2018

The Tongue

A twenty-month-old boy cannot move his tongue. His parents have made the Philadelphia medical rounds without any answers. His early intervention therapist referred the family to me.

The tongue is involved in so many vital functions….sucking, swallowing, breathing, speaking, and chewing. He had nursing issues at birth and severe colic/reflux for months. He had two tongue-tie and lip-tie revisions without improvement and many subsequent delays.

Currently, his speech is very limited, and he cannot chew any foods. He survives on fortified commercial milk mixed with an occasional banana, if he can tolerate that texture. The parents do not report any breathing issues. The Gillespie Approach looks at his correction in four different aspects:

First, the cranial osteopathic physicians describe compressive pathology of the twelfth cranial nerve (hypoglossal) within its foramen at the base of the skull. This nerve innervates the motor function of the tongue.

Secondly, there may be craniosacral fascial strain in the tongue itself. Since every muscle cell is surrounded by a thin layer of fascia (endomysium), tight fascia can be restricting tongue function.

Thirdly, there may be craniosacral fascial strain in the pharynx/hyoid/larynx soft tissue restricting the function of the throat and pulling on the tongue.

In the fourth place, his history of reflux and colic indicate strain from below (diaphragm/reflux and pelvic floor/colic) probably pulling on his throat/tongue tissues. We could work the upper body exclusively for some success but need to connect the dots in the space-time continuum for complete correction of his birth trauma.

The great aspect of the Gillespie Approach is that craniosacral fascial therapy (CFT) will address all four aspects at once. Thus, we do not have to figure out the specifics of this child’s problem.

If we had done the Baby Brain Score (BBS) at birth, red flags would have jumped out at us. Even though we would not have known the exact disease(s) then or how the pathology would have played out over twenty months, correction would have commenced immediately. Now the family and I have to face the drama of a toddler going through sensitive throat strain release. This work at birth is a beautiful thing.

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