Throat Pain with Fibromyalgia – A Moderate to Severe Symptom of Fibro

Voice Problems with Fibromyalgia

Throat pain and voice problems are symptoms of moderate to severe fibromyalgia that isn’t mentioned much during conversations about fibro.

When they’re compared to the widespread pain and fatigue that most fibro patients experience, perhaps it’s not thought of as a distressing symptom, yet losing my voice has been devastating for me. I wish fibro patients talked about this embarrassing and painful symptom more often.

I experience throat pain and a hoarse voice and sore throat with fibromyalgia almost constantly, but especially if I’m in a lot of pain and really exhausted. This symptom resulted in me losing a 20-year career as a classically trained vocalist. It has been devastating to lose the one thing I’ve cherished above all else since I first began singing at age 5 – my voice.

I’ve been singing on stages all my life. (My first performance on stage was at age 5 at Carembeck Public School.)

The day I knew that my voice was gone for good was at Taiwan’s Canada Day 150 Celebration in Taipei in 2017.

As an event organizer for that day, I had to be on stage greeting our special guests and the 8,000 attendees that showed up to party that day. We had live music going on all day, and the event culminated with a final performance from the Canadian All-Stars, a band that I was singing with that night. I got through our opening remarks and Oh Canada at 4:30pm. I led everyone in singing Canada’s national anthem and I was fine, but after finishing my welcome speech, I could feel that tell-tale tingling in my throat saying that it was thinking about not cooperating with me for the rest of the night.

As I stood on stage at 8pm that night looking out across a football field crammed full of people, I knew it was going to be one of my last performances.

Taiwan - Canada Day Celebration
A terrible photo, but what else can you expect with a crowd this size?

I had no idea that the voice problems I was having at the time were due to fibromyalgia, and I didn’t tell anyone about it although I’m sure the squeaks and hoarse dips in my voice were becoming more apparent with each passing year.

Every time I had opened my mouth to sing that year, I had no idea what was going to come out. Was my natural alto belter voice going to come through for me, or was squeaky, hoarse Carrie going to emerge?

After rocking through several songs including Ironic by Alanis Morisette, I was halfway through Hallelujah when my voice started going. I hoped that no one could hear me and that my band mates could cover for me.

When I heard the performance afterwards, I was crushed. Absolutely crushed. It didn’t sound like me at all. And that is when I decided to retire from singing.

I did two more short performances after that big day and both times, I barely made it through. I did it, but lost my voice for days afterwards.

I was able to record a short video this past week in March 2021 that shows my voice going from ok to completely gone several times during the video. Check it out:

Naturally, when one loses something important to them, they tend to do some research and that’s when I started bringing it up in my fibromyalgia support groups. Other patients agreed with me and resource articles have been shared at the bottom of this post.

Here are some replies I received from Twitter about this question:


If you’re new to my site, let me briefly explain that fibromyalgia is a chronic pain disease that causes long-lasting chronic (and often intractable pain) that affects many parts of the body.

Patients like me can experience tenderness that occurs when we’re touched or when we experience pressure on our muscles, joints, and skin. I also experience numbness, burning (paresthesia) and pins and needles in my limbs, especially my legs, feet, and upper arms.

Other symptoms include:

  • unrelieved exhaustion and sleep problems
  • migraine, headaches, back and neck pain,
  • memory impairment and with brain fog
  • depression, anxiety, and more

People with fibromyalgia often report additional types of pain, including headaches, back and neck pain, sore throat, pain or clicking in the jaw (temporomandibular joint dysfunction), and stomach pain or digestive disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome.

Sep 18, 2020 Fibromyalgia: MedlinePlus Genetics
https://medlineplus.gov › Genetics › Genetic Conditions

Fibromyalgia can occur on its own or with other chronic pain conditions such as ankylosing spondylitis, psoriatic arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus, and more

But what has happened to my voice is most surprising to me in terms of unexpected symptoms.

Throat Pain with Fibromyalgia – I never dreamed I'd lose my voice to a disease that also robbed me of the freedom to move and the freedom to live without pain. Click To Tweet

Fibromyalgia causes muscle pain and it’s not uncommon for my muscles to tighten and then stay that way for a while before I become conscious of my body tightening up. I have to work hard at getting my muscles to relax. When it happens in my face and head, it results in debilitating chronic migraine and tight throat muscles which cause my sinus cavity to back up with fluid.

READ:  Pacing For Pain Management [Updated 2021]

This results in postnasal drip even though my nose is always dry. Instead, I have a hacking cough and a sore throat almost all the time.

I also experience ear problems because of this. My sinus problems and clogged itchy ears were major indicators that fibromyalgia and AS were wreaking havoc in the most unexpected of places.

Coping with Throat Pain with Fibromyalgia

Honestly, I have no tips for you except to take care of yourself and try not to strain your voice. I limit how much time I spend on the phone and how much talking I do. If my voice goes hoarse, the only thing that will help is rest.

Stay hydrated!

As for me, who knows if this will be with me for life or if I’ll get the chance to sing again?


Additional reading and resources for throat pain with fibromyalgia:

Health Unlocked forum for patient discussion on Fibromyalgia Action UK: Voice disorder and throat pain

Voice disorder in patients with Fibromyalgia – Science Direct

Fibromyalgia impairs perceived voice quality either in patient self evaluated or in clinician evaluated rating scales. Furthermore, the results confirm that Fibromyalgia caused short maximum phonation time and low voice intensity. This study is the first report with regards to voice evaluation in Fibromyalgia and in order to make a generalization further researches are needed.

VOICE DISORDER IN PATIENTS WITH FIBROMYALGIA
PUB MED ARTICLE AND RESEARCH

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Post Author: Carrie Kellenberger

I'm a chronically ill Canadian who has been living in Asia since 2003. I moved from China to Taiwan in 2006. I'm an experienced businesswoman and have worked in many leadership positions in Asia. In addition to my own work, I've been writing professionally about Asia, travel and health advocacy since 2007, providing regular content to publishing companies and travel publications in Asia and North America. I started writing about my health journey in 2009 after being diagnosed with Ankylosing Spondylitis. In 2014, I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia and ME/CFS, which came with other massive health issues. These diagnoses were the start of my journey as a health advocate and patient leader. Since then, My Several Worlds has been recognized worldwide as a top site for AS, fibromyalgia, and chronic illness by WEGO Health and Healthline.

4 thoughts on “Throat Pain with Fibromyalgia – A Moderate to Severe Symptom of Fibro

    Claire

    (March 27, 2021 - 8:31 pm)

    I don’t ever lose my voice, but I have what I suspect is burning throat syndrome. Something I have meant to follow up for some time, but other things took priority. I always wondered if it was linked to fibro or not.

      Carrie Kellenberger

      (March 29, 2021 - 4:35 pm)

      It’s so interesting to see this come up and it’s typically mentioned casually. I was able to film it today and caught a good example of what happens with my voice. I didn’t do anything ahead of time and was not overusing my voice, as usual, so I hope people can relate to the video. (And not judge my hair or morning appearance! LOL!)

    Sheryl

    (March 29, 2021 - 10:10 pm)

    This is so sad, especially knowing that you were (are!) a professional singer. It’s like losing a piece of you. Thank you for sharing and advocating though. You are one brave lady x

    Katie Clark

    (March 30, 2021 - 3:42 am)

    Interesting. I do get mouth sores and a scratchy, irritated throat. But, I attributed it to dry mouth. I did have sore throat and loss of voice before I went dairy free, though. I’m glad you’ve brought attention to this issue.

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