How do I heal my vocal cords?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Carlo Medina, Jan 3, 2002.

  1. Carlo Medina

    Carlo Medina Executive Producer

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    Okay, silly ass me. I lost my Chris Cornell CD (former Soundgarden frontman) last year by leaving it on top of my car and driving off without realizing it. Yesterday I repurchased it and was singing...okay screaming to it all the way home, for like 30 minutes.

    Well not only did my voice get hoarse, but last night I was spitting up a little blood. Not a lot, but enough to worry me. It's not anything else like internal bleeding in the stomach. I can feel my throat irritated. It stops for a while, but can start up again (it hadn't done it since last night, now it just started).

    How best can I heal this? Not talking? Any drinks I should consume? Any over-the-counter remedies?

    Thanks! I guess my singing career is over before it really started...
     
  2. Sean Conklin

    Sean Conklin Screenwriter

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    Try not to talk for a week, and drink honey and tea. [​IMG]
     
  3. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

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    See a doctor immediately. Really.

    M.
     
  4. Jeff_A

    Jeff_A Screenwriter

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    I would recommend seeing a doctor just to rule out any extensive damage (it does happen). My nine-year-old daughter did something very similar a few months ago. She had been shouting extensively during her team's soccer tournament and literally lost her voice. Her doctor was very adament that she not raise her voice at all for a few days to allow the vocal cords to heal.
    So, whisper for awhile and get well. [​IMG]
     
  5. Bill Catherall

    Bill Catherall Screenwriter

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    And next time you do some yelling, don't scream. Use your diaphram, not your throat (make the words come from your "stomach" not the back of your throat). This takes the pressure off your vocal cords. You can also get much louder. (Experienced lifeguard and father. [​IMG] )
     
  6. Carlo Medina

    Carlo Medina Executive Producer

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    Aw crap. I'll try to get a walk-in appointment tomorrow, but I'm not sure I'll be able to. If not it will have to be Monday, unless you guys think it is serious enough to warrant an emergency room visit over the weekend (hope not).

    I definitely will whisper as much as I can until I get the chance to see a doctor.

    The tea and honey thing is also a good idea, don't know why I didn't think of it since I do it when I have a sore throat or cough.
     
  7. MikeAlletto

    MikeAlletto Cinematographer

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    Anytime I hear someone say "spitting up blood" or they were bleeding from something odd (eye, ear, etc...) You really should see a doctor. It might be nothing but better to be safe.
     
  8. Brad_W

    Brad_W Screenwriter

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    Well, this is sort of my specialty. I have a degree in speech-language pathology assistance and this sort of thing is right up my alley... lucky you.



    First and foremost, they're not vocal cords, they're vocal folds (sorry, it's like calling the larynx the "voice box" or the thyroid notch the "adam's apple"). They are two flaps made up of five layers: The epithelium, the superficial, intermediate, and deep layers of the lamina propria and the thyroarytenoid (or vocalis) muscle. The vocal folds slam together to help create the "voice." When you scream or sing a lot you damage the folds because they continuously slam together causing irration.



    Many times the vocal habits, like throat clearing, coughing of a speaker, together with the manner or style in which the speaker produces their voice when talking, contribute to vocal fold/voice problems. Plus, habits like smoking cigarettes and drinking alcohol can irrate the vocal folds.



    If this continues (including your problem with the screaming and/or harsh singing), vocal nodules (sometimes called singer's or screamer's nodes) which are like calluses, may form on the vocal flds at the point of maximum vocal fold adduction. The nodules may add mass to the vocal folds so the pith of the vocie may be lower. The nodules prevent complete adduction, so air escapes and the voice may be breathy and reduced in loudness. Nodules may prevent the vocal folds from vibrating regulary so the quality of the voice may be hoarse, husky, and have breaks in pitch.



    Don't see a doctor. They are NOT trained to deal with with these issues. There are specialists that do deal with them and they are Speech-Language Pathologists. In fact, some doctors even disregard an SLPs work because they think its a bunch of "marlarchy" and/or "tom foolery" (see small town doctors for best examples of this). I guess you'll have to see a doctor and then he/she may refer you to an SLP, but my bet would be they they would try to diagnose it themselves.



    My initial advice: use a relaxed voice onset (speak normally at the begining of your sentences) because louder means harder on your vocal folds. Drink a lot of water because your vocal folds are a "wet tissue" and need to stay moist. Don't whisper!!! Whispering strains your vocal folds and actually worsens your condition!!! You have to put tension on the folds to create the whisper. And again, see an SLP. Well, again a doctor who will hopefully recommend that you see an SLP. I hope this helps and good luck.





    That'll be $65



    [​IMG]
     
  9. Cees Alons

    Cees Alons Moderator
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    Brad,

    I'm glad you reversed that advice not to see a doctor, in your third last sentence.

    Every time I see someone, and especially one who is connected to health care in one form or another, advise people to avoid a doctor, I cringe. That's an unwise advice and makes you look bad yourself.

    Carlo, if you spit blood, there's only one proper advice: see a doctor. Probably it's nothing serious, but he can see what the actual damage is. It may heal by itself, but then again, if it's more than casual, he may be able to prescribe something more effective.

    Cees
     
  10. Carlo Medina

    Carlo Medina Executive Producer

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    Wow! Thanks Brad! I knew there was a reason I hung out here, free medical advice! Maybe I should dump my HMO...
    Anyway, I'll try to get a walk in appointment either today or Monday. Meanwhile I will definitely not whisper or even speak a lot. I have been hydrating myself with plenty of water as well as tea and honey and this stuff my girlfriend has called loquat.
    I have only had those two episodes, and I think its healing. I can feel a little irritation back there, but not pain. I don't habitually damage my voice, and I generally do sing from my stomach, but Chris Cornell's register was just a little too high and I was being an idiot in the car (see: Bohemian Rhapsody skit in Wayne's World for a reference) trying to use my vocal folds (thanks for proper term Brad) to imitate his pitch. I guess that's why he can sing for Soundgarden and I can't. [​IMG]
    I don't smoke or drink, but I did have a bottle of Corona that day while watching Oregon beat up Colorado with my friends.
    Thanks again for all of the helpful advice!
     
  11. Philip Hamm

    Philip Hamm Lead Actor

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    My brother Ange Hamm has had nodules so bad they had to be surgically removed. No fun.

    Brad's best advice is in bold, DO NOT WHISPER!!!

    And drink Tea with honey and maybe lemon (not sure on that). Ange will be chiming in eventually.
     
  12. Jon_B

    Jon_B Screenwriter

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    I had the same problem a few years ago, sans spitting up blood. I lost my voice for an entire week. The super bowl was on during my "quiet time", I was in a room full of Bronco fans. Needless to say I was not a bronco fan. [​IMG] The whole experience was not fun. [​IMG]
    Jon
     
  13. Andrew 'Ange Hamm' Hamm

    Andrew 'Ange Hamm' Hamm Supporting Actor

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    Nodules = no fun. (They also equalled all the peppermint ice cream I could eat for a couple days, but that was really a fleeting thrill compared to how easily I lose my voice to this day.)

    Drink lots of fluids, no caffeine, no sugar. No talking unless it's an emergency. Get yourself a pad and some paper to communicate with, seriously. And no whispering under any circumstances.
     

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