It really could be. We have written many blogs about the complications for children if tongue-ties are left untreated. You can access those blogs [here]. But did you know that if left untreated, tongue-ties can carry multiple uncomfortable, sometimes distressing complications into adulthood? It may seem unlikely, but these complications do impact a lot of the body, not just the mouth and jaw.
For example, an adult tongue-tie can cause the stiffness in the upper body. This, in turn, can cause thoracic pain, lung and cardiac restrictions and unnatural breathing patterns. It’s hard to believe, isn’t it? This seemingly insignificant membrane can lead to that amount of discomfort in adulthood. But just like that childhood rhyme ‘Dem Bones’ describes how your ‘head bone’ is connected to your ‘neck bone’, which is connected to your ‘backbone’ and so on; this membrane is intricately connected to the tendons, ligaments, muscles and veins which are serving as the cocoon for ‘dem bones’.
If that doesn’t make sense perhaps look at it this way: picture yourself as a child who has a tongue-tie. Now as a result of that tongue-tie you are having trouble getting your tongue into ‘the spot’ on your hard palate. This has caused you to develop a mouth breathing habit. Because of this mouth breathing, you have now developed a weakened diaphragm because you have been shallow breathing. Also, because you are mouth breathing, you have sleep apnoea. These issues have now carried through to adulthood. You have now had 20 years of sleep apnoea which has caused you to have a constant rattling in your throat whilst you sleep. This rattling has caused you to wake up with headaches and a tight neck. You then try to compensate for your tight neck by using your shoulders to ‘support’ your head which then causes your muscles in your shoulders and back to ache…You see where I am going with this? All the actions you are taking to try and compensate for the pain or discomfort in one section of your body are causing problems for another. And this disharmony could have all been avoided if your tongue were treated in childhood.
Now that example may have been extreme, but it does make our point: tongue-ties should not go untreated. At the very least we insist that if you are experiencing any problems which may be associated with tongue-ties (such as speech and breathing issues, trouble swallowing, obstructive sleep apnoea, tightness at the floor of the mouth, or tension in your upper throat or front of the neck) then please make an appointment for us to examine if this is the cause of your discomfort. If a tongue tie is diagnosed the procedure* to release the membrane is minimally-invasive. There will be limited pain and with only one month of home exercises, your tongue-tie troubles will be over. Please use the link at the bottom to book an appointment.
Finally, we apologise if you are singing Dem Bones for the rest of the day.
Macdonald, D (2016) Tongue-Tie in Adults [blog post], Paragon Health Industries, retrieved from: http://www.paragonhealth.net.au/blog/tongue-tie-in-adults
* Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.