There is an ever-mounting pressure on singers to get better, the problem is that while trying to get better a lot of singers will force their vocal cords. This will not only end up damaging their vocal cords in the long run but it will also hinder their progress as a singer. If your throat and vocal cords are often hurting after you sing, then it is time to take a step back and look at the bigger picture and ask yourself what you are doing wrong and how can you take better care of your vocal health.
You can take care of your vocal cords for singing by not forcing your vocal cords, especially when singing higher notes. You have to let your vocal cords recover by getting plenty of rest, and by avoiding foods that are not good for your vocal cords. In addition to this, you should use a breathing technique while singing that is not putting too much pressure on your vocal cords, usually, this is the main reason why your vocal cords hurt after singing.
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As a singer, it is vital to take care of your vocal cords, especially if you want to have a career in singing. Far too often beginner singers only focus on only getting better and what they end up doing is neglecting their own vocal cords, just so they can sing higher. The problem is that there is not a lot of information about vocal health for singers and the information that you as a singer can find is fairly limited in scope.
Most singers begin to take their vocal health more seriously once they have already a health issue. This is almost exactly the same as the general public, most people go to the doctor once it either starts hurting or the pain is already unbearable. The problem is that if you are a singer, if your throat hurts for a longer period of time it will be extremely difficult to sing, and even the simple act of singing can make more harm than good.
While most people when they get a sore throat they simply wait till it passes in a couple of days, this is how a lot of singers also think. The problem is that the average person’s throat will hurt for different reasons than a singer’s throat will. While a person who is not a singer can get a sore throat due to the flu or some kind of infection, although this is true for singers also but the major difference is that singers are using and in most cases are also forcing their throats and vocal cords, which aren’t helping.
Generally speaking, most beginner singers have forced themselves while they are singing higher notes, although there are plenty of foods and drinks which they can use right before they sing high notes in order not to injure themselves, but most beginner singers simply ignore these simple remedies. If you are a singer who is struggling to sing higher notes and even the attempt to singing them will make your throat hurt then check out my recent article What to drink before singing high notes? ( Top 6 Drinks ).
Take care of your vocal cords by not forcing them
If you want to know how to take care of your voice for singing then my first and most important tip is to not force your voice. The problem is that people have the mindset that if their throat starts to hurt while singing, then it will only become a lot stronger with time and the pain is an actual indication that they are doing the right thing. If you get a sore throat muscle at the beginning is fairly normal, but if your actual throat starts hurting then this is by far the best indication of your body to stop doing it as it is hurting your throat.
While you can somewhat strengthen your vocal cords, but generally speaking you get with what you are born, and far too often beginner singers will try and force their vocal cords to sing notes of which is not capable of, doing this for longer periods of time will actually cause serious injury.
Learn to breathe while singing to take care of your vocal cords
A lot of singers and also vocal coaches do not consider that breathing is vocal care for singers, the truth is that with incorrect breathing you will only end up forcing your body. There are a lot of singers that actually think that by forcing themselves to breathe while they are singing is normal. Breathing while singing should be natural and controlled, not forced, except if it is growl singing or scream-singing, then you do not have any other options. If you want more info about growl singing then check out my article How to growl when singing? ( In 8 Easy Steps ).
Take care of your vocal cords by warming up before singing
It is extremely important to warm up not only your vocal cords but your entire musical instrument before you sing. Not only this will make you sound a lot better but it will also prevent injuries from happening. For beginner singers the problem with warming up their vocal cords is that it is a boring activity, I get it, most of them just want to sing. But just a couple of minutes warming up before you sing will be a lot less cheap than any voice treatment for singers.
Hydration plays a big part in the health of your vocal cords
By this point, if you have already started practicing to sing then you probably already know how important hydration is for singing. The problem is that a lot of singers understand the hydration part differently, while some hydrate themselves with water, there are others who think that they are hydrating themselves with coffee, sodas, and other beverages with high caffeine and sugar. Even diet sodas that allegedly do not contain any sugar will in fact actually dehydrate you, for the simple reason that your body will use more water to digest it than it gets from the soda.
If you are serious about singing then my recommendation is to stay away from alcohol, sodas, coffee, and even milk. if you want to know what drinks are actually beneficial for singers then check out my article Best drink for singing voice? ( Top 13 drinks to help your voice ).
Taking care of your vocal cords with plenty of rest
Not a lot of people talk about the importance of rest for vocal health. While you are resting your body will repair the damage you may have produced while singing during the day, and it will make the muscles that you are using to sing stronger. Without plenty of rest, your body will not be able to recuperate efficiently and it will be on a constant loop of trying to heal itself with the little sleep you get.
This is why so many people actually feel tired after a night’s sleep, their body is in overdrive and it knows it doesn’t have any chances of recovering because of the chaotic sleeping pattern that you have. You as a singer should take rest extremely seriously if you are trying to be a better singer and after months of practicing, nothing seems to work for you then my recommendation is to get a week off and have plenty of rest, odds are that your body is simply too tired to focus on improving yourself, the last thing you want is to get vocal cord nodules.
Diet plays a big part in how healthy your vocal cords are
The singer’s diet for a healthy voice is fairly simple, eat and drink what is actually beneficial for your voice, and simply avoid the ones which are hindering your progress as a singer. Do not underestimate the power of a good diet, as far too often this is one of the main reasons you are not improving as a singer. No matter how much you practice if you do not have a good diet to back it up and plenty of rest then you are making it only more difficult for yourself.
A lot of people when they think or hear about the singers’ diet think that you as a singer have to eat some special kind of food. This is far from the truth, while there are plenty of people recommending miracle foods that will improve your voice, but it is safe to say that most of these are promoting some kind of product, and I wouldn’t really trust them. I have created a list of everyday foods that you can get at any grocery store, foods like lemon, honey, teas, and such. If you want to know the entire list of foods that are good for your singing voice then check out my article ( Top 18 ) Foods to improve singing voice.
Eliminate your vices to take care of your vocal cords
Everybody has a vice or two, even if you do not consider it an actual vice. While for some people it can take the form of destructive vices, like vaping, smoking, drinking and so on which actually hinder their performance as a singer. On the other hand, there are people with subtle vices, like browsing hours every day on Reddit, Facebook, and Instagram. While you might think that these are not in fact vices, the problem is that these will, in fact, take time away from your singing.
I am not saying that in order to be a good singer that you will have to practice all day long, what I am saying is that if you have ever feel bored or lazy to practice singing that the reason might be some of these social sites, they are made to simply waste your time and the time you invest in it will result in no benefit for you at all, in fact, it might even take away time for practicing singing.
Use a humidifier to take care of your vocal cords
The body evaporates a lot of water while you are singing, in fact, most of your water eliminated during the day is through your breath. My personal recommendation if you live in a more arid environment is to get a humidifier, while it is a good idea to use a humidifier in your entire house but it isn’t necessary. Just use a humidifier in the room in which you are singing, this way your body will not eliminate as much water, and thus making you stay hydrated for longer periods of time.
If you live in a colder climate it is still a good idea to use a humidifier, as during the colder days when we all tend to crank up the heat will make the air extremely dry, which in turn will make you eliminate a lot more water while you are singing. You can even make a DIY humidifier if you are on a tight budget, just get a bowl of water and place it on the heater, especially during the night, you will notice the effects in the morning, no more dry nose and throat.
Singing too much can be bad for your vocal cords
A lot of singers think that the more they sing the better they become, the truth is that everybody has a limit which if they hit they will actually do more harm than good if they continue to sing past that point. Generally speaking, there isn’t a set amount of period time which you should sing per day, but if your throat or vocal cords start hurting then that is your body telling you to stop. It is vital not to continue singing after it starts hurting, or else you might end up with a sore throat a day later.
Some singers actually practice till their throat starts to hurt, this isn’t a good idea, at that point your body while you are resting will prioritize healing your throat and not actually improve your vocal cords and throat.
Take a break from singing from time to time
There are a lot of determined singers, which will work as hard as they can in order to improve their singing. Oftentimes what tends to happen is that even after months of practicing your voice still doesn’t sound or feel any better. In this case, you have probably hit a wall in your progress as a singer. My recommendation is to take a week off from singing, allow yourself to rest, and to think why you are not improving, odds are that you have all the answers to your problems related to singing but you can not actually see them as you are focusing only on singing, a break will allow you to think.
The vocal health of any singer is extremely important and it isn’t something you should neglect. There are far too many singers, even successful ones who neglect their vocal health and only end up making their singing-related health issues a lot worse. There are some things which you simply can not control when it comes to your voice, like having the flu, or some other throat-related issues, but for the ones that you can control, then my recommendation is to consider your vocal health very seriously.