If your voice is tired, your throat feels tight, or it hurts to talk, you may have muscle tension dysphonia, or voice strain caused by muscle tightness. This common voice problem can occur even if your vocal cords are normal but the muscles in your throat are working inefficiently. You may not be using your breath to effectively energize your voice, or your throat muscles may be too tight when you speak. Muscle tension dysphonia can make your voice sound strained or hoarse and can make it uncomfortable to talk. It is common to experience muscle tension dysphonia along with another voice problem.
Muscle tension dysphonia can happen when you’ve been sick and developed a vocal cord injury, such as laryngitis or swelling of the vocal cords. Because of that injury, you may start relying on other muscles in your throat to speak. Even when your vocal cords have healed after the illness is over, you can get stuck in a pattern of relying on these muscles.
Other factors that may contribute to muscle tension dysphonia include excessive talking without breaks, screaming, talking loudly in noisy environments, or habitually speaking at a pitch that is too high or too low for you.