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specific definition of throat pain singing

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I have been doing research on vocal health since I wanna make sure danger is always at bay

and i often hear ppl saying "singing causes me throat pain" etc...


btw I wanna know where is "throat pain" felt exactly for wrong technique? is it like the place where you feel sore when you have a cold and get sore throat

or is it somewhere down in the throat box where you feel the glottal attack?

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In my opinion, it doesn't matter where the pain is, one should stop. Also, rather than worrying if the location of the pain is significant, I feel it is better to concentrate on good singing technique. That is, you avoid pain by doing the right thing, rather than concentrating on avoiding the wrong thing.


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Basically if you're healthy there shouldn't be any pain ever. And if there is you should rethink your singing technique. So if there is pain, stop, and rethink things. If pain persists when speaking you can investigate muscle tension dysphonia which can mean the muscles in your voice might be out of sync with each other causing excessive tension. Some of these habits can be retrained:


If pain persists, particularly when not performing, investigate nerve damage. Most of the body will heal, but peripheral nerves (sensory and motor)  if damaged can fail to heal (causing pain, cramps, etc) and there are various kinds of problems nearer to the central nervous system that can cause pain. Glossopharyngeal neuralgia and superior laryngeal neuralgia in particular will cause pain directly in your voice.


There are also compression syndromes that are less understood elsewhere in the body like carpal tunnel syndrome that might be possible to induce into the voice (repetitive stress injuries). 

If you feel pain, stop, but if pain persists when you're not doing anything wrong, generally everything in the body that will heal within 6 months, the fastest being tissue, then muscles, then tends tendons, then ligaments (although these sometimes fail to heal),  and nerves (which often fail to heal), to varying degrees. Investigate the nerves. Most conditions can be managed, if not cured. However if pain persists, you actually would need to do the opposite of stopping painful activities: which is repeated exposure to try to desensitize the nerve in reaction to the stimulus, as if you completely stop the nerves will become even more sensitive:


It's kind of a tiered process of how you'd handle the pain. Imo I'd investigate anti depressants and anti convulsants early on if there is persistent pain. For anti depressants, anything that reuptakes both serotonin and norepinephrine, like tryclicic or SNRIs can be effective, but SSRIs like Prozac do not work. For anti convulsants there are various types available, selective channel blockers and anything that increases inhibitory response though GABA might be helpful, carbamazepine, prebaglin, gabapentin, are often suggested.

These medications aren't 'pain killers' like opioids (morphine, oxycodone) but they can regulate the way malfunctioning nerves are channeling through the nervous system, by inhibiting certain signals. It's kind of if someone is having a seizure and if given benzodiazepine they will stop.

If you stub your toe on that kind of medication it's going to hurt about the same, but if you have neuropathy or neuralgia these kinds of medications can reduce those types of pain significantly. If your pain is responsive to one or more of these medications, it's probably a good indication that you're not stubbing your toe, so speak, where as if you took a standard pain killer, it would dull your awareness of injury. 

So yeah, you start by stopping and 99/100 times, that's going to work, but if that doesn't work, then you'd need to take a tiered approach.

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Florance, of any one here on the subject of pain in the throat, more than any words of wisdom I could offer, you should heed the advice and wisdom of Killer. He has "been there, done that."

I don't know if fellow member, Joanna Cazden is still around but she is also a vocal rehab specialist. In the mean time, avail yourself of the help that Killer can offer you.


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thank you for the detailed response! yeah I guess I have to really rethink my speaking habits. But I just kinda wonder wll ppl get sore throat like fever sore throat if singing unhealthily? Thanks a lot!


I do believe you can get laryngitis from singing very unhealthily, but I don't think it's the most common cause.

But basically on this topic, if you have seriously sore throat you generally shouldn't sing unless you have a professional obligation, imo, even then it needs to be weighed against your health and it might be better to cancel or have someone fill in.

Laryngitis is a worst case scenario and from what I've read about it I don't think anyone should ever sing with laryngitis, but I'd wait through flus and anything that seriously affects the throat.

Mild colds that are mostly in the nasal passages could be doable, although there is nasal drip onto the folds. Warm up keep well hydrated to keep the fold part of it is healthy as possible. If you don't have any professional obligation, I'd wait til you're healthy enough it doesn't pose any issues.

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thank you so much for the patient and detailed reply again!!!

My problem is like.... even when I was small like 16 yrs old (4 yrs ago) I have always have this tickle feeling in the throat (not uvala but near the glotta/ layrnx/ vocal fry area) and this feeling comes and goes.... sometimes it comes when i speak but many times it still comes when I am silent for the whole day

it essentially isnt like pain ... more like "dry and scratchy"... but my voice quality never changed and I never have gotten any hoarseness and having attended some vocal lessons and buying various singing programs, I still have this problem....

it kind a freaks me out that nothing I found on the internet resemble this symptom...


thank you so much again and so sorry for the endless questions><

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That's interesting. Different types of phonation do vibrate differently. The closest thing to scratchy I feel in my voice is vocal fry. Next time you get that sensation, try yawning and sighing at the same time. For me that is probably the smoothest feeling. I can still feel the vibration, but it is silky and smooth, although that can be a bit breathy.

I wouldn't get too worried about it if it hasn't caused you any significant problems but I'd be aware and monitor in case it gets worse. T It's the best strategy to try to be aware but not fearful of getting problems. There's something called health anxiety that you wouldn't want either, when people are really stressed they are less able to heal and more prone to malfunctions. 

If it's not due to the actual phonation habit itself, you might have a sensitivity in the nerve there, but it would be an extreme amount of medical expense to try to measure it. I'd first experiment with feeling that, trying a different way to make the sound, if it really persists and bothers you some of the better vocal coaches or speech therapists might be able to figure out what you're doing if you're doing anything.

Does it feel relaxed and scratchy or tense and scratchy? Cause when you do the fry thing right, it's it's fairly relaxed, but the vibration pattern isn't regularly spaced and I can personally feel the sensation. If it's tight and scratchy it might be more on the side of strain.

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thanks for the response again... it really really helps!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I feel quite relaxed doing vocal fry exercises but what i meant was like the feeling of "dryness" rests in the area near where you would feel glottal shocks and vocal fry or a cough... yeah... this sensation has nested in me for a few yrs and it doesn't seem to be problematic except for that feeling in itself... I sought medical attention and the doctor said it could be some sort of harmless spasm but I don't really think so cuz a spasm seems to be at the extreme side of the spectrum....

Thx so much again! really appreciate you help

P.S. if it helps

I think my technique is not the most unhealthy (even though it still kinda sucks) because

1. my tone isnt breathy

2. I have no muscle strain etc

3. my larynx is always stable regardless of the notes

4. i dont run out of breathe


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I can really relate to this feeling, as I often have it.  I felt it a couple of times during 2014, when doing something wrong while singing, or sometimes while speaking on the street.  My speaking habits are horrible.

Now after my reflux ( I recovered from the reflux, but I had several muscular issues provoked by it ), I feel it a lot more often.  I associate it with tension. When my voice is tighter I feel it recurrently, but I relax and do light exercises, warm up my headvoice too, and it goes away.

It is a dry kind of feeling. I feel it like if my throat was "raw", "naked meat".... although that was when I was very bad, when the reflux was more recent. Now I rarely have that feeling, it comes back when I catch a bad cold and my voice gets messed up or dehidrates.


My speech therapyst and teacher and I think that after the reflux I started to compensate the air leak with a higher larynx and more CA activity, using too little air, avoiding much headvoice activity, which made it weaker from not being used. My bridge became weaker and my second bridge very shaky, and I felt that "dryness" on my higher range a lot. In February and March my voice felt the most scratchy. The scratchyness as almost gone completely by now, but I feel some tickles on my left side from time to time.

Now that I started working with them, I'm doing more relaxing exercises and a lot of headvoice stuff, and getting used to more airflow, which is now balancing my voice again. This has made the recurrent tickly or dry feelings to not come back as much.


And it is funny now that I think of it, because this tickling feeling or "dry/rawness" hasn't activated even when being exposed to alcohol or cigarrete smoke, while loudly talking with my friends inside a house.  It happens more when talking in the street or when exposed to artificial air temperature regulators ( I can't remember the name lmao )


Well, sorry for all the rambling. I must be too influenced by rowns by now, lol


EDIT: If anyone wants audio comparisons before and after my issues, and during my rehab time,  I can send them some :)



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so happy for you dear that you have remedied that and found a way out!

Just wanna know, so basically your issue has more to do with breathe and a high layrnx? And also, do you feel the pain mainly at like the "voice box/ glottal shock area"?

I dont know if i have reflux cuz i never literally have reflux flushing up to my trachea but i do burp a lot (gross alert sorry)


thank you so much for your input !!!!

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    There were a couple of "oh s**t" moments when I started studying singing seriously. When I discovered my headvoice I went crazy with it and tried to add as much chest as I could, right out of the gate. Bad idea. I felt like a "needly" pain, for a milisecond on a sustained high note and I stopped immediately. And other time when I was very irresponsible and thought I was warmed up, but I really wasn't, and I tried to pull chest too high. I felt the same sensation, and also, stopped immediately. These situations had no impact in my voice whatsoever, probably left my voice fatigued, can't remember well, but I just kept singing as normal from then on. ( Please don't try stupid stuff, people, I know it now by experience, just be patient and work consistently. That's enough, no need to rush :) )


     My problem started when I got a pretty bad gastroenteritis on January, with vomitting and reflux. I had a lot of fever, for like 4 days, but still I had to go to rehearsals ( I'm a ballet dancer ) and I dehydrated myself too much. I also felt very poisoned in general, my body became stiff as hell, all my joints hurt so much. I'll just say that my fingers hurt when brushing my teeth. My neck went robocop mode.  My whole body was really a total mess.

So from there, it has all been rehab hahah  From January till today. My body is well now, but my voice still has some of these repercussions ( it feels mostly lighter than normal, and with less stamina ) 

Whenever I incur in bad habits, such as speaking badly on the street or when I am dehydrated I feel the tickling again. In fact I felt it today, because I'm kind of getting off a cold, but I managed to make the feeling go away by doing some exercises I've been given :P

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