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Okay here's the deal...

Vocal Range without jogging 3 miles in the morning= A2-A5

Vocal Range with jogging 3 miles in the morning= B3-C#5 (at least)

What's going on? It's so frustrating having to deal with a different instrument half the days of the week... It's like bi-polar voice syndrome or something...

Also, I tend to wake up with a realllllly low voice for a tenor in the morning. Maybe the two are related. I'm currently on meds for acid reflux, and drinking about a gallon of water a day (have been for a year). Lot's of sinus drainage also on days that I don't get the cardio in...

Anybody else deal with this frustrating crap?

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Well, one of the most important parts of singing is proper breathing and support of the note. It sounds like you sing higher after a good run.

As for sinus, I live in Texas where we have any number of spores and tree crap blowing around. I deal with some sinus drainage every single stinking day. So, I try to keep clear, blow my nose, clear my throat, etc. Just part of life, I guess.

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So ive treated my voice like crap. Drinking lots of caffeine and taking psudofederine everyday... My voice sounds better than ever. It's like I'm allergic to water... Sounds stupid I know.

There might be something in the water. Also, pseudo-ephedrine is a stimulant. In fact, where I live, they use over the counter inhalers for the pseudo-ephedrine to make what they call pick-up truck crank (crystal methamphetamine.) I'm not trying to scare you or anything but most emergency relief meds for asthma or allergies that trigger asthma like symptoms are stimulants, like epi-pens, shots of adrenalin. Pseudo-ephedrine is based on the compound ephedra, found in nature. Also, caffeine is a stimulant.

More than likely, the stimulant effect you are getting is helping the body produce a more even and stable tension on the chords and longer endurance for holding the laryngeal muscles in the right shape for resonance.

I used to have to use inhalers, including over-the-counter inhalers. My doctor always advised care with those because of the stimulant effect and that it could trouble a weak heart. You might go to a doctor, if possible, to get allergy meds that don't have such risks. But you could keep drinking caffeine, though, be it coffee or soda. I often drink diet Coke or orange juice before singing. It keeps the throat hydrated. If you go to a doctor, tell him what your problem is. You want your voice to sound good and allergies are messing you up but that you don't want to "over amp" yourself with the wrong kinds of meds.

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After more thinking and contemplating, I believe what I'm experiencing could be acid reflux... After all my voice is at it's absolute worse in the morning and does not get any better until the evening. Also if I take a nap for a couple hours, its like starting all over with my voice.

If I had to choose a doctor or specialist, should I try to get referred to a voice care specialist first? Would a voice care specialist be able to discover the cause of my issues (allergies, acid reflux, ect...)?

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more than anything I would recommend a thorough voice exam, with a laryngologist (ENT) who has VIDEOSTROBE equipment, and a speech pathologist to participate. Most big cities have at least one such clinic now and for a singer it is worth travel time to get the right diagnosis.

Some GI guys understand reflux and the larynx, some don't.

As for this shift in range - I'm confused - do you lose both high and low notes after your run, or on the days that you run?

One possibility is that the cords get a little roughed-up by the heavier breathing (faster, bigger volume of air) required in running. Suggestions would be (1) before you run, take a few slow, MINDFUL breaths thru nose as if smelling something wonderful (pie, soup, etc). Focus on whole throat getting wide as you inhale, and keep both inhale & exhale absolutely silent. Try to keep this same feeling in your throat while running. Yes, while running you use both mouth & nose, but if you have any unconscious habit of keeping throat slightly closed this will help interrupt it.

(2) extra long steamy shower after the run, & wait an hour before any singing.

If coffee & decongestants help, they might be "thinning out" some extra bulk (swelling) related to the reflux. Not great as long-term solution.

Google "reflux laryngitis" to get to some good info-sites by friendly ENTs. Or go to the health info/links part of my website.

& let me know if I can help locate a good clinic for you.


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Vanderbilt Univ Hospital in Nashville has one of the best voice clinics in the country.

(615) 343-7464 or (615) 343-SING. The speech pathologists probably know my name (as referral) although the MDs would not.

I don't know their fee schedule, but just tell them your situation & insurance (or none) & see what they can do. They see LOTS of singers & might have some flexibility in prices... Or they'd know where else you can go.


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...And to clarify the range issue... My voice basically just rises in pitch/break points on days i jog from a baritone to a tenor.

Classical Guitar: IMO, this effect is most likely that your body has warmed up well and the overnight edema (fluid buildup in tissues) throughout your body has dissipated. As others have suggested, if reflux is involved, you'll want to get a confirming diagnosis from an ENT. That appointment should be first thing in the day, on a day when you have not jogged, so that the laryngeal condition can be assessed.

There is, however, another way to be thinking about this, which would be to compare what you are experiencing with what very often occurs in a fully-used male voice during the course of a day. After such a day, and especially when extensive singing has been done in the evening, the voice requires some rest time for muscle and other tissue recovery. Morning edema of the vocal process is quite common under these circumstances. In the absence of early-morning exercise, the body takes 3 to 4 hours to clear the edema normally. Early-day exercise reduces this time somewhat.

Though your particular voice may vary in this respect, I think there are some things you can do:

1) If you plan to sing early in the day, leave at least 3-4 hours after arising before you perform.

2) Find some sort of exercise to do on your non-jogging days, at the same time you would normally jog. Aerobics or light-to-medium weight training work very well as alternates, as would tai-chi.

3) On mornings after you have performed the prior evening, minimize your voice use before 10 am or so. In evenings, after you have done a vocal work-out or had a performance, minimize your speaking voice use afterward.

4) Include planned periods of vocal rest every day, and every week. One of the best times to do this is when you are doing the mental work of song memorization, interpretive planning and sight-reading.

Though I am not a doctor, there are some things you can do to reduce the effects of reflux, without medications:

1) Dont' sing or sleep with a full stomach. Give plenty of time for digestion before retiring for the evening, so avoid eating a full meal within 2 hours of it, particularly if you usually drink large amounts of fluids with the meal. If you are going to eat before a rehearsal or performance, make it a snack, or leave at least an hour after eating before the singing.

2) Sleep on your right side when taking a nap during the day.

3) Get a wedge-pillow, and sleep/nap with your upper body elevated. Alternatively, put a pillow under your mattress to raise the head of the bed just a little.

4) To reduce reflux during the daytime hours, spread out your water intake throughout the day. Eight ounces when you arise, and 8 more 1 hour later will start your day well. 8 more ounces every hour, especially if sipped during the course of the hour, will keep you hydrated during the day without filling the stomach. You'll know you are drinking just about the right amount during the day if you need to use the rest room about every 2 hours. If more often, you are drinking too much. Any less often, you are drinking too little.

I hope this helps.

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As usual Steven, you do offer some great advice. Now for some standard product advice.

If you think it is acid reflux, Thayers Slippery Elm Lozenges could help. Let one or two dissolve in your mouth before going to bed. At this time the lozenges can help in two ways. First, they are an all natural anti-acid (approved by the FDA as an OTC drug). Second, they coat your throat and act as a moisturizer that helps prevent the drying effect of breathing, especially heavy during sleeping. The lozenges are also good for after a performance to help reduce inflammation. And it just hit me, considering this last quality, the morning after edema you mentioned could also be reduced. The froggyness of the morning is usually worked out with some vocal exercises but there are also quite a few products on the market that work specifically to clear mucous.

Sorry to contradict Stephen, but sleeping on the left side is actually better for reflux sufferers as explained here: http://www.homelifeweekly.com/body/how-to-stop-acid-reflux-while-sleeping/ and here: http://www.webmd.com/heartburn-gerd/guide/tips-for-sleep-without-heartburn.

As far as the medications and water go, most meds have a diuretic which as far as a singer is concerned means dry mouth and dry throat. When you drink water to combat it, the body uses the hydration in a priority fashion and seemingly puts the vocal instrument last while concentrating on hydrating vital organs and major muscles (especially for a jogger) and relies on the important action of eating to signal salivary glands to point the hydration that way. Singing doesn't send that signal, if anything, considering nervousness and stage fright, actually could do the opposite, thus hydration is one of the most common issues amongst singers and causes most of the deleterious symptoms we hear about, including believe it or not, mucous buildup. The best product on the market for vocalist hydration can be found at entertainerssecret.com

And I'm not a doctor either. I used to be a runner though and would ask about your running technique. When you run do you tighten your jaw/throat/neck or does your jaw hang loose. The tension in your jaw and neck could affect all the muscles in the area causing strain. I'll leave it to those more qualified to respond but if this was the case, couldn't the vocal cords in effect be tightened or elongated affecting the ability to lower the pitch?



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Agree with Scott-- sleep on left side if have acid reflux. Better still, raise head of bed at least over 6 inches, that is, sleep on an inclined bed.

For better singing for most people, sleep flat on back without pillow (VocalPosture.com will explain why later).

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Sorry to contradict Steven, but sleeping on the left side is actually better for reflux sufferers as explained here: http://www.homelifeweekly.com/body/how-to-stop-acid-reflux-while-sleeping/ and here: http://www.webmd.com/heartburn-gerd/guide/tips-for-sleep-without-heartburn.

JustGottaSing: I checked some sources, and what you suggest is being recommended now as appropriate for GERD (acid reflux) sleep position. Thanks for the correction.

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Well, here’s my two cents worth.

The body stores muscle tension patterns. When one runs, one “shakes” up these patterns, and your resonanting mechanism as well as your musclar controls are affected. Musclar controls return quickly after some rest, but shaking up tension patterns are not restored quickly. Afterwards, one’s vocal apparatus sounds entirely different.

To solve this, one needs to get rid of the tension patterns–detense–which is a difficult process being described in my blog, www.vocalposture.com. (Most of the information isn’t on there yet). By permanently ridding of stored muscular tensions, you’ll sing far better than your current conditions, in any pitch ranges; and your range will be increase. The fact your range is capable of changing by jogging says that your range limits are affected by the degree of "detensing" of the resonating mechanism.

Acid reflux meds, especially proton inhibitors, in general, help sufferers sing better. The reason is that when acid touches the esophageal and mouth tissues, these weaken; furthermore, acidic fumes cause nasal congestion (as the nasal tissues protect themselves by shutting closing the nose to nasal fumes). With acid reflux med, the vocal tissues are stronger.

Of course, it is better not to use acid reflux med at all; there are lots of techniques for this–some of which is explained or will be explained in www.vocalposture.com.

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So much excellent advice and commentary! It's great to know we can come here and get guidance. As some of you may have read my other posts about the reflux issue. It's almost always diet related. Green yourself and allow your body to get a proper pH balance. This will clean out the mucus and junk that is more than likely contributing to your reflux. Aloe Vera is an excellent inexpensive and effective way to do this. Take a couple of ounces three times a day for a week or so. With diet change that should begin to help. As for the napping and then having a whole different voice, that is a very common situation. I try to nap at least 4 hours before a performance because when I wake up, I feel as though I have become a baritone. My voice is thicker and less flexible. My first voice teacher told me to always be up at least 4-5 hours before I sing. For me it works. Try to stay out of the chemical and prescription meds. There are so many outstanding natural alternatives to deal with what you are experiencing.

Hang in there.

David Aaron Katz

Superior Vocal HealtSuperiorvocalhealth.blogspot.com

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