Home Vocal Health and Wellness

Pain in neck muscle, and dropped jaw!

RobinsRobins Pro Posts: 33
edited August 2015 in Vocal Health and Wellness
I have gotten problems with a neck muscle (just above the left collar bone).. Ive been resting from exercises for about week now (and probably going to  a doctor this week), 
I have sung a whole lot without it hurting at all so I tried exercising again today, but the pain came back fairly quickly :(:(

I feel great otherwise after exercising (voice wise) and my voice has devoloped like mad.. But this freaking pain is scary and really annoying!!

When I googled I stumbled across some stuff that Id like to ask about : 

"Some singers and teachers believe that a tight jaw can be cured by dropping it or forcing it downward. However, allowing the jaw to drop too low (or the mouth to open too widely), which some singers do in an effort to make their voices ‘project’ better or to increase the strength of the first formant, creates tension and decreases jaw mobility. It should also be noted that lowering the jaw excessively does not create more resonating space within the vocal tract. On the contrary, it narrows pharyngeal space and forces the submandibular musculature to press downward on the larynx, so natural volume is hampered and tone is distorted and becomes imbalanced."


"Singers who lower their chins or their jaws excessively may find that pressure is placed on the larynx by the submandibular muscles.
In some pedagogic practices, singers are encouraged to consciously expand the submandibular musculature because it is mistakenly assumed to 'open the throat' or widen the pharynx. Conscious efforts to spread the pharyngeal wall by outward (or external) movement of the submandibular musculature fail to produce an open throat and lead to an unpleasant, ‘throaty’ or hollow timbre. They also create tensions among muscle groups located between the mandible (jaw) and the hyoid bone, including the mylohyoid, geniohyoid, stylohyoid, hyoglossus and digastric muscles (the ‘loop muscle’, which is attached to the hyoid bone), and cause strain in the tongue and the muscle systems lodging the larynx. Furthermore, consciously expanding this region places the pharyngeal constrictors in positions unrelated to freedom in singing."


I might have misunderstood but could the "open the mouth as wide as possible (toothpick in the back of the throat)"  have cause this strain? Am I opening to wide perhaps? Im very cautious and im constantly montioring my self while practising, im not noticing any tension.. 

This is a nightmare to me as Id just like to continue the practising :(




Best Answer

Answers

  • RobinsRobins Pro Posts: 33
    (I think the muscle im having problems with is called the Sternocleidomastoid Muscle)
  • LynettejLynettej Administrator, STREAMING Volume 1 Posts: 6
    edited August 2015
    Bob is very correct. Most people "under-do" the opening of the mandible (jaw). 

    Simply stop opening your jaw quite so much if it causes you trouble.

    Though I appreciate that Karen copies and pastes things from textbooks (nothing is original or from her own experiencial proven knowledge. Neither can she demonstrate what she pastes, she doesn't really sing herself and especially notice her critical "lack of support" when she does try to sing... also she does not display any students singing either.

    I see a constant flow of vocal coaches, copying and pasting things from appoggio (opera) textbooks.

    Herein lies the problem. Most all of Pop and espcially Rock singing requires VERY different criteria for singing. 

    For example: In Karen's world, Bruno Mars would be "unnacceptable" and not safe. So would just about any other pop or rock singer (in fact she disses Whitney Houston as having dead wrong vibrato because she claims "gospel jaw".)

    This is insane.

    When combing the interent I would suggest you ask yourself one VERY important question.

    Does the vocal coach "prove" what they are saying not only with their own voice,  but also with the actual demonstrations of their students.

    Here is something I just did with my students Gabriela this past week.


    I will continue to post real examples of great contemporary singing.

    Aks them to do the same to prove what they are saying is true.

    You are welcome to post something here for me to listen to, and I will be happy to make suggestions. 
  • LynettejLynettej Administrator, STREAMING Volume 1 Posts: 6
    One more important note:

    I not only don;t believe in a tight jaw, I am dead against anything being "tight" and go out of my way to stress this (pun intended) over and over 
  • RobinsRobins Pro Posts: 33
    highmtn

    @  LynetteJ

    Hi guys--  I was abit freaked out yesterday!
     I have this  performance in front of my whole school (by christmas ) and I was hoping id be able to "finish" the 3 volumes by then (currently and proudly halfway through the 2nd:):). 
    Im starting to truly find my voice, and im seeing potential I was sure I didnt have.. 

    What Karen wrote isnt reagrded as truth on my part, my faith is fully here with the program! 
    its just that she meantioned the exact muscle Im having problems with.. 

    Im doing something weird when putting my heart in the scales (something I aint doing while singing for some reason), Im also doing something right, I have gotten zero hoarseness, fatique or strain after practising, my voice is getting stronger and stronger.. AND stronger :D

    The sternocleidomastoid muscle (karen meantioned )shouldnt be involved the way it seems to be when sing the scales, it shouldnt hurt ofcourse!! it does though , and id like nothing more than to disengage it.. 

    I shall rest! and follow the advise given here.. and also upload something later.. 

    Btw Your version of shine is a search light.  Thanks for spreading so much good!


    Shanti

    --Robin :-)





  • RobinsRobins Pro Posts: 33
    @highmtn

    @ LynetteJ



                                                                     
  • Ken TamplinKen Tamplin Administrator, Moderator Posts: 444
    edited October 2013


    Hi Robin, the post was actually from me (Ken).  Lynette is my assistant and I sometimes use her laptop to answer questions, and forget to log out of her account and log into mine when posting.

    Sorry if my e-mail seemed curt, I just have dealt with sooo many people in the bel canto world that always scare people into telling them what they can't do and never provide any real evidence and example for what they can do. Karen is one of them.

    ESPECIALLY when it comes to ANY kind of grit, compression or growing of chest voice.

    I would be happy to give you an evaluation of what exactly is going on.

    The sternocleidomastoid is a long muscle in the side of the neck that extends up from the thorax to the base of the skull behind the ear. When the sternocleidomastoid on one side contracts, the face is turned to the opposite side. When both muscles contract, the head is bent toward the chest. If the immovable end is fixed in position by other muscles, it can raise the sternum (breastbone) - an action which aids in forceful inhalation of air. There are MANY reasons issues with the sternocleidomastoid.

    This is why I continuously emphasize over and over to "shake off the stress" from the chest neck and throat.
    The reason fro this is that the sternocleidomastoid, or SCM, muscle originates on the sternum and attaches to the clavicle, or collarbone, and the mastoid process of the temporal bone, on the back of the skull. You have one SCM on each side of your neck and the muscle controls lateral flexion --- tilting your head --- and rotation --- turning your head left and right. Sudden movements, such as whiplash, can cause SCM (as well as a herniated disc, etc, etc.

    Functional Symptoms

    You may feel a dull pain along the path of the injury, accompanied by a sharp pain when turning or tilting your head, or experience stiffness, muscle fatigue and difficulty holding your head upright. Wearing a neck brace supports the weight of your head, and relieves the pressure on your SCM muscle. Over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, NSAIDs, and analgesic rubs can relieve some of the pain associated with the strain, according to MayoClinic.com.

    Systemic Symptoms

    You may experience headaches, especially at the SCM attachment point on the base of the skull. Other symptoms include ringing in the ears, dizziness and blurred vision. The pain and difficulty moving your head can disrupt your sleep, which can lead to irritability and fatigue, as well as memory problems and difficulty concentrating. Wearing a neck brace will support your head while you sleep, and NSAIDs and ice packs can relieve the swelling and pain. You also can try sleeping on your back with a rolled towel under your neck instead of a pillow to support the natural curve.

    Talk to a Dr. if you experience pain, numbness or tingling radiating down one or both arms and muscle weakness in your arms or shoulders. While it may be difficult to move your head, talk to your doctor if you are unable to move your head at all, or if the pain worsens over time.

    I highly doubt you are in any kind of advanced stage of SCM, it sounds like you are just either training too much or not relaxing, using your abdomen to do the work.

    Make sure that when you are working out you are looking straight on. not to the not "up" this is very important. Also monitor the fron of your neck. Do you see veins buldging? This should not be the case either..

    After you gig I suggest 3-5 days off, then come back at it again with a fresh approach to be very careful about how much tension is mounting. This info should really help you.

    -KT


  • RobinsRobins Pro Posts: 33



    Hi Robin, the post was actually from me (Ken).  Lynette is my assistant and I sometimes use her laptop to answer questions, and forget to log out of her account and log into mine when posting.

    Sorry if my e-mail seemed curt, I just have dealt with sooo many people in the bel canto world that always scare people into telling them what they can't do and never provide any real evidence and example for what they can do. Karen is one of them.

    ESPECIALLY when it comes to ANY kind of grit, compression or growing of chest voice.

    I would be happy to give you an evaluation of what exactly is going on.

    The sternocleidomastoid is a long muscle in the side of the neck that extends up from the thorax to the base of the skull behind the ear. When the sternocleidomastoid on one side contracts, the face is turned to the opposite side. When both muscles contract, the head is bent toward the chest. If the immovable end is fixed in position by other muscles, it can raise the sternum (breastbone) - an action which aids in forceful inhalation of air. There are MANY reasons issues with the sternocleidomastoid.

    This is why I continuously emphasize over and over to "shake off the stress" from the chest neck and throat.
    The reason fro this is that the sternocleidomastoid, or SCM, muscle originates on the sternum and attaches to the clavicle, or collarbone, and the mastoid process of the temporal bone, on the back of the skull. You have one SCM on each side of your neck and the muscle controls lateral flexion --- tilting your head --- and rotation --- turning your head left and right. Sudden movements, such as whiplash, can cause SCM (as well as a herniated disc, etc, etc.

    Functional Symptoms

    You may feel a dull pain along the path of the injury, accompanied by a sharp pain when turning or tilting your head, or experience stiffness, muscle fatigue and difficulty holding your head upright. Wearing a neck brace supports the weight of your head, and relieves the pressure on your SCM muscle. Over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, NSAIDs, and analgesic rubs can relieve some of the pain associated with the strain, according to MayoClinic.com.

    Systemic Symptoms

    You may experience headaches, especially at the SCM attachment point on the base of the skull. Other symptoms include ringing in the ears, dizziness and blurred vision. The pain and difficulty moving your head can disrupt your sleep, which can lead to irritability and fatigue, as well as memory problems and difficulty concentrating. Wearing a neck brace will support your head while you sleep, and NSAIDs and ice packs can relieve the swelling and pain. You also can try sleeping on your back with a rolled towel under your neck instead of a pillow to support the natural curve.

    Talk to a Dr. if you experience pain, numbness or tingling radiating down one or both arms and muscle weakness in your arms or shoulders. While it may be difficult to move your head, talk to your doctor if you are unable to move your head at all, or if the pain worsens over time.

    I highly doubt you are in any kind of advanced stage of SCM, it sounds like you are just either training too much or not relaxing, using your abdomen to do the work.

    Make sure that when you are working out you are looking straight on. not to the not "up" this is very important. Also monitor the fron of your neck. Do you see veins buldging? This should not be the case either..

    After you gig I suggest 3-5 days off, then come back at it again with a fresh approach to be very careful about how much tension is mounting. This info should really help you.

    -KT


    Hi! Thank you for an excellent anwser and sry for the very long delay anwser.

    I gave up on singing lessons after this. Took me about 3-4 months to get rid of the pain in that damn muscle. and by that time i didnt feel like starting over again.

    Im going to jump back up on the horse now though and be more careful!

    Thank you again Ken!

    /Robin
  • krishnadityakrishnaditya Pro Posts: 4
    @highmtn .sir,I am suffering from titinitis and doctor has recommended to put earplugs while rehearsals and performances.Have tried a couple of them but they disbalance the vocal performance.I know this is not the place to ask this but I could not get answer anywhere else.Please suggest an earplug which can attenuate sound and is best for vocalists during rehearsals and performances with a rock band.
  • highmtnhighmtn Administrator, Moderator, Enrolled, Pro, 3.0 Streaming Posts: 15,300
    @krishnaditya

    Have you thought about wearing In-Ear monitors and having the volume reduced to a safe level that will not aggravate your tinitis?

    In-ear monitors would provide you with the ability to hear your own vocals at whatever level might be appropriate. You could even conceivably wear those noise-reducing "earmuffs" that construction workers wear, to drop down the volume of the band, while hearing your own vocals at a low level that would hopefully be at enough of a reduced volume to be an improvement over what you are experiencing now.

    We're not doctors and are not offering medical advice, but it seems like there could be some practical ways to allow you to hear your voice and not be exposed to high sound pressure levels.

    The most obvious solution is to have the band turn down, but some musicians have issues with being asked to reduce the volume of their amplifiers.

    The fact that your tinitus may be caused by loud rehearsals and gigs is kind of a red flag. Often a band just needs to get together and work the sound as a team, to try to get a good mix that includes having the vocals easily heard above the sound of the band, without screaming or turning the monitors up to 140 dB.

    I hope you find a workable solution.

    All the Best!

    Bob
  • krishnadityakrishnaditya Pro Posts: 4
    edited October 2015
    @highmtn Thankyou so much Bob.The thing is while the rehearsals, the band is very loud inside the jam room.There I find the problem.I used the foam earplugs but it did not attenuate all the frequencies evenly.I used to get muffled sound.So now I thought of taking advice from an experienced professional like you before ordering an earplug so that I can protect my ears from further hearing loss.It is like if the sound is above 90 dbs for more than 4 hours a day,it can be potentially damaging to human ears.And I measured the sound inside the jam room,it was around 100 dbs which is a red flag.So,please suggest me what kind of earplugs I should purchase so that it does not affect my vocal performance still keeping my ears safe.
  • highmtnhighmtn Administrator, Moderator, Enrolled, Pro, 3.0 Streaming Posts: 15,300
    I'm not endorsing these, because they still might not work that well for singing, but they say the provide up to 19 dB of noise reduction. That would take your 100 dB down to about 81 dB.

    http://www.guitarcenter.com/Earasers/Musicians-Plugs-Medium-1362412921613.gc?country=us&currency=usd&source=4WWRWXGP&gclid=CjwKEAjwhdOwBRDFsYTfhvzX1hYSJAAfCUcLuWjSxtd3_-dBB5KqYdGXYmLY9v5K8SB0t2scsEKucRoCb_7w_wcB&kwid=productads-plaid^145410563082-sku^[email protected]^PLA-device^c-adid^57619015002#productDetail

    A reviewer wrote about these plugs that they aren't good enough for mixing the front-of-house main sound system, but you may be able to hear your voice. That remains to be seen.

    I would still think about using some simple in-ear headphone earpieces to hear your vocals, and over those wear a set of noise-reducing earmuff hearing protectors to attenuate the band sound. Some of these can cut the sound by as much as 30 dB.
    http://www.grainger.com/product/3M-Ear-Muff-WP47495/_/N-bz1?s_pp=false&picUrl=//static.grainger.com/rp/s/is/image/Grainger/1C139_AS01?$smthumb$

    Using any headphones requires care to avoid putting excessive sound pressure levels on your ears. You would need to take care to avoid turning the volume up too much on any headphones or earpieces.

    I'm not an expert on hearing protection, but I would be very careful, since you are already having issues with your hearing.

    With a set of earmuffs on, you should be able to Reduce The Volume of the in-ear headphones to a lower volume level and still hear yourself well without excess volume.

    As I said, reducing the volume in your practice room may not be a popular solution with your bandmates, but it's the best preventive solution that will protect your hearing and allow you to hear yourself without having to have loud monitors.

    Be very careful, whatever you do.

    All the Best.

    Bob
Sign In or Register to comment.