I love to sing. It is one of the ways that I relieve the stress…I grab my ipod, plug it into the stereo and turn it up loud. Right now it’s usually Pink, or something way daggier, like some 80s favourites…and I sing along to my heart’s content. It’s an emotional release, it lets off steam, it makes me feel happy!
In my younger years I was a singer in a band. It was the thing I loved above all else…in my pre-children days. Singing was the one thing that I was actually better at than most people. A natural talent.
An interesting thing I learned when I visited the Pain Clinic is that the cause of my hoarse voice is very likely Rheumatoid Arthritis. The doctor asked me about my hoarseness, and explained this was most likely rheumatoid arthritis affecting my cricoarytenoid joint.
Rheumatoid arthritis can affect the voice? Apparently so.
A quick google turned up a few interesting articles. It’s called cricoarytenoid arthritis. There’s a post on rheumatoid Arthritis Warrior about it. http://rawarrior.com/cricoarytenoid-arthritis-in-rheumatoid-arthritis-part-1/
And what is exactly is the Cricoarytenoid Joint? The cricoarytenoid joints are located between the cricoid and arytenoid cartilages in the back wall of the larynx. The cricoarytenoid joints help open, close, and tighten the vocal cords during speech and breathing.
Turns out that around 35% of people who suffer from Rheumatoid Arthritis suffer from hoarseness, which is the most common symptom of cricoarytenoid involvement.
The full list of symptoms includes:
- Difficulty swallowing, and/or pain when swallowing
- The feeling of having something stuck in your throat
- Pain when talking
- Intermittent or complete loss of voice
- Shortness of breath
- Feeling like you are choking.
Most frightening is the sensation that you are choking, and can’t breathe properly. It’s a horrible feeling, and I’ve had it for years. I just never realised that it is also one of the joys of Rheumatoid Arthritis.
I discussed it with my new Rheumy and she suggested a Barium swallow. Oh joy! Another pleasant sounding procedure. Happy Christmas! She felt the choking sensation was likely due to arthritis, but she thinks it’s best to be sure. I agree. I guess.
I never mentioned it before, because I always had bigger things to worry about. I never even thought about it that much. An attack would happen, and then by the time I saw my doctor, I had forgotten about it.
It pales in comparison to not being able to walk.
At any rate, there is no extra treatment required, unless it is very severe. In that instance, steroids can be injected directly into the cricoarytenoid joint.
It sounds like a very unimportant symptom, or rather, complication of Rheumatoid Arthritis. It sounds like it wouldn’t make a big difference to your life at all.
Except maybe if you are a singer.