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Ear, Nose, and Throat Disorders

Throat injury

05/08/2009

Question:

I was lifting 250lbs of weights recently without a spotter and unfortunatley lost strengh and the weights pressed on my neck choaking me. I was able to use my shoulder to push the weight off, however I would up with a sore throat with mild pain for about 10 days. I am a singer, and am not able to sing higher notes. I had a scope of my throat from an ENT that identified not blockage but a lot of swelling. The pain has subsided after 10 days, however I am still not able to sing as I used to. I have had a Cat Scan of the soft next tissue, and am awaiting results. I also will have a vocal cord strobe next week.

I did ot have any bleeding, but my am wondering if this is permanent damage, and if not how long it might take to have my singing voice to return.

Thank you

Answer:

I do not believe your problem is permanent.  I guess the best way to think about it is to compare this to an athletic injury.  Since you lift weights this should help.

If you pull a hamstring or sprain an ankle there is some injury to muscles, tendons or ligaments.  You will not probably be able to perform at the same level as before the injury until you heal.  Similarly, if I got it right, you hurt your neck muscles when the weight fell on you.  While the pain may have resolved in 10 days, there may still be some healing of the neck muscles.  As you know, singing requires very intricate action by the vocal cords in coordination with the muscles in your neck.  If the system is not completely in sync, you will not sound your best.

My advice to you is to make sure you warm up your voice before you sing, get your strobe next week to make sure there is no serious damage to your larynx and, if necessary, consider some voice therapy. 

Good luck with this problem.

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Response by:

Keith M Wilson, MD Keith M Wilson, MD
Associate Professor of Otolaryngology, Director of Head and Neck Division
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati