Vocal cord paralysis involves the inability to move the vocal cords effectively. As the name suggests, it affects the voice because the vocal cords are two bands of muscles present inside the vocal box.  

The vocal box is medically termed as the larynx that is located at the top of the windpipe or trachea. The vocal cords effectively coordinate with the larynx and the trachea to vibrate and make sounds. The windpipe opens to allow the air to pass through and closes while swallowing to avoid the passage of food and drink from slipping into the windpipe. When you speak, the vocal cords touch the windpipe with specific vibrations to produce sound. This takes place with the help of particular nerves and coordinated movement of the muscles.  

In cases of vocal cord paralysis, there is nerve damage that prevents the harmonious coordination of the muscles inside your vocal cords. This causes trouble speaking, swallowing, and even breathing. These functions depend on the coordinated movement of the vocal cords. There are two types of vocal cord paralysis. It may be unilateral or bilateral, affecting one or both vocal cords. Breathing problems with life-threatening situations are more affected by bilateral vocal cord paralysis. However, unilateral vocal cord paralysis is more than bilateral vocal cord paralysis. It can affect people at any age. Homeopathic medicines help in treating vocal cord paralysis symptoms effectively.  

Role of homeopathy in vocal cord paralysis 

Vocal cord paralysis may range in intensity. Mild-to-moderate cases of vocal cord paralysis can be treated effectively with homeopathic medicines. Homeopathic medicines help stimulate the nerve functioning of the vocal cord to promote harmonious and coordinated activity. Homeopathy works efficiently in managing the symptoms of vocal cord paralysis. It also helps properly manage the progressive physical and mental symptoms of vocal cord paralysis.  

Five effective homeopathic medicines for vocal cord paralysis 

Causticum

Common name: Tinctura acris sine kali  

Causticum is indicated in cases of hoarseness of voice with vocal cord paralysis. The hoarseness of voice is well-marked in the morning and evening. The patient has to exert too much pressure to talk. There is also an inability to talk and speak loudly. Shortness of breath is also present, with coughing mainly in the evening. The symptoms appear after exposure to cold wind and air and after episodes of diphtheria or typhoid. The symptoms are better in warm weather.  

Gelsemium sempervirens  

Common name: Yellow jasmine 

Gels. is suggested in cases of vocal cord paralysis with a feeble voice. There is dizziness, delirium, and vertigo. Weakness of muscles and exhaustion are also present. A burning sensation is felt in the larynx. There is difficulty swallowing and breathing, with a choking sensation. The voice is feeble and may become soft at times. There are extensive headaches that are triggered by exposure to the sun.  

Lachesis muta  

Common name: Bushmaster 

Lachesis is mainly recommended in cases of unilateral vocal cord paralysis, which is more towards the left side. There are episodes of choking while swallowing with dysphagia. The patient is unable to swallow liquids and worsens with warm drinks. The symptoms increase after sleep. The throat is very painful with chronic soreness and further exacerbated by the slightest pressure.  

Phosphorus  

Common name: Elemental phosphorus  

Phos. is indicated in cases of hoarseness of voice with vocal cord paralysis. The voice is husky and rough. There is marked burning of the throat, which extends to the gastric system. Prolonged speaking causes intense dryness of the throat. There is numbness in the arms and legs. Sensation as if small insects are crawling under the skin. Weakness and prostration are well-marked. The symptoms worsen in the evening, with warm food, warm drinks, touch, exertion, and lying on the painful side. The patient is better with cold food, open air, and lying on the right side.  

Nux vomica  

Common name: Poison nut 

Nux vom. is recommended in cases of digestive issues. The patient is unable to speak loudly. Frequent clearing of the throat is well-marked. The patient also has a cough while eating. There is acid reflux with difficulty swallowing. The nervous system is irritated due to overexertion. Tea, coffee, alcohol, tobacco, and lack of sleep worsen the symptoms. The patient feels better in the evening and is exposed to damp weather.  

Causes of vocal cord paralysis  

  • Auto-immune conditions such as multiple sclerosis or myasthenia gravis.  
  • Injury or trauma to the neck, head, and chest which may cause nerve damage 
  • Infections affecting the brain, spinal cord, and nervous system include Lyme disease, herpes, the Epstein-Barr virus, and COVID-19. These infections cause inflammation, which tends to damage the vocal cords. 
  • Toxic elements, which include mercury, lead, and arsenic poisoning, can harm the tissues and nerves of the vocal cords.  
  • Neurological disorders such as brain stroke and parkinsonism can impact the nerves controlling the vocal cord.  
  • Upper respiratory tract infection which includes viral or bacterial infections. 
  • Tumors and thyroid nodules compress the nerves of the vocal box. These include malignant and benign tumors, thyroid cancer, and nodules that can damage the nerves.  

 Symptoms of vocal cord paralysis  

  • Unexplained hoarse voice, which is weak, scratchy, or breathy. 
  • Changes in vocal pitch, which may be high or low.  
  • Shortness of breath after losing voice.  
  • Noisy, uncomfortable breathing with wheezing or raspy sound.  
  • Trouble swallowing food, also known as dysphagia. 
  • Changes in the vocal volume, such as loud or soft sounds. 
  • Constant clearing of the throat  but unable to clear.
  • Choking in an attempt to swallow food in severe cases.  
  • Aspiration pneumonia occurs when food and drinks tend to slip into the windpipe or lungs. 
  • Weird and unusual sensation in the vocal cord.  
  • Difficulty in breathing as the vocal cords drive closer for voice production. 
  • Fatigue with great exhaustion while talking.  
  • Presence of mucus in the throat.

Treatment of vocal cord paralysis  

  • A speech-language pathologist will advise voice therapy that helps strengthen the vocal cords and reduces tension in the muscles around the vocal box.  
  • Bulk injection procedures can help fill your vocal cords with collagen or another filler.  
  • Structural implants with thermoplasty or laryngoplasty to reposition your vocal cord.  
  • Replacement of damaged nerves can help.  
  • Vocal cord repositioning for better sound production.  
  • Tracheostomy for bilateral paralyzation.  
  • Augmentation, especially in cases of temporary unilateral paralysis, to prevent complications. 
  • Tumor resection in cases of cancer. 
  • Partial endoscopic cordectomy for improving breathing in complicated cases.  

 

Lifestyle modifications for vocal cord paralysis  

  • Keep yourself hydrated well with plenty of water to avoid throat dryness.  
  • Avoid clearing the throat frequently, which may cause a sore throat or friction to trigger voice issues.  
  • Practice good vocal hygiene habits by avoiding unnecessary strain on the vocal cords, which may lead to scarring and thickening.  
  • Quit smoking and alcohol, which may further cause dehydration of the throat. 
  • Avoid speaking post-vocal cord surgery or if you are suffering from a nasty throat infection.  
  • Humming therapy can help stimulate the vocal box with a soft and low-pitched voice.  
  • Sit upright in a comfortable sitting and standing position to practice deep breathing. 
  • Maintain a healthy diet. Stay away from overeating to avoid reflux and phlegm issues.  

Conclusion  

Vocal cord paralysis causes the vocal cords to get frozen. This hinders air flow and normal speech and may cause choking. In mild cases, the problem may heal faster with correct management. However, in severe cases, medical intervention may be required. Bilateral vocal cord paralysis may be rare; however, it needs prompt medical treatment. Any episode of vocal cord paralysis should not be ignored. To alleviate the symptoms, it is essential to treat the underlying cause of vocal cord paralysis. Homeopathy for vocal cord paralysis helps manage the symptoms and provide relief from the breathlessness, hoarseness of voice, and feeling tired while talking.

References