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Muscle Tension Dysphonia

What is it?
Muscle tension dysphonia is the result of excessive laryngeal (voice box) or paralaryngeal (adjacent to the voice box) muscle use causing dysphonia.  Patients often have a strained quality to the voice and may experience pain (odynophonia) and fatigue with excessive voice use.  Muscle tension is a muscle-misuse condition, which means that there may be no other structural problems.  However, sometimes patients develop the muscle tension to compensate for an underlying structural problem, for example vocal fold nodules, polyps, or cysts.


How is it treated?
The primary treatment for muscle tension dysphonia is voice therapy.  Voice therapy targeting the relaxation of muscles and improvement in vocal efficiency can lead patients to a rehabilitated voice.  Muscle tension dysphonia resulting from another structural problem of the vocal folds typically requires treatment of the underlying disorder in addition to voice therapy.  Rarely, botulinum toxin can aid voice therapy to resolve symptoms.

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