Alexandra Sampaio is a speech therapist in Belo Horizonte, Brazil.

What could cause someone to feel constant pain in the throat, even when the throat is not infected?

A person who constantly feels pain in the throat is probably abusing his/her throat and not realizing it. Talking too loud, screaming, talking nonstop for a long time, and breathing inadequately are factors that may cause such pain.

When we are tired and tense, we have a tendency to bend forward. This posture makes the diaphragm (one of the muscles that supports proper breathing) move with difficulty.

Observe your posture and try to relax the muscles around your neck and shoulders. If needed, apply a warm towel or heating pad to these areas. This will help the muscles relax. 

Practice a light sport such as walking or hydrogymnastics and avoid activities such as body-building and martial arts that may overload the shoulders and neck.

I can’t sing because my throat itches and I start coughing.

Lack of water or insufficient water damages the voice. Drink eight glasses of water each day and check to see if your urine is light-colored and your saliva is not too thick. Eat more fruit, especially citrus. Try to control your cough by drinking water every time you want to cough (always carry a water bottle).

I have been teaching for five years. It is hard not to talk loudly, and sometimes I even scream.

Teachers should take care of their voices. It would be best to use a microphone in the classroom; if that is not possible, use new strategies such as asking students to present their work or dividing the class into small groups and explaining the subject separately for each group. Students often talk during class, so the teacher has to compete for their attention. Unfortunately, the voice does not tolerate so much effort and gets irritated. Don’t talk at the same time your students do.

Pray and ask God to give you creativity to plan classes attractively without having to scream.

My voice is getting worse every day. It’s gotten to the point where, for a few minutes, my voice disappears completely because I talked too loud or screamed.

It is not normal to lose your voice, even for a short period of time. When you lose your voice, are you anxious or nervous? Our voices reveal a lot about us. Evaluating the connection between our voices and our emotions can be very helpful. 

I’m allergic to perfume; it irritates my throat.

Allergy is another factor that can damage the voice. Discover the cause of the allergy and try to eliminate it. The air we breathe goes through our vocal cords, and if that air is not pure and healthy, it may irritate the nose and walls of the larynx, damaging the voice. A good alternative is to wash the nose with saline nasal spray, use a vaporizer, and gargle with warm salt water (one teaspoon of salt for each cup of water).

My dental arch is crooked, and my teeth press against my tongue, which makes speech difficult. I’ve had braces, but they didn’t help. The problem could be corrected with surgery, but it is costly and I can’t afford it.

Look for a speech therapist to treat your case; he or she could tell you more specifically what to do. You could also go to a school of dentistry that treats cases such as yours at no cost.

I hope these suggestions help you, but don’t forget to seek an ear, nose, and throat specialist. These physicians are qualified to perform exams that may aid in getting a more precise diagnosis.

Alexandra Sampaio
Speech therapist in Belo Horizonte, Brazil