Tongue Stretch Exercise



Purpose of Exercise:
– Prophylactic; to slow down gradual effects of post-RT (radiation therapy) fibrosis to the tongue, assisting maintenance of speech and swallowing

Medical Indication:
– Completed radiation therapy (RT) to the head & neck / mouth area

Medical Contraindications:
– Recent tongue surgery; do NOT perform this exercise and consult your physician for further advice
– May also be unsuitable long-term post tongue surgery, depending on type of surgery and/or flap reconstruction

Precautions / Tips:
– The client should perform this exercise on their own, if possible, as they will be aware of their limits and discomfort / pain level
– Stretch VERY gently in each direction, pulling of the tongue outwards should be minimal

Research Articles:
– Logemann, J. A., Pauloski, B. R., Rademaker, A. W., & Colangelo, L. A. (1997). Speech and swallowing rehabilitation for head and neck cancer patients. Oncology, 11(5), 651-656.
– Pauloski, B. R. (2008). Rehabilitation of Dysphagia Following Head and Neck Cancer. Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Clinics of North America, 19(4), 889–928.

*Articles cited are a limited sample only, and there may be other & more recent evidence which supports / contraindicates use of this exercise.


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