Archive for the ‘acid reflux, GERD, heartburn’ Category

Diaphragm breathing and acid reflux

November 26, 2013

As proper supported diaphragm breathing pushes the diaphragm (and also esophagus) downward, the stomach acid will flow into the esophagus and irritate acid reflux.

1. Don’t eat before singing.

2. Don’t drink carbonated drinks with caffeine (most carbonated drinks have caffeine).

3. Don’t drink caffeine.

If must sing, then use an antiacid.   These usually last 30 to 60 minutes, so will be very useful for singing and diaphragm breathing while with food in stomach.


Excessive Mucus and phelgm and singing

October 31, 2012

I seem to have a really big problem with mucous and phlegm, that gets worse the more I sing. There seems to be mucous in both my nose, throat, and lungs. How do you get rid of this without meds?


This doesn’t sound like the major contributor is allergies, as allergies generally produce a liquidy drainage, not heavy phelgm or mucus.   Allergies also produces sneezing and red eyes, so to self-diagnose it, look for other symptoms.

This does sound like acid reflux and/or improper technique that blows too much air into the nasal cavity.

To diagnose acid reflux, try any Over The Counter omeprazele med, such as zegerid or nexium for 4 weeks (preferably at double dosage–which is what doctors prescribe–and I recommend you ask a physician first) and see if your symptoms vastly improve.

To treat acid reflux, first incline your bed 6 inches at top; then even higher, if you can tolerate it.   This will stop nighttime acid reflux.

Acid reflux doesn’t reach your nasal cavity, unless– 1. stomach liquid can reach up to nasal cavity (which is unlikely, if you’re standing)    2. huge amounts of acidic fumes reach the nasal cavity (which is possible with improper singing technique and/or bad posture).

Whether you have huge amounts of acid reflux fumes or not, if a singer uses improper singing technique such that air is blown into nasal cavity regularly, symptoms such as you describe will result.

To treat:   1. resolve singing technique   2. fix posture   3. incline bed, if acid reflux.

Posture and acid reflux

June 5, 2011

Why posture and why what I mentioned below works for singers:

 The basic idea for singers is to reduce the acid from weakening the esophagus and particularly the nasal pharynx– mostly liquid acid, not gaseous acid.   For singing, I’m not writing about the pain  and potential cancer of acid reflux, but instead its effect on muscle control and resonance.

 The acid in a sense, immobilizes these live tissue.   By sleeping at an angled plane, the acid is less able to crawl up at night– this is why sleeping angled and not bending over when awake are effective.  If acid is able to crawl up to the vocal cords and weakens these, it’s very difficult to sing on pitch, because loss of vocal cord control.

 The effect on the vocal tract (excluding the vocal cords), and the nasal pharynx are less direct.   But the most direct treatment approach is still same– get the liquid acid as far away as possible.  If one pulls up one’s posture by uplifting the rib cage and head to proper alignment, the extra 1 to 2 inches gained will be quite significant in its effects, and this may fix the upper esophagus valve (whatever its name) automatically, because the upper esophagus tract is aligned and this upper valve (which is really an airway) is then in good operational condition.

 The lower esohagus-stomach valve, and I suspect even hiatial hernia (sp?) is more challenging.   Medicine does not yet know what causes the weakening of this valve, but there is a theory that it is due to extended bad posture weakening this valve.   This theory makes sense, because essentially, it is saying– if you pull on a valve muscle long enough in the wrong way, it will weaken.

 So for the lower esophagus valve, the first step is to prevent the potential damage by ensuring one’s posture is aligned.   The second, if the damage has occurred, is to stop further damage and allow the body to heal, by, again, aligning the posture.  The third, again, is complicated.

 When all these are aligned, the muscles are in good tone, which means one’s singing tone will be far better.

 Unfortunately, getting good posture is more difficult than it may appear.


Acid reflux

June 5, 2011

Zegerid, Nexium, Prilosec, Previcid and other proton-inhibitors are usually different forumulations of the same; their differences come in how quickly and how much is absorbed by the individual.   Zegerid is newer, but my personal experience is that Zegerid’s immediate effects are faster, but all these worked about the same for me.  My gastro doctor says that Zegerid is superior for a percentage of people; but remember, everyone is an individual.

I’m not a pharmacist or doctor, but my understanding is IT IS UNNECESSARY TO PURCHASE THESE BY PRESCRIPTION.  The prescription forms of Zegerid and Previcid are basically twice the dosage of their OTC versions.   Zegerid has a powder prescription version that is again a bit faster than the pill version.

Here’s how to buy these items cheap.   Look in the Sunday newspapers under Walgreens and CVS ads, and use their promos, coupled with Walgreens monthly discount booklet coupon and even use the meds website coupons.   How cheap?   Previcid normally costs about $22 for 42.   Walgreens raised its price to $24, had a $3 coupon in its booklet, and Previcid gave away a $25 voucher with its purchase.   I figure voucher is worth about $17.   So effectively– 42 Previcd for a net of $4.   If you double the dosage, such that it becomes the prescription formulation– 21 (3 weeks of Previcid) for $4.  

Everyone is different, so Zantac can work well for some people as well.   But Zantac has far more side effects.   Additionally, proton inhibitors are a very safe drug, in for long term usage, as compared to other drugs.

 Cheaper than $4?   I didn’t have to use proton inhibitors for over 3 years by making these changes:

 1. raise my bed and drank antacid before sleeping.

2. change my posture including sitting posture.

3. less fats in my diet.

Different singing sounds after jogging

July 5, 2010


[quote=classical guitar]Okay here’s the deal… 

Vocal Range without jogging 3 miles in the morning= A2-A5
Vocal Range with jogging 3 miles in the morning= B3-C#5 (at least)

What’s going on?  It’s so frustrating having to deal with a different instrument half the days of the week…  It’s like bi-polar voice syndrome or something…

Also, I tend to wake up with a realllllly low voice for a tenor in the morning.  Maybe the two are related.  I’m currently on meds for acid reflux, and drinking about a gallon of water a day (have been for a year).  Lot’s of sinus drainage also on days that I don’t get the cardio in…

Anybody else deal with this frustrating crap?[/quote]

Well, here’s my two cents worth.

The body stores muscle tension patterns.  When one runs, one “shakes” up these patterns, and your resonanting mechanism as well as your musclar controls are affected.  Musclar controls return quickly after some rest, but shaking up tension patterns are not restored quickly.  Afterwards, one’s vocal apparatus sounds entirely different.

To solve this, one needs to get rid of the tension patterns–detense–which is a difficult process being described in my blog,  (Most of the information isn’t on there yet).  By permanently ridding of stored muscular tensions, you’ll sing far better than your current conditions, in any pitch ranges.

Acid reflux meds, especially proton inhibitors, in general, help sufferers sing better.  The reason is that when acid touches the esophageal and mouth tissues, these weaken; furthermore, acidic fumes cause nasal congestion (as the nasal tissues protect themselves by shutting closing the nose to nasal fumes).  With acid reflux med, the vocal tissues are stronger.

Of course, it is better not to use acid reflux med at all; there are lots of techniques for this–some of which is explained or will be explained in

Acid reflux, vocal cords, and acupuncture

January 7, 2010

The question is asked how does acid reflux affect singing highs and why a particular singer found that acupuncture worked for him.   See’s discussion forum

Acid reflux doesn’t just affect the vocal cords, but the entire vocal tract.   Just a little bit of acid, and I would even suggest acidic fumes, can weaken the entire vocal tract.   This means that acid reflux affects the resonace control and vocal cords.

My opinion is:  if you have major acid reflux, you’ll know quickly–you’ll lose the entire vocal tract control–can’t sing in tune.   Minor acid reflux affects the quality of the control.   Remember that the vocal cords alone sound tinny, and that your resonance creates the full sound, and then you’ll better understand how acid reflux works.  

Knowing this, here’s how Nexium and other proton inhibitors work.   These reduce the amount of acid and possibly acidic fumes that weaken your vocal tract, and hence improve your singing quality control.

One can also reduce acid by changing diet (eat less, less fatty foods that require more digestion time), losing weight (my guess is less pressure on the stomach and vocal tract), and other well-known methods.

Lesser known–one can reduce the acid by manipulating your body posture.  Don’t lie down horizontally (even when sleeping; sleep at an incline), sit straight, try to strengthen the lower esophageal valve, and also the upper esophageal valve (I hope I said these correctly).   These are described in my blog   Lift up the entire rib cage–not by a deliberate mental lift, but by relaxing and toning the entire spine and thorax and abdomen muscles and myofasica.  Much of vocalposture is about this process.   You’ll sing better and relieve acid reflux at the same time.

As for acupuncture, massage, etc., as mentioned in the question    These can work as well.   How, precisely?   One of the comments said earlier is that there is no “scientific proof” that these work.   Indeed, there is little “scientific proof” these don’t work either.   Just because something isn’t proven, doesn’t mean it’s false; though it may be suspect. 

Remember though that there are usually more false methods than true ones, so suspect is suspect.  However, it is not true that suspect is false–some suspect methods may very well work.

There is abundant evidence that acupuncture and massage do affect the circulatory, nervous, and muscular-tension systems.  If one accepts these, then one can view one’s relief through these therapies sensibly.

Acid reflux is primarily due to too much pressure causing the stomach contents to go up to the throat.  

Acupuncture, massage, etc. may be helping by relieving tension (thereby reducing pressure), by relaxing your vocal tract (which may be tense from continous exposure to acid reflux), or by simply improving your vocal tract muscular performance.  Anyhow, all these make sense by understanding the posture of the vocal tract, which is what is about.

I hope this helps.

Look for –my new invention!

Excess saliva and singing

June 13, 2009

A question was asked that a singing student has excessive saliva that interrupts her singing. How can this be solved?

Are you using a lot of flourides?    Anticavity mouthwash, flouride gelcams?   These can cause excessive saliva.

Excess saliva is frequently a symptom of acid reflux– saliva is basic and it’s the body’s mechanism to neutralize the upward acidic reflux– to coat the esophagus from acid damage.

To test whether it is acid reflux, try taking a off-the-counter proton inhibitor, such as Prilosec, for two weeks, and see what happens. During this time, also test for other acid reflux symptoms (search web–many of these). If such symptoms and excessive saliva stop, chances are excellent the problem is acid reflux.

If it is acid reflux, proton inhibitors are a relatively safe drug– patients have taken it daily for over 10 years. Also, it is documented that for patients with acid reflux, proton inhibitors can help them sing significantly better (because of reduced effects of acid reflux).   I am not a physician, obviously, so you should see a physician to confirm any self-tests.

Another question was raised are there other remedies than proton inhibitors. Yes there are; I will describe these one day much later.

There is still another solution to excessive saliva. The excessive saliva problem, as it relates to singing, is generally not one of production, but one of drainage. As long as the saliva drains out quickly, the mouth can move freely, without having to swallow to rid of saliva. Recognizing the singing issue as a fast drainage challenge, the answer is simple (yet difficult to continously implement)– straighten the head so that the saliva naturally flows down the esophagus faster. One doesn’t have to swallow if one’s head is properly allowing drainage such that the saliva doesn’t accumulte.

This drainage solution has its challenges. How does one align one’s head straight such that it doesn’t cause strains on throat and mouth muscles, the strain of which will impact singing?

This is what attempts to answer–how to create a relaxed posture that enhances singing–and at the same time solve the excess saliva issue.

10-15-12  I’ve straightened my head posture significantly, and saliva drainage definitely is much better (faster).

Chen Sun

Posture and many illnesses are related

May 16, 2009

We will discuss later posture and its influence on illnesses as acid reflux and prostatitis, and we’ll also discuss how posture’s related behavioural disorder–compulsion–can exacerbate depression, over-eating, sadness.  Compulsion is very related to singing, as possibly the primary reason singers are unable to improve rapidly is because of their body’s compulsions.   Changing singing and changing posture are difficult without solving compulsion.