Treat Strained Vocal Chords

Edited by Anonymous, Witz Taluban, Robbi, Ermin and 2 others

Normal vocal cords

Strained vocal cords are quite uncomfortable. The common cause of strained vocal cords is that you may have shouted with great force. If your work requires you to speak out loudly, then you can be at risk of having strained vocal cords. Teachers and public speakers are prone to this vocal issue. There are also other causes of strained vocal cords, which I will be tackling later in this article. There are also some treatments here that you can self-medicate. To know all these, you may want to read the information below:

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What are strained vocal cords?

Strained vocal cords can be caused by different health problems. Normally, a strained vocal cord occurs when you frequently shout with great force. In some cases, it can also be caused by infections and other diseases, which straining of the vocal chords is a part of the symptoms. To become aware of the common vocal disorders, read the types below:

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Types of vocal cord disorders

  1. 1
    Laryngitis.
    Inflamed larnyx2.jpg
    This is an inflammation and infection of the voice box, otherwise known as larynx. This can cause swelling of the vocal cords, which is quite painful and uncomfortable. Laryngitis occurs due to common colds and flu, acid reflux, allergies from smoke, and overuse of the voice. The symptoms include hoarseness, sore throat, trouble swallowing, coughing, and dry throat.
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  2. 2
    Contact ulcers.
    Contact ulcers - ermin2.jpg
    This is not a common vocal cord disorder. This only occurs when a person begins to use his or her great force when speaking, instead of doing it gradually. It is not recommended to talk out loud initially. If you have to do so, you have to practice your voice first before using your great force to shout or talk out loud. Other causes can be due to acid reflux, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), and heartburn. Symptoms include hoarseness, pain and swelling in the throat while talking.
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  3. 3
    Vocal cord nodules.
    Nodules - ermin.jpg
    Teachers, singers, and screamers are at risk of getting vocal cord nodules. Nodules are small and hard lumps on both sides of the vocal cords. Because of these nodules, one cannot speak or talk comfortably. The nodules are very painful, and these should be treated early before it gets worse. The common cause is due to vocal abuse. Symptoms include low-pitched voice, uncomfortable feeling in the throat, trouble breathing, and hoarseness. Mostly, persons having vocal cord nodules may not be aware of losing their vocal range.
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  4. 4
    Vocal cord polyps.
    Polyp - ermin.jpg
    Unlike vocal cord nodules, vocal cord polyps only have one lump in the vocal cord. These occur in a person if he or she exposes himself or herself to allergens, such as cigarette smoke and chemical fumes. And like other vocal cord disorders, vocal cord polyps are also caused by vocal abuse or overuse of the voice. Symptoms include raspy throat, hoarseness, trouble breathing, low-pitched voice, and throat irritation.
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  5. 5
    Vocal cord paresis and vocal cord paralysis.
    One sided paralysis - ermin.jpg
    Vocal cord paresis occurs if one or two vocal cords hardly close or open while talking, while vocal cord paralysis occurs when all sides of the vocal cords don't move at all or are stagnant. These can exist due to other diseases, such as having a tumor in the throat, neurological diseases (such as multiple sclerosis and Parkinson's disease), stroke, a viral infection, surgical trauma, trauma during birth, neck or head trauma, and some deteriorating diseases, like myasthenia gravis. Symptoms include change in the voice quality, hoarseness, trouble breathing, trouble increasing vocal sound, changes in voice pitch, and painful feeling in the throat.
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  6. 6
    Vocal cord tumors.
    Cancer - ermin.jpg
    These can be non-cancerous or cancerous vocal cord disorder. Non-cancerous vocal cord tumors are caused by a virus or an abnormal growth of body tissue, while cancerous vocal cord tumors are caused by excessive cigarette smoking and drinking alcohols. The latter can be life-threatening, if not recognized and medicated early.
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Treatments for each strained vocal cord disorder

Now you have known the different vocal cord disorders that mainly cause the swelling sensation in the throat. You may want to read the treatment for each below.

  1. 1
    Laryngitis.
    Modern medications and treatments can be used for treating laryngitis. Medications such as steroids and ibuprofen can reduce the pain in the throat. If it is a chronic laryngitis, you should go see a doctor for medical care and diagnosis. If the uneasiness and pain is bearable, you can just self-medicate. Eating popsicles can reduce the swelling sensation in the throat. Apart from that, you should drink plenty of water every day to keep your vocal cords hydrated. Dry and raspy throat can worsen the issue, so drink plenty of water from time to time. Doctors also recommend warm water gargling to ease the pain and voice resting for few days. Also, you should expose yourself to humidified air to keep yourself hydrated.
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  2. 2
    Contact ulcers.
    Like the treatment for laryngitis, contact ulcers can be treated with proper voice rest for a minimum of six weeks. Do not talk loudly and always drink plenty of water. If these cannot be treated in a matter of weeks, and the symptoms gradually become worse, you may want to go see a doctor for throat check-ups or diagnosis. In some cases, doctors require a surgical removal, if the vocal cords are seriously damaged and infected.
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  3. 3
    Vocal cord nodules.
    This also requires surgical removal, because of the lumps in both vocal cords. Voice therapy is also required after surgical removal. The nodules can cause irritation because of the inflammation and infection. If, in the meantime, you cannot afford the surgical fees, you may want to do some self-medications to ease the pain and reduce the symptoms. Proper vocal hygiene and hydration are the main treatments to reduce the swelling sensation in the throat. Keep your throat hydrated by drinking plenty of water. Relax your vocal cords as well. Do not talk nor whisper frequently. Whispering can worsen the issue. Only talk if you need to.
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  4. 4
    Vocal cord polyps.
    This needs the same medical care as vocal cord nodules'. The lump causes the symptoms. Hence, doctors require surgical removal. Voice therapy is also needed after surgery. To self-medicate, always hydrate your throat by drinking water. Avoid overusing your voice. Have a vocal rest for few weeks to ease and reduce the pain.
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  5. 5
    Vocal cord paresis and vocal cord paralysis.
    Surgery is needed for fixing the vocal cord paresis. More often than not, the doctors will inject the paralyzed vocal cord with collagen or other fat substances to bring it closer to the other normal vocal cord. If the two vocal cords are both paralyzed, or what we call the vocal cord paralysis, tracheotomy is needed. Tracheotomy is a medical operation in which an opening of the person's neck and trachea is needed to help a person breathes comfortably. After surgery, voice therapy is required. Just so you know, if both vocal cords are paralyzed, one may have trouble breathing and feel severe strain in the throat.
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  6. 6
    Vocal cord tumors.
    As we all know, vocal cord tumors can be cancerous and non-cancerous. Non-cancerous tumor in the vocal cord requires a surgical removal. The tumor should be removed to avoid possible circumstances that can worsen it or make it become cancerous. Cancerous tumor requires chemotherapy, radiation, or even surgery to remove a part of the larynx. In most cases, all these treatments may be needed to fix vocal cords malfunction. These treatments can be done during the early stages of the vocal cord cancer. In the later stages of cancer, laryngectomy is required. After the operation, the person should learn a new speech method through the special valve inserted between the esophagus and the trachea. Proper vocal cord hygiene is also required after the surgery.
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Home remedies for strained vocal cords

Apart from surgical removal or medical operation, one can also try some home-remedies to treat strained vocal cords. Take note that you can use these remedies if you only have strained vocal cords because of vocal abuse. If your condition is not severe, you may want to try the home-remedies below:

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  1. 1
    Water.
    Like I said, drinking plenty of water can reduce the uneasiness and swelling sensation of the vocal cords. This can also wash out bacteria in the throat.
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  2. 2
    Apple cider vinegar.
    You could also try mixing a tsp. of apple cider vinegar with 4 ounces of water to treat strained vocal cords. This should be drank an hour for seven consecutive hours during the day. Repeat procedure after seven hours. Do not consume too much apple cider vinegar for it can cause adverse effects.
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  3. 3
    Honey.
    A honey has all the helpful benefits one is looking for. It can also treat strained vocal cords. To use honey as treatment for strained vocal cords, you just have to consume a tbsp. of honey every day. This will help soothe strained vocal cords. Or, you can add two tbsp. of honey, a squeeze of lemon, and one-tenth tsp. of cayenne pepper into a glass of water. Stir the ingredients and drink. This can clear away mucus in the throat and help you speak comfortably.
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  4. 4
    Vegetables and fruits salad.
    You can also make vegetables and fruits salad. These have full of nutrients that can help you treat strained vocal cords. Avoid dairy products and sweet foods, because these can cause more mucus buildup in the throat.
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  5. 5
    Onion syrup.
    Gargling onion syrup can also treat strained vocal cords. To make your own onion syrup, you just have to chop bulbs of onion and place them all into a pan. Fill the pan with water, and make sure that the water is enough to cover the onions. Simmer for 20 minutes or so until it looks thick and gooey. Strain the liquid into a clean jar, and then add 6 tablespoons of warm water. You can add some juices of lemon into it and serve.
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Tips

  • Home remedies and self-medications can be utilized to ease the strained vocal cords. However, one cannot really determine the real cause of the painful sensation of the vocal cords. To know the possible cause and the right treatment for the strained vocal cords, you should go see a doctor for diagnosis. If the strained vocal cords are not severe, then you may want to do some home-remedies and self-medications to treat it.
  • If you have problems with any of these steps, ask a question for more help, or post in the comments section below.
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Categories : Voice Lessons & Tips

Recent edits by: Doug Collins, Ermin, Robbi

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