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Posts Tagged ‘spasmodic dysphonia’

Not only a great amount of people are losing voices these days, but also a lot of them are experiencing severe pain in their throats.

Before, we had complaints, primarily from singers; but more and more, just regular people (speakers) are complaining on extreme discomfort in their vocal box in general. 

The singers are usually ruining their vocal anatomy simply for the lack of education and simple knowledge; and thus, lack of the proper vocal technique. They very often end up with laryngitis, i.e., with the hoarse and raspy voice; not to mention an extreme pain in their throats. The singers (also very often) end up with the growth on their vocal cord(s); such as polyps, nodules, cysts and etc.

The regular people who do not take proper care of their voice and (in majority of times) their health in general, usually end up with muscle tension dysphonia or spasmodic dysphonia. Nevertheless, they (of course) are also susceptible to the growth on their vocal cords, but more like papilloma and polyps. They are also very susceptible to lesions in their throats, as well as burnt vocal cords due to the occurrence of acid reflux.

Unfortunately, both speakers and singers are also not exempt from vocal cord(s) paralysis/paresis.


Naturally, there is physical pain (to whichever degree for whichever vocal injury); but also, there is an emotional pain, as both speakers and singers realize that something out of the ordinary is happening to them and their voices. And, especially at the beginning of this ordeal, they feel quite lost, not knowing what to do and where to get help.

Our philosophy at The Royans Institute for Non-Surgical Voice Repair is “All Voice – No pain”!


Once we uncover and discover (in a manner of speaking) the injured voice, we (via special speech exercises, coupled with specially designed body motions) try, at all costs, to release the “trapped” voice from its vocal anatomy “prison”, (so to speak). Especially in the case of Muscle Tension Dysphonia (where neck muscles literally hold the voice in ‘contempt’), the voice, nevertheless, has to be “yanked” out of there, which is (no doubt) easier said then done.

The neck muscles are “truly in love” with the human voice and even when my client and I think that the voice is finally “flying” out of there, it is like a swamp, “calling” it and literally “pulling” it back in.


Sometimes, the recurrence of the above happens multiple times.

Once the voice is finally released from the lower throat and the neck muscles, the pain usually subsides and the sufferer feels a great release; and not only physically, but emotionally as well.

Now the human voice has to find a “new home”  – the facial muscles!

Those facial cavities will become a real saviour for anybody who had voice issues and everybody else who cares about their speaking/singing voice in general. Those (in a sense) sinus cavities will amplify the voice at least quadruple times over its volume; and naturally, will promote a proper articulation and enunciation. However, without the support of the abdominal muscles, the lift of the voice is not possible.

Therefore, the abdominal muscles have to be strengthened to be able to give a proper “launch” for the voice to “soar” to its aimed destination, provided that the sound lands within those facial muscles. At that point, the voice within the newly found facial muscles will be working in full conjunction and coordination with the abdominal muscles. The above (in turn) will minimize the use of the throat, larynx and the vocal cords.


To Conclude, there will be “All Gain and No Pain”, i.e., by osmosis, “All Voice and No Pain”, as (at that point) the vocal anatomy will be completely released from the pressure of the sound; and, in addition, nurtured with natural herbal and homeopathic remedies for its complete healing.

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Does anybody know…?

Does anybody care for that matter…?

Vocal Science… The Best or…Nothing.

 

Quite often, people who require voice repair have some other health problems to start with. These health problems could be a trigger to voice loss, or any kind of voice issues.

Sadly enough, our Canadian singer Gord Downie has recently been diagnosed with Terminal Brain Cancer; and peculiarly enough, the tumor is apparently located near the speech center of his brain…

I am not a doctor; though it makes me wonder weather or not his not exactly adequate singing (in my subjective professional opinion) and, understandably, a lifestyle of a rocker (which usually comes with the territory), has anything to do with it?

This is just speculation on the matter, but it probably has some merit.

Let’s also examine a very serious disorder called Spasmodic Dysphonia:

I personally call it “Vocal Epilepsy”, as the voice of the sufferer spasms uncontrollably. The disease, in its nature, is neurological. It, quite likely, could be environmental. However, viruses such as Strep Throat, for example, could also trigger it. It happens a lot to people who, in their nature, are very emotional; also to those who speak very fast and very loud and whose lifestyles are very poor.

So between the environmental causes, air-born viruses and smocking, drinking and drug use, spasmodic dysphonia could easily occur.

Last year, I got an email from a person who was originally diagnosed with Muscle Tension Dysphonia. With this type of Dysphonia, the sufferers’ voice gets trapped in their neck muscles. That usually happens to speakers and singers.

That type of dysphonia is very rarely induced by viruses or environmental causes. It simply occurs due to misuse and abuse of one’s voice (speaking or singing). If left untreated, it may easily turn into Spasmodic Dysphonia.

The person who wrote to me last year revealed that she has now been diagnosed with Spasmodic Dysphonia. Speaking with that person on the phone, I had determined that I possibly could have improved her condition to a degree, but definitely would not be able to cure it. In fact, such a disorder as Spasmodic Dysphonia is generally considered un-curable. However, if it’s still in a mild form (stage one or two) it could be treated to a near-full recovery. So, in the case of the person first diagnosed with Muscle Tension Dysphonia a year prior, the Spasmodic Dysphonia disorder could have been prevented if the former was timely treated.

There is another category of people who, instead of expressing their emotions out loud, just simply suppress them. In the holistic teaching, the thyroid (the gland/cartilage in the neck that secretes hormones regulating growth and development) represents suppressed emotions and hurts.  If those emotions are suppressed for too long, the voice gradually begins to drown to the lower throat, then to the chest and could practically “die”  at the person’s gut, so to speak.

All of that brings us to a “full picture” which points out to a complete imbalance within.

So all of this means that if the person is too loud and too emotional, he or she could easily experience voice loss.

On the other hand, if the emotions are suppressed, the person could also easily lose their voice.

Moreover, in both cases, they could acquire such disorders like Muscle Tension Dysphonia or even Spasmodic Dysphonia. Partial loss of speech could also be a symptom of a pre-stroke condition, or even a Lou Gehrig’s decease (ALS).

To conclude: All of this is obviously not a joke; and the moral of the latter is that you should keep yourself in perfect balance. That will prevent you from all kinds of health problems; especially those that could lead to serious voice issues.

Best of voice and best of health in general to all of you!

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Recently, we had an inquiry from a singer situated in Europe who had been diagnosed with Spasmodic Dysphonia.

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“I was diagnosed with spasmodic dysphonia, and the doctor wanted to give me Botox injections, but I refused because the risk of not being able to sing well afterwards (I am a singer) was too great! So my question is, Can you help me get my voice or a better voice back? Is it possible to get instructions via Skype. I live in Amsterdam, the Netherlands!”

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Below is my answer.

Hi There,

I have to note that it is a little unusual to be diagnosed with spasmodic dysphonia, when you are a singer. Usually, it happens to people who are not singers, but just regular (or professional) speaking voice users.

But, nevertheless, it is a very serious problem and in conventional sense, cannot be treated, let alone cured. And yes, the only treatment they could offer is the Botox, which in majority of cases, will not work or will work temporarily and for a very short period of time.

In any case, it is not a solution. The problem is clearly mechanical. The mechanics of voice performance has to be put in place, which by itself is an incredibly complicated process.

Needless to say, you will have to be in front of me IN PERSON. There is no other way!!! There is a lot involved, especially with a disorder like this. Your whole body has to be put in balance, and then your vocal anatomy has to be cleaned up and strengthened.

Ultimately, your whole being has to be restructured.

Your vocal box has to be rebuilt and cleansed from such impurities like mucus and gastric acid. Concurrently, your voice has to be lifted off of the vocal box, off of the vocal cords and re-channeled to the alternative muscles (your facial muscles/cavities). Those muscles also have to be strong enough to accept the power of the sound, just like the person who wants to build their body and who needs, for that matter, to have strong cavities where the muscles will be able to come in and stay in.

Those facial muscles will have to be put to work in full conjunction and coordination with the abdominal muscles, which will play the role of the sound support during the lift and structure. For example: The upper diaphragm muscles will assure the width and the body of the sound, whereas the lower abdomen muscles will be responsible for the height of the sound.

I can assure you that, once lifted; the spasms of the voice will be significantly reduced and eventually eliminated. As you probably already understand while reading the above, that to do it remotely would be out of the question.

I am planning to travel to the UK within the next couple of months to teach and repair voices. It is only about a one-hour flight from you to London. I travel to clients very often and just came back from Dallas, Texas. In 2015, I was working out of the UK a few times. I have been in Amsterdam momentarily and would not also mind to come to you there.

Obviously, it will not be a cheap endeavor. But if you are serious about fixing your speaking and singing voice and learn how to sing professionally with no pain and strain in your vocal anatomy, this is your chance.

However, before committing myself for anything like that, I need to hear your voice over the phone to be sure that I could achieve the results we are both looking for.

So, if the above is OK with you, please e-mail me back and we will schedule a phone call to determine if we could work together.

 

That’s all for now.

Best regards,

Diana Yampolsky B.M. Ed.

World-renowned Voice Repair Specialist

Specializing in Extreme Voice Disorder Cases.

Alternative and holistic approach to voice mechanics.

The Royans Professional Vocal School

Division of The Royans Institute for Non-Surgical Voice Repair

www.vocalscience.com

www.repairyourvoice.com

416-857-8741

077 88 98 9319 while in the UK

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There have been more and more requests I have been getting about how to obtain herbal and homeopathic remedies, which (preferably, in an instant) will “fix the voice”. Majority of the voice problem sufferers were told by their ENT specialists that they have acid reflux or some form of muscle tension dysphonia.

In some cases, they were right. But in some cases, they were completely incorrect. But even if they were correct, they still had nothing to offer to their distraught and disillusioned patients.

The patients, of course, were prescribed some medications like Gaviscon or Zentax, (not to mention medications for relaxation..?), but after a while of taking the prescribed medications, their vocal (and now, even emotional and psychological problem) still remained the same or had become even worse.

After a year or two of this ordeal, they have gotten quite disappointed and discouraged by the incompetence of their medical professionals. However, even after all of this, the voice sufferers were still unable to understand that, in majority of cases, their voice/vocal problem had been, more so, a mechanical issue; therefore, no pills, (including the “magic” ones), would not be able to help in that ordeal.

However, if the mechanical part of the voice function is taking care of, the specific kind of natural herbs and homeopathic remedies will play a very essential role in voice restoration and recovery.

In a nutshell, if the voice is lifted off of the vocal box and off of the vocal cords, the bottom of the vocal anatomy is now released from the pressure of the sound and is then free to receive proper remedies which will clear out the bottom of the vocal box (lower throat) from all of the impurities such as acid, mucus and whatnot. So the “instrument” via herbs and homeopathic remedies, is now cleaned up and “tuned-up”, so to speak.

Now it is up to the “player” to remember not to misuse and abuse the vocal anatomy, but maintain the proper voice/vocal technique, which is much more efficient and safe, when the sound is approached from the facial muscles’ cavities, which now have begun to work in full conjunction and coordination with the abdominal muscles, amplifying the sound 4 times over and minimizing (and practically eliminating), the use of the throat, larynx and vocal cords.

If the same herbs and homeopathic remedies are taken without this type of instruction, (which suggests the latter voice application), those remedies could, at best, reduce some symptoms, but never will cure the problem. The reduction of symptoms could fool a lot of people, as now they are happy because their pain is, somewhat, eased-off and they are under the impression that all of their voice/vocal problems are behind them.

Therefore, we never recommend starting taking herbs in advance of our non-surgical voice repair courses. It is also, in a very unlikely occurrence, those natural remedies could set up a minor flu-like reaction.

Therefore, we prefer that our non-surgical voice repair clients would start taking those herbs in our presence, so we could supervise and educate our clients about those remedies; the dosages of taking them and also the time and compatibility of certain remedies intake.

We even include the actual herbal kit in our tuition fees, as we are treating these “gifts from God” herbal products as a very valuable supplement to our very invaluable unique vocal instruction.

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It sounds completely absurd, doesn’t it? Believe it or not, in some cases, it is completely true. At first, when the person gets diagnosed with any kind of voice problems, they become devastated, then frustrated; after that, depressed and then, believe it or not, they get used to it and, in some cases, they truly embrace it.

They have no other choice, you may exclaim!

Yes, partially you are right, my reader.  They have to embrace it and get into balance to be able to deal with their voice issues accordingly and promptly. However, a lot of people, after conducting a short search, give up on getting better and soon give up on even claiming their life back.  Moreover, they discover support groups where they get “support”, but not how to fix their voice problem, but how to learn to live with it; and yes, “love” it.

So now, they are caught in a catch 22 situation, so to speak.

They have found, so called support, from group members.

They also seem to have found emotional support from their family members and friends. Everybody is feeling sorry for them and expressing their sympathy. And before they know it, they, very quickly, get use to it. Then, sometime down the road, they discover the real help, which could actually suggest and lead them, in majority of cases, to the full recovery of their normal, or even better voice then they originally owned.

And then, believe it or not, instead of getting excited, they are getting scared. . ?

Of what, you may ask?

The answer is; they are afraid of taking action towards becoming better and conquering their voice issues.

And why?

Because once they are back to normal, they might lose the attention of those who originally were expressing their sympathy and feeling sorry for them. They got use to it and they do not want to lose it.

Having a voice disorder, they feel, somewhat “special” and expect special treatment by the people surrounding them.

I am just going to give you one example from my 40+ years of practice dealing with all sorts of people with and without vocal disorders, issues or problems.

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About a couple of years ago, a young girl of 26 years of age, walked into my studio/clinic with a horrible voice disorder known as muscle tension dysphonia. She hardly could speak and told me in despair that she used to be a medical assistant for ophthalmologists. When she lost her voice due to her very erratic behavior, (smoking, drinking, drugs and loud late night parties), she was let go from her position, as she could no longer communicate with the clients.

At that point, she was collecting employment insurance.

Nevertheless, I offered a huge discount for my non-surgical voice repair program, consisting of psychological counseling, diet and nutrition counseling, my unique voice instruction coupled with certain body movements which help to lift the voice off of the injured area (the neck muscles and the vocal box); and lastly, natural herbal and homeopathic treatments to heal the throat flora by also removing all of the impurities (like acid and mucus) from the bottom of the throat.

After I explained to her all of this, which took about 2 hours, she left with no charge from my side and with tears in her eyes and promise that she will be back as soon as possible to take me up on my generous offer.

Sometime after, she called a couple of times, arranged appointments and payment schedules, and never showed up once. Eventually, after about a year and a half from our initial meeting, she called again and now said that she is definitely coming to pay me and pick up a set of herbs so she could start her instruction and treatment with me almost right away.

She showed up a couple of times; each time late for at least an hour or longer.

She did half of the instruction, as she always had to go somewhere; and also she was, according to her, feeling tired. Out of 10 hours she arranged with me, she took only a maximum of 6 hours in total, which she had stretched for over a year period of time and canceled her appointments with me, at least 10 times in the process.

Then she disappeared for another year and, as usual, being apologetic and blaming herself, she almost “swore on the bible” that this time around, she would finish her remaining hours, as she wanted to go back to work. (All this time, she was collecting government assistance and gotten used to staying up late and getting up at 3:00PM).

Nevertheless, by now, she was loving it all the way.

However,  (not being stupid, by far), she intellectually knew that it was all wrong and she should get better and get back to her normal life. She also kept confirming that I was her one and only vehicle to bring her to victory.

By now, it is shooting close to 3 years from the beginning of this ordeal. She contacted me at the beginning of this year again and promised to restart the program with me no later then, now, past April/May.

Ever since then, I have not heard from her for about 8 or 9 months.

Go figure!

She is in her late 20s by now and, as far as I am concerned, her young life is ruined. She fell in love with her present lifestyle on a physical and psychological level and constantly fighting with her intellectual understanding of the matter.

However, it does not prosper her forward and frankly, I don’t think that it ever will.

How sad is that?

To conclude: Please don’t get used to your voice disabilities.

Please don’t fall in love with it and with the newfound “lifestyle”.  The longer you are in it, the harder it will be to snap out of it.

And if you don’t, it will be a complete waste of your, once precious, life.

I have numerous examples of that happening which I will reiterate to you in my future upcoming blogs.

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Lately I attract more and more voice repair clients who have problems with speech and not necessarily with singing.

Some of them have been suffering for two or even three decades with diagnosis’s like muscle tension dysphonia (MTD), spasmodic dysphonia, vocal cords burned with acid reflux and many other voice issues.

None of them were able to get any meaningful help from medical doctors or even specialists and let alone from speech therapists.

Some of my clients have seen numerous speech therapists who offered them to blow into a kazoo, blow into a straw to a glass of water, and yawn with an excessive sigh!

According to those speech therapists the muscles on their patients’ necks and their vocal cords for that matter will get relaxed and that’s how all of their vocal issues will be solved … ???

In my humble opinion, all of those manipulations are completely obsolete, useless, and counter-productive.

By following the above, nothing meaningful can be produced except the dry throat, more strained vocal cords, and more frustration for the voice repair sufferer.

A lot of my clients reveal to me that they felt like hostages being (nevertheless) tortured and by that had achieved nothing but more pain and more disappointment.

Some of them were asked to produce loud noises and when they refused to do so, they were scolded and told that they were very quick to give up on their so-called advanced treatment.

In my practice, I have also received people whose vocal disorder were not very obvious at the glance.

Those particular people had no growth on their vocal cords like nodes, nodules or polyps, they simply had strained their vocal cords, drowned their voices in a very low neck and chest position, and thus, in some cases, they have acquired a mild muscle tension dysphonia condition.

Needless to say, that their necks and shoulders are usually very painful, and that, in turn, affects their ability to speak without any pain or strain.

However, since there are no obvious damage being presented to the ENT doctors or speech therapists, the patients have been labeled with the unthinkable – “It’s all in your head and there is nothing wrong with your voice.”

In some cases, they have been thrown out of the doctors and speech therapists offices!

How sad is that?

The patient is blamed for the crime he/she never committed, so to speak.

The voice sufferer is “punished” for the medical “professionals” inadequacy in the aforementioned field!

Evidently the so-called medical professionals have no insight on how to provide help to these poor voice problem sufferers.

The voice, in a manner of speaking, had drowned and needs to be recovered.

Some of my clients in the past were advised not to speak for six months or even longer to give their voice a rest.

By the time they were trying to speak again, they had nothing but hiss and whisper!

If the car’s engine is broken, by putting the car in the garage “to rest”, it will not fix the car’s mechanical problems.

Similarly, if you don’t revive the drowned person back to life, the person will die.

Given all that, needless to say, if the mechanics of voice and the surrounding muscles like neck, shoulders, chest and proper posture overall is not fixed, the voice sufferer will never acquire their normal – needless to say –  improved voice back.

The tedious and very intense work required (overall) where the integration and synergy of the intellectual understanding is coupled with the patient’s motor skills and the employment of methods of visualization. All of the above will be necessary in order to achieve (if not a complete vocal recovery) but a much improved voice condition; not to mention, a much better psychological state of mind and a vastly improved physical condition of one’s body.

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Should you just work on your physical body, or should you just work on your voice?

The answer is: NONE of the above mentioned choices are right!

As per usual, I am receiving multiple e-mails from all over the world.

90% of those e-mails consist of quite long letters with all kinds of stories, primarily about the voice problems these individuals have been experiencing. The majority of them possess the notion that if something is wrong with their voice i.e. it sounds hoarse, their throat hurts and feels scratchy, they have excessive mucus in their throats and some have already been diagnosed with acid reflux, muscle tension dysphonia, and whatnot; it must be happening only on a physical level.

They do not realize that the majority of vocal issues become present because of the misuse of the vocal mechanics (speaking or singing). However, you cannot dismiss either of the above. If the physical body is already out of whack, so to speak, the wrong mechanics of the voice will reinforce all of the physical imperfections.

If the person is not exactly mentally and physically fit, it will surface that much stronger when the person’s voice will get drowned to the lower position; and thus will attract the mucus and gastric acid to the vocal box and the vocal cords in particular.

As sad as it sounds, when the speaker or singer is experiencing the symptoms of a raspy and hoarse voice, they run to the doctor just to be labeled with either acid reflux or muscle tension dysphonia, especially if no growth like nodules or polyps are present.

They are offered something like Gaviscon which you could buy over the counter and which could assist with the minor stomach trouble, but definitely has not much to do with fixing the voice, or even getting acid reflux off of the vocal box.

Once (mechanically speaking) the voice is flat and sits low in the position, no Gaviscon, or any other remedy, will get it out of there, unless the voice is physically recovered, lifted and restructured to the different set of muscles.

Once the voice finds its new “home” at the upper facial cavities, the surface of the vocal box will be released from the pressure of the sound; and thus will become available to except natural herbal and homeopathic remedies, which actually will aid a great deal to the damaged vocal anatomy.

What does it tell us?

It tells us that the remedies alone, (even the natural ones), will not be able to solve the vocal disorder on its own. It also tells us that to work on the vocal mechanics would be much easier if the vocal box would be lubricated, the vocal cords would be strengthened and all of the impurities, (like mucus and acid), will be eliminated.

So, one more time again, we are back to the holistic approach to vocal mechanics and overall to the human being.

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