Conversations can take us in many directions. Sometimes talking with friends can be casual, without a distinct point of discussion. Still, there are other interactions that bring to light productive information. These informational talks could begin explaining something we didn’t have the words to express. Speaking has sometimes been a task of challenge during my life. Cerebral palsy making it more difficult to speak from time to time. Information hasn’t been presented to me over the reasons my speech could be challenging. It has always been explained with the fact that cerebral palsy is part of my life. However, what didn’t occur to me were the things that could be done to help my speech improve. There could also be ways to explain the ease of speech in different situations. It always felt as the quality of my speech was the result of my nerves. If there were calm emotions flowing through my body, speech felt easier. While, these thoughts could be partially true, it might be more complex. Much of my struggle with speech could revolve around the lack of air to support speaking. The conversation was with the trainer I work with and not a doctor. But, the information he was discussing came from interacting with a speech pathologist. The discussion was incredibly interesting.
Something new in my life was thinking about how breathing works when we speak. It seems for individuals who do not battle cerebral palsy breathing while speaking happens without thought. Like many functions within the body, when most of us speak, breath comes naturally. This isn’t the case when talking about some people with CP. The thing I don’t know is how many people with cerebral palsy are challenged when speaking. But, for me and my trainer’s son, we struggle with speech. So, a speech pathologist talked to Bernard about his son getting enough air to speak. Bernard was talking about how it helps his son to concentrate on his breathing while he is speaking. The information struck me as extremely interesting and making sense in my life. I could immediately think of times where my air ran out before finishing a thought. In my mind, I thought this happened to everyone. The difference seemed to be their ability to speak more quickly. So, in my mind, it felt like I needed to speak faster. Well, it turns out that slowing down might be the trick.
During our conversation, my mind went to watching American Idol. After watching that show for years something about breathing was often spoken about. It seemed often the judges would talk about an artist taking in enough air during a song. The air was required for them to support the musical notes during the song. It reminded me of the thoughts that may be helpful while I’m speaking. There may often be moments more air is needed to support the words coming from my mouth. For example, Bernard was speaking about how his son has more challenge speaking when he gets frustrated. Bernard reminds his boy to slow down and take a deep breath, then continue with whatever he is trying to articulate. When Bernard spoke of this process, another light bulb went off in my head. The subject keyed in on something that has been a struggle in my life. The emotion of frustration can make it more challenging for me to speak as well. But, it doesn’t seem to be isolated to frustration, many times heightened emotions make it more challenging for me to speak. It’s very possible we lose more air in these heightened states of emotion. With speech being more challenging under normal circumstances, it makes sense that speaking challenges would only intensify in heightened emotional situations. In those moments, it would help to take a moment and breath. Like singing requires focus on breathing, speaking with cerebral palsy also requires focus on having enough air.
There are interesting factors playing into gaining the breath to speak more clearly. Any form of pressure placed upon the air ways can make it more challenging to speak. For me, this has manifested itself in a couple different forms. The first seems to be my body being out of alignment. Stiffness and rigidity are often causing discomfort throughout my body. It seems to contort my muscles, gradually pulling them away from their intended place. Cerebral palsy seems to pull my muscles in toward the center of my body, almost like an accordion, they want to stiffen and flex into themselves. It’s challenging and takes work to straighten my limbs. The same can be said of my upper body and shoulders. They tend to want to collapse toward the center of my body, causing difficulty in standing or sitting up straight. These facts seem to indicate the path for air to flow through my body would also be obstructed. It would make getting enough air to breath more challenging. There has been something in my life to help with the tendencies cerebral palsy has placed upon my body. When beginning chiropractic adjustments, improving my speech didn’t seem something that could occur. However, the speech improvement began quickly. After the first few adjustments it was easier to talk. There was less saliva build up in my mouth. Speech became clearer, but in didn’t occur to me that pressure could be taken off the air ways with these adjustments. My speech continues to improve, it seems an important part of that improvement are the chiropractic adjustments.
Another factor contributing to the difficulty with speech could be extra body weight. This was an observation made by my trainer. Bernard has noticed over his years that extra weight can affect the way someone speaks. Weight seems to have an impact on the tone and clarity of their words. Added weight around vocal cords seems to make them more challenging to operate. The extra weight could become more consequential when added to cerebral palsy symptoms. If our air ways are already constricted from stiffness and spasticity, any extra weight we carry would likely increase the challenge. A major part of gaining more air into the lungs and air ways involves being in good physical shape. If we work on our respiratory capacity, it would help gain more air. Our breathing would also have an easier time moving through our bodies. Though my weight has often fluctuated over the years, it does feel important to keep the weight down. With these ideas, keeping up my respiratory function feels even more important. Not only does it help with overall health, but it can help me breathe easier, and speak more clearly. Gaining enough oxygen has sometimes been a struggle for me, these few concepts help illustrate the importance of cardiovascular exercise.
All of these ideas are based on conversations. The discussions help me better understand things that have been a struggle in my life. As it seems important to gather information from anyone about experiences they might have with cerebral palsy symptoms. Sometimes help can result from the simplest of conversations. They can explain things being felt, even when I don’t have the words to explain them. I knew the chiropractic adjustments were helping my speech. The improvement of my speaking has been there since Dana started his chiropractic adjustments on my body. My body has also felt much better with the consistency of exercise. It seemed clear that keeping extra weight off the body helps cerebral palsy symptoms. The information I didn’t understand was how far reaching the two forms of help could be. Today, I understand more clearly chiropractic and training help my ability to speak. It’s simply another reason to seek different forms of help. Cerebral palsy can be improved, we just need to continue searching for ways to help the symptoms. Chiropractic adjustments and physical training work well together, helping me improve.