Can vocal cord muscles be affected by FM???????????????

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by mastersinger, Mar 20, 2003.

  1. mastersinger

    mastersinger New Member

    Does anyone know if your vocal cord muscles be affected by FM? I have had a larangytisi going on for 3 mo.and have lost most of my singing voice. It is a little better at times, but only a little. Is there anything i can do -I know not talk or sing-or who would be best to check this out? thanks for the advice! Mastersinger-that can't sing!
  2. phenom

    phenom New Member

    FM affects muscles and you have that many in your throat for swallowing and breathing and stuff - that i don't see why not. i would go in for a check up to your normal doc and ask them - see who they recommend. they might do one of those camera things (really good english i know - fog) and see what comes of that. just a suggestion.

    phenom
  3. pearls

    pearls New Member

    I've been throught the whole vocal nudule thing three times, with surgery the first time. This was many years before my fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome. I was a vocal music teacher for a number of years. I think imagine vocal cords would be affected by this DD, since everything else is. It certainly fits what I have learned from months of vocal therapy when I had nodules.

    You can get vocal nodules because of various precipitating factors, which is probably what happened to me back when I taught music. I always tried to force vocal success (you know how THAT goes!), and sacrificed myself and my health to my teaching job. I talked too loud and too often. It bothered me if my husband and I were not constantly in conversation while we were going someplace in the car. (Now THAT is a real trap! Turning your head to talk to the person next to you - and over an engine is murder on your voice. Try this: turn your head as far as you can to one side and try to talk or sing. That was the best illustration to me of the dangers of turning my head even a little to one side while I was talking or singing when my vocal cords were tender.) I did learn to shut up in the car most of the time, but it was difficult, for sure.

    If I got a cold or sinus infection, I was in real trouble vocally. Any physical stress on the vocal cords sets you up for trouble. So you have to be extra careful with the kind of strain you put on your vocal cords. My voice therapist taught me that if I was sick AND I abused my voice, then I had to take strict measures to protect them. Just as using a limb that is broken would be abusing that limb, using your voice much at all while it is stressed - or in ways that strain it more than necessary at such times - is abusing your voice. While some people could yell and scream and still sing, I had to be extra careful or I would develop nodules.

    While I was recovering, even having dinner in a noisy place and drinking wine could be too much. Here's what could happen: I would try to talk over the noise, and I might talk too much because the wine might loosen any inhibitions I might otherwise have. Wine is not bad for one's voice, per se, but under conditions of strain and learning how to take care of one's voice, the wine could possibly be the "straw that breaks the camel's back." This is only one illustration of all sorts of stressors.

    Anyway, I'd go to a specialist - not only an ENT, but an ENT who specializes in singer's throats. I've seen ENTs who actually didn't know much about the problems of singers - one who thought it perfectly okay for a young girl to sing tenor all the time, for instance. My voice therapist - the best, I might add - said that when people get nodules, the first thing most ENTs suggest is surgery and then therapy, instead of the other way around, which is how it should be. He said that with good voice therapy, the nodules - even granulomas can go away without surgery! However, you must go to the ENT first to be diagnosed or insurance usually won't pay for the therapy.

    It is possible you could be having another problem, as well - another reason to see the ENT. Nodules are what singers fear - and what singers suffer all too often, though.

    By the way, some people experience no pain with vocal nodules. Others have pain as the first sign. I experienced such pain that when I went home after a day's work as a teacher, I felt like my neck was in a vise! No amount of hot tea, white wine, hot water, or anything else would take away the constant, horrible pain. When I had the surgery, I didn't keep up with the therapy very well - in fact, didn't have a good therapist - and was right back into the same boat again. It was only when I found the right therapist that I learned how to take care of myself and the problem largely went away. I still have to be careful with my vocal cords. I don't sing these days, but I do need a speaking voice. Teaching is a very difficult profession for anyone with that problem.

    Good luck,
    -Pearl
  4. Shirl

    Shirl New Member

    No help from me, when I sing my family will 'pay' me to shut up, and the dogs 'howl'(thought you might need a laugh).

    You hear from one of our professional singers, and we do have another here.

    Its Cactus Lil, she has been ill lately, and just posted today to say 'hello'. But I know she would have some sound advice for you. I recall reading her posts, I am not sure if it was from the FM, but I know she lost her lovely voice.

    HOpe you find help soon, its so sad when you are a singer and something interferes with it.

    Shalom, Shirl
  5. clueless

    clueless New Member

    I was interested in this post as my voice has changed and at times is very hoarse.I had my throat checked and the vocal chords were reported alright. Also having a swallowing problem I had a barium swallow done. This showed a narrowing at places in my throat. I don`t know if this is what has caused the voice change but something has changed my voice from a rather high tone to a low tone which is hoarse at times. Could this be another thing that FM causes? No end to the possibilitys of this disease is there.
  6. jpswife_4boys

    jpswife_4boys New Member

    I lost my lost my voice last year. It lasted a little over 6 weeks. My throat didn't hurt nor did it itch. I feel like it was a flare up of my fms. It's always a good thing to get it checked out when it goes on for a while. I understand the irritation of not being able to sing.
    Crissie
  7. Milo83

    Milo83 New Member


    I just happened to see this post and then yours about your hoarse voice..Just wanted to throw a possiblity at you..
    Your voice can change due to Thyroid problems..
    Take Care..........Love, Donna
  8. ggks

    ggks New Member

    I was surprised to see this topic come up. I thought I was the only one who had this problem. Not being able to sing was one of the hardest things that happened to me. I am not a professional singer, just a person who sang alto with the community chorus. It was the joy of my life to be able to sing with a couple hundred other persons who loved to sing. I was able to participate for 28 years. Mostly Handels Messiah but sometimes other productions such as Brahams German Requim. I am even unable to sing in church. It has been two years, now and I still go to the preformances and quietly sing along when we have to stand for the Hallaluah Chorus. I do not need my book any more, it is all memorized.
    Now I am happy singing quietly to my great grandchildren all those little crazy songs such as "yes, we have no bananas" and "I'm a lonley little petunia in an onion patch". I do get very hoarse and cough a lot but I do it any way. Our newest great grand child is a girl named Katie. So now I am singing "Ka Ka Ka Katie, beautiful Katie, your the only ga ga ga girl that I adore"
  9. pearls

    pearls New Member

    I decided to see what Dr. Starlanyl had to say about this topic so I looked it up in her book, "Fibromyalgia and Myofascial Pain: a Survival Manual." She has a whole page on that subject:

    "Asthma, sinus difficulties, postnasal drip, and allergies can create TrPs around the area of the trachea and larynx due to broncholspasm. This can create changes in your voie, or even voie loss. It can be aggravated or even perpetuated by acid reflux."

    TrPs are trigger points, which are not the same as tender points, but very important in myofascial pain, which, if I remember correctly is present in more than half of people who have FMS.

    Anyway, she goes on to tell which muscles are involved and what your bodyworker can do to help you. This is somewhat complicated, and I haven't digested this book enough to understand it all. If you don't get the help you need from your ENT, you may wish to purchase this book. The books your bodywoker needs is Dr. Janet Travell's, "Trigger Point Manual," which is very expensive, but - according to Dr. Starlanyl - worth it.

    She goes on to say that mouth breathing can refer pain to the area around your larynx, and so can paradoxical breathing. Active TrPs, as was alluded to before, can produce a hoarse voice, and these can be activated by a whiplash injury, sore throat, or postnasal drip.

    Now, someone else mentioned difficulty swallowing, as well. In this same article, Dr. Starlanyl says that trigger points in the longus capitis and/or the longus colli muscles can cause that problem. If you get a spasm in the longus colli muscle, you can suffer a dry mouth, sore throat, persistent tickle in the throat, or a feeling of a lump in your throat when you swallow.

    She talks about getting these TrPs dealt with, but also offers the following: "Correct your breathing, jaw grinding and clenching, and bite."

    -Pearl
  10. mastersinger

    mastersinger New Member

    THANK YOU for digging into that info for me. I will print this off a few times and show to my Dr. I need to read it gain, as I just read it briefly. My Internist was hopefully on target. He has had me on advair for over a year, for asthma, and now on singular, and on albuterol when needed as a rescue. I am on Nexium for acid reflux-have been for over a year, and before on Prilosec for quite awhile. This certainly helps. He recommended me taking a Nexium in aM and at PM. He thought between the singular and Nexium it would help. I believe it is beginning to help. If it doesn't in 2 weeks, he will send me to the ENT-and as I understand it there are some that deal with voice problems more than others. I should go to have a sleep study done. I snore bad! I have woke up a few times and gasped for air. It probably all has some play in this-I also have sinus, very dry, but I take lots of meds.,and have allergies. Again,thanks for the info. I do believe things will get better. I also have -not diagnosed but I am sure I have had miofacial-there are times when one side of my face just goes numb. Keep in touch!
  11. dhcpolwnk

    dhcpolwnk New Member

    I was amazed to check in here this morning and find this thread. I was planning to post about this very topic! I'm not a professional singer--not even a very good amateur. I sang in a chorus in high school, but that's about it for any formal singing experience. In high school and college (a *long* time ago), I played guitar and sang folk songs and my own compositions. Now, I'm mostly a composer. I compose using a MIDI keyboard and MIDI software and have made digital recordings of a lot of my songs and longer compositions, many of which are posted at my MP3 web site. (See my profile if you're interested in checking it out. You can listen or download the songs for free.)

    The problem is that since I no longer can sing, I can't record the vocals for the songs I've written that have lyrics. Part of the problem is that my throat seems to hurt all the time. Sometimes I get hoarse talking, and I periodically get laryngitis and lose my voice completely. I do a lot of work on disability and health-care issues, and a lot of it requires me to talk. So this is a problem to begin with and makes it difficult for me to rest my voice for any length of time. This is particularly true now, since I'm also having a problem with my rotator cuff (tendinitis, I've been told), that makes it hurt to use my computer mouse too much. (This is another thing I do too much.)

    I talked to my ENT about the sore throat, and all she suggested was salt-water gargles, and maybe salt-water sprays into my nose. I'm already taking Flonase and Atrovent for perennial rhinitis (not sure whether it's allergic or not). I was hoping somebody on this board might have a better suggestion for making my throat well enough so that I might be able to sing again.

    Oh yes, one other thing. I find that since I developed fibromyalgia, I have problems hitting the notes I'm trying to reach. I can hear the note I want to sing in my mind, but often when I try to sing it, the sound coming out of my voice is *way* off. It just makes me cringe! And I'm not talking about notes at the extreme ends of my vocal range, either.

    I've never thought about vocal therapy--or even heard of it, for that matter. I know about vocal *coaches*, but I have no idea how to find a vocal therapist. I would really appreciate any guidance anybody can offer.

    --Laura R.M.
  12. klutzo

    klutzo New Member

    In FMS, we can't use the same muscles repeatedly without having them conk out on us, and vocal chords are no exception.
    When I was running my FMS support group, talking for 1 1/2 hrs. straight would cause me to be hoarse for at least 2 days afterwards.
    It has gotten worse over the years, and now I am hoarse every morning when I get up. I have to speak out loud and test my voice before picking up the phone to call anyone, or I may be very embarrassed when I open my mouth!
    An ENT examination with a long laser-light tube showed nothing abnormal. I think it is just the severe muscle fatigue we get.
    Klutzo
  13. pearls

    pearls New Member

    Everyone needs to take care of his voice, even if he is not a singer. Those of you who have tried to use your voice for speaking, but find that it is not working, knows that something is wrong. You CAN take care of it. What goes for singers also goes for everyone with a speaking voice.

    In this case, the kind of therapist you need is not called a vocal therapist, but a VOICE therapist. That person is not the same as a vocal coach or voice teacher, who teaches a singer how to sing, though when I found a good voice therapist, I was struck by the similarities. A voice therapist helps us use our voices properly so we can get rid of the hoarseness and prevent recurrance. ENTs often refer patients to voice therapists after surgery on nodules (also called nodes) so the problem won't come back. If a person has surgery only, he will go back to the same old habits and the problem WILL recur. As I said before, however, this is "putting the cart before the hoarse" (pun intended!). If your voice is hoarse, you need to see an ENT. But if the ENT advises surgery, I would advise therapy with a competent voice therapist first. Your problem will likely go away before you need surgery - and stay away, hopefully.

    However, I think that once you get hoarse for a long time, as I was, you may develop a propensity for the problem. You'll have to be ever vigilant lest you get into voice trouble again. This is my own opinion based on my own experience. I had waited and waited to do something about the problem because I didn't have any money at the time - not realizing that my health insurance would cover both the ENT and the voice therapy. I thought it would be considered frivilous, but it is part of basic health needs. It made a huge difference in my life to overcome this problem! Imagine feeling like your throat is in a vise every single night! Then imagine the relief of not feeling that way!

    What does a voice therapist do? If you have a competent therapist, he will help you undo habits that got you into this mess (if you have nodes or are in the process of developing them) in the first place. This therapy is much like behavior modification. You can't really just tell a person with long-ingrained bad vocal habits to "shut up," or "talk softer." There's a lot more to it than that. Also, the person changing his or her habits probably doesn't even know he or she is talking too loud or too often.

    Some things I had to work on included:

    1) talking too loudly or yelling

    2) talking too much

    3) talking over noise (motors, children, t.v., radios, etc.)

    4) not understanding that silence is okay

    5) talking with my neck turned instead of turning my whole body to face the person.
    Examples of that include: talking while riding in a car, taking to students while my body is turned to write on a chalkboard, siting side-by-side in conversation with a friend rather than face-to-face.

    6) not drinking enough fluids (Water can't touch the vocal cords, but these organs do require hydration. The image that always got to me was comparing the vocal cords to a piece of beef jerkey. That's not an acurate comparison, but helped me understand why I needed to hydrate my vocal cords by taking in enough water each day.)

    7) Not resting my voice when my throat and larnyx felt tired (What helped me here was comparing my vocal cords to a sprained ankle. I wouldn't walk on such an ankle. I shouldn't use a tired voice.)

    8)Not knowing that a number of practices can amount together to "The straw that broke the camel's back." Such things can be any of what has been previously mentioned. It could also include having a drink at a party, which in turn takes away inhibitions, which in turn causes one to talk too much - over the noise of a party. Another such thing could be smoking (which I've never done).

    9) Getting one's voice modulated properly. A voice therapist can help us know when our voices are pitced too low, for instance. This is a natural outcome of compensating for a hoarse and/or painful voice. That can start a spiral in which the voice problems become worse.

    That's it for today on vocal nodules. I know a lot about that because I lived it for years. I don't know how FMS fits into it, except as one person said, everything in our lives must be done in moderation, and we see no reason why vocal cords would not be a part of this.

    I don't know much about the trigger points or myofascial pain I wrote about in my second post in this thread. I merely was reporting some of what was said in Dr. Starlanyl's book. By the way, the word, "myofascial" does not refer to the face, necessairly. The word refers to the fascia of the muscles. These fascia (not sure if the reference is correct) occur in muscles all over the body.

    Hugs,
    -Pearl



  14. gg60

    gg60 New Member

    Mastersinger; Have you ever thougt it could be Sjorgren's Syndrone, for I have this a lone with Fibromyalgia. I have been to several ent's also and learn that a cnstantly dry mouth and throat will damage your vocal cords. Sjorgren's is also an inmune diease, and it also affects the muclse in your hold body, plus attacks other major organs in your body. These two demons have given me a bad time in the last several years, but I thank my Lord everyday for what I can still do. Such as see the computer, read, type, and do most of all my personal grooming. Well just thought I would mention this , for I "too" used to sing in the choir at chruch and love to sing anywhere I'm at, but no more. GOD BLESS YOU AND YOUR'S. gg60
  15. pearls

    pearls New Member

    My guess is that the most likely source of the problem will be either vocal nodules or developing vocal nodules. These are the most common cause of hoarseness and laryngeal pain among singers. I've noticed vocal pathology among coaches, teachers, and military leaders, as well. That's not to say it is not a serious problem. It caused a large amount of disability in me, for sure. To come home each night feeling like one's throat is in a vise (though many don't feel pain) is a literally major pain in the neck. And not to be able to sing is total professional disability for a professional singer.

    The following is for those of you who haven't heard much about vocal nodules, and I haven't said this yet: vocal nodules - or nodes - are usually found opposite each other on the vocal cords. The cords are very small and located in the larynx, or Adam's apple. The vocal cords are like two rubber bands next to each other. They vibrate when you speak or sing.

    If you are developing nodules, the cords themselves may swell. This may or may not cause pain. The swelling can cause hoarseness. If you get nodules, you have developed small, benign growths and they are in many ways like developing calluses when you are constantly using a certain part of your fingers. These nodules cause the vocal cords to let air through, at times when they shouldn't be doing that. That air causes the voice to be breathy. If I remember correctly, nodules cause a sufferer to begin a cycle of the nodules themselves causing worse problems.

    Surgery for this(and I've had the surgery) consists of slicing off the nodules. Sometimes cortisone is injected into the vocal cords to help reduce swelling. The major problem with the surgery - like I've said before - is that the nodules were caused by bad vocal habits, though illness may have combined with bad habits to bring them on, and unless those habits are addressed, the vocal nodules will return. And as I've said before, I'd put my money into voice therapy before submitting to surgery, which can bring complications, though it is usually safe insofar as your general health is concerned. Nevertheless, I believe that those of us with fibromyaliga need to be very wary of surgery. I think if it can be avoided, we should avoid it. Therapy is the way to avoid surgery - providing you get a good voice therapist (also known as voice pathologist). A good therapist is KEY.

    One way to find such a therapist is to ask several professors of voice at a local college or university for a recommendation. But beware. Just as we have found many doctors who don't seem to know their way around our illness, college music departments often have professors who don't know their way around vocal pathologies. That's why I suggest that you ask several of these professors. If you know anyone else in the vocal music community, as those people, as well. If you sing for a living, or if you love singing, or even if you need to speak, it pays to research this carefully.

    Soft, sympathetic hugs,
    -Pearl
    [This Message was Edited on 03/25/2003]
  16. pearls

    pearls New Member

    Something else:

    Like you, I have asthma and sinus problems. Here's a bit of advice I've forgotten to give you. When you talk to your doctor about medications for these problems, ask if the medications will dry out your vocal cords. Many do. Often your doctor can prescribe something else that either does not dry you out so bad, or doesn't have that affect at all. You MUST keep your vocal cords hydrated. Remember the image of a piece of dried out beef jerkey! You can keep hydrated by drinking enough water all day long (not sips, but glasses full), and by NOT taking meds that dry you out.

    More hugs,
    -Pearl
  17. kats1978

    kats1978 New Member

    I know that when I have bad FMS my cords seem to take a toll on the worse side.
  18. teacher

    teacher New Member

    seriously into voice care.


    There is a group called the VoiceCare Network that teaches vocal health. Information about them is avaliable on-line. I can't remember the address right now, but if you search under VoiceCare Network, you should be able to find it.

    It's geared toward music teachers of all grade levels, vocal and instrumental, speech pathologists, etc. Any one that speaks and/or sings a lot.

    Very non-threatening class. It's a week long. Held twice a year (summers) at different locations around the country. Centered in MN at St. John's University. The teachers there are very willing to listen to you and work with you through YOUR specific problems. Can sometimes lead you to people in your area that can help you also.

    They teach about the voice, how it works and what kinds of things can screw up the works. They teach you how to produce sound and how to do it painlessly. And yes, they are aware that illnesses play a big part in how well you produce sound.

    You may take the class for graduate credit.

    I don't know if this will help or not. Just thought I'd throw in my two cents.

    teacher
  19. pearls

    pearls New Member

    I had no idea about the Voice Care Network, but then I've been out of that field for a number of years now, computers have been invented, and the Internet has come into widespread use! Thanks. My teaching career is coming to an end in June, but I'm still interested in voice care, especially since there are younger people who would like to keep singing. Had I known how to properly care for my voice many years ago, my whole life might have been different. I don't sing anymore - which would have been unthinkable back in my college days. I simply couldn't teach all day long and sing, too.

    -Pearl
  20. VEGETAURIAN

    VEGETAURIAN Guest

    Mastersinger,
    Yes, your voice can be effected by Fibro and CFIDS. Am going thru it now. Have to see an Ear, Nose,Throat Doctor. Have already been scoped twice. Have to go back again in a month. Resting your vocal chords is the most important thing you must do.
    Many or us have systemic yeast infections and don't even know about it. There is a stool test by Rocky Mountain that tells you much about what is going on with your body. That is the way I found out. Let me know if you want their Email address. A Doctor has to write a script for it and most insurance companies pay for it including Medicare.

    There are natural and prescription meds for the condition but first you need to find out what you are dealing with before treatment can be initiated.

    The most important thing to do is not talk. You may whisper VERY softly but that is all.

    Gee, we just found out another use for duct tape!
    I wish you the very best and please let me know how you make out!
    jenae954@aol.com
    [This Message was Edited on 03/27/2003]
    [This Message was Edited on 03/27/2003]