Physiological studies of retrusive movements of the human tongue

J Voice. 2006 Sep;20(3):414-22. doi: 10.1016/j.jvoice.2005.08.004. Epub 2005 Nov 21.

Abstract

This study identified that physiologically the superior pharyngeal constrictor muscle at the level of the base of the tongue contributes to retrusive movement of the tongue with constriction of the mid-pharyngeal cavity and possesses unique properties in terms of motor speech control along with the genioglossus muscle. From a kinematic study involving trans-nasal fiberscopy and lateral X-ray fluorography, retrusive movement of the tongue was highly correlated with constrictive movement of the mid-pharyngeal cavity. An electromyographic study revealed that the superior pharyngeal constrictor muscle at the level of the base of the tongue contributes to retrusive movement of the tongue and that the genioglossus muscle contributes to protrusive movement. We also noted that this relationship between the activities of these two muscles were in response to postural changes during vowel productions without changes in the acoustic features. These findings suggest that these two muscles act not only antagonistically to produce retrusive and protrusive movement of the tongue, but also they complement each other to conserve the shape of the vocal tract for speech production. The functional relationship between these two muscles could contribute the consecutive movement of human speech production under various conditions and might be useful when applying rehabilitation approaches for the patients with neurological speech and swallowing disorders.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Electromyography
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Movement / physiology*
  • Muscle Contraction / physiology*
  • Pharyngeal Muscles / physiology*
  • Speech Acoustics
  • Tongue / physiology*