate measurement.
Here are the written instructions for what you need to do.
#1 Find a clear wall-space without pictures or whatever that you can use for your assessment.
#2 Stand with your back to the wall. Ideally you want your hips vertically over your ankles and your butt just barely touching the wall. More details on hip over heel alignment here.
#3 Place your head and shoulders back against the wall. Then, curl forward until your bra strap area is on the wall (where you would put a heart rate monitor if you aren’t a bra wearer). Like in this short video.
#4 Now, keeping your ribs exactly where they are, tuck your chin and slide your head back in space as far as you can without lifting your chin or forcing anything – no need to fake it, you just want to find your current edge.
#5 Find a part of your skull you can locate easily (for me it’s the bump where my skull meets my neck) and now measure the distance between this spot and the wall.
This distance is your objective measure – and this is what you’re hoping will decrease post- release.
Here’s another post where I describe this assessment in detail. Try doing it a few times pre-release so that you feel really confident about it, and then try it post-release so that you can see how much change the release has created. I’ll be doing it myself tomorrow and can’t wait to share!!
More About Tongue Ties
Tongue ties affect some 3-5% of people, and insomnia, apnea, snoring and poor breathing affect many, many more. If you have sleeping issues, jaw issues, headaches, or neck pain, you may want to investigate whether your real issue is with your tongue.
Here are some previous posts where you can learn more about tongue ties, how to do a simple assessment to see if you have one, and what to do if you think you might have a tongue tie or other tongue position issue.
And here’s a link to The Breathe Institute where I’m going for my release.
Petra is a movement educator and personal trainer with a passion for helping people find greater ease, joy and health in their bodies. She believes that better movement can help every body – and she’s always happy to chat about it. When she’s not teaching, you’ll probably find her hanging out on a set of monkey bars.