Thyroarytenoid Tension

Can you have tension in your thyroarytenoid muscle? If so, how do you fix it?

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In this video, Voice Physio, Selina, gives you:

  • A short and sweet answer
  • The Breakdown of the why and how
  • The Solution + 2 of the most common reasons for undue muscle tension
  • A nice little recap
  • Plus a hot tip

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’Til next time, Be Free In Your Movement™.

B. Phty
This information is not medical advice. Got health concerns? Consult a real-life health professional.
Views are my own

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Can you develop tension in your thyroarytenoid muscle? And if so, how do you fix it?

I was asked this question on Instagram and thank you Hunter for this excellent question.

I will now give you the short answer, then the breakdown, the solution, a recap, and a hot tip. Ready?

So the short answer is yes and here’s the breakdown.

Your thyroarytenoid muscle is a skeletal muscle, skeletal muscles are your movement muscle, like your trapezius, your biceps, or your hamstrings, so of course it can also develop undue muscle tension.

But can you feel it like you can feel tight shoulders and tight legs?

Not really, that muscle is tiny and we don’t have that kind of hyper focused awareness on something so very small. It’s the same as how we are not aware of those tiny little muscles in our inner ear.

What you may feel is a generalised tightness in the front of your neck over your larynx, you may feel your voice being tired, that you don’t want to speak or sing anymore, or you may find that it requires more effort for you to use your voice.

Now there are plenty more signs that you have undue tension in your voicing muscles and that is a question for your speech pathologist, and speechy friends please feel free to share your wisdom with us.

So how do we fix it?

As with all musculoskeletal issues in the body, what we want to do is to figure out what’s causing it, what’s contributing to it, and address them accordingly.

And everyone will have your own unique contributing factors, and an internet video like this can NEVER give you the personalised help you need and deserve, what it allows us to do is to share general information, and what I want to share with you is the two most common reasons why people develop undue muscle tension in their body.

The first reason is a workload issue, when you are always working near your maximum capacity or exceeding your current vocal capacity, adding to that if you don’t have enough rest and recovery, that is a problematic situation.

Or you have a lot of spikes in your vocal load, that can be problematic, even going back to your normal after taking some time off, that can be problematic too, and we are in the prime time of the year right now for that kind of problems because over Christmas we take time off and then when we go back we are motivated, we’re inspired, and we just go boom, into the deep end, going you know all guns out and stuff and that trips up so many people.

In fact, that is I think the biggest reason why New Year resolution fails. When you put together too much too soon, after too little for too long, that is a very good way of giving yourself an overuse issue.

The second most common reason for people to develop undue muscle tension in their body is weakness, this is very common across your big muscles in your body, but for your voice, if you are an adult who is healthy and you use your voice regularly, this is unlikely.

It’s more likely that you have vocal inefficiency, which relates to technique, and you may have also picked up bad habits along the way and you are not aware of it, and this is definitely something you see your speech pathologist about, they will assess you and then give you exactly the right exercises you need to correct the inefficiency, and they can also give you exercises to help relax and balance your voice, just the same as physios giving you stretches to help you alleviate muscle tension.

To recap, your thyroarytenoid muscles can develop undue muscle tension. To fix it you want to figure out what’s causing it, what’s contributing to it, and address these factors. Two most common reason for people to develop undue muscle tension in their body are first a workload issue, and I have much more to say about Vocal Load Management in upcoming videos. Or it could be a weakness issue, although for your voice it is much more likely that it is a vocal inefficiency issue, and that is something you see your speech pathologist about.

And my tip for you is that if you ever have any concerns about your voice, your first port of call is always, always, your speech pathologist.

I hope this has been helpful. If you have questions for me put them in the comments, send me a DM, I’m here to help you. Until next time, Be Free In Your Movement™

Selina Asirus Tannenberg. Voice Physio


Selina Tannenberg is a Meanjin (Brisbane)-based Physiotherapist, Singer, Composer. She believes a Strong, Limber and Fit body is an under-utilised key to enhancing Vocal Efficiency and Performance so has created Voice Physio to help Singers build Strong Bodies for Singing! She publishes music under her nom de plume, Asirus, and has a pet dragon named Sk’on.

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