Once diagnosed with vocal cord dysfunction (VCD) [or paradoxical vocal fold motion (PVFM)], medical and behavioral management of the condition can begin. Medication alone will not help alleviate VCD, so active participation with behavioral techniques described below will help control VCD.
Changes in medications or initiation of medications, under your physician's order, may control:
Speech therapy is the cornerstone treatment for VCD.
Individualized exercises and techniques are taught to help one:
- Increase awareness of breathing and remediation of maladaptive breathing patterns
- Increase awareness of body posture and encourage relaxation of throat muscles
- Learn and feel comfortable with a variety of VCD release breathing techniques
- Control VCD while exercising
- Utilize chronic cough suppression techniques
- Utilize throat clearing elimination techniques
- Maximize vocal hygiene
Techniques and exercises can be extremely helpful in eliminating abnormal vocal cord movement and increasing control of vocal cords thus improving airflow into lungs.
The goals of therapy are to teach you techniques to prevent and eliminate VCD, chronic coughing and frequent throat clearing.
Another important part of treatment is supportive counseling. Counseling can help adjust to a new diagnosis and a new treatment program. Counseling can also help identify and deal positively with stress that may be an underlying factor in VCD. Most people with VCD find counseling to be very beneficial.