Spasmodic dysphonia

This is a very rare condition affecting the voice where the voice either sounds strained and strangled (Adductor Spasmodic Dysphonia)

or breathy (abductor spasmodic Dysphonia)

or sometimes mixed. There is no test or scan that will say if you have it or not it relies on seeing someone who is familiar with the sound of the voice and making the diagnosis. Some patients will have had the voice problem for many years and seen lots of doctors, including ENT doctors, and the diagnosis is not made because the condition is so rare that that doctor has not heard it before. The best treatment for the problem is Botulinim Toxin injections. This sounds really awful but most patients find the injections quite easy to tolerate and are very happy with the results.

Dystonia affecting airway

In some patients the spasm that affects the throat causes problems mainly with breathing. This may be due to forceful closure of the vocal cords or a tendency for the neck or tongue to pull inwards blocking the airway. In some patients this is also associated with excessive closure of the muscles around the eye called blepharospasm. All of these problems can be treated with botulinim toxin injections.