It hurts!! What hurts? My voice. It has been hurting on and off for four years. The chest area is my problem, and I’m not breathing right. When you strain your voice it’s like when you get tendonitis (which I also have, in both my arms, from office work), it just won’t go away. Yes, I have seen a voice doctor, and it helped. It also helps to have a good singing teacher, but I left mine behind in Oslo (I miss her so much…). I have started singing in a choir (I’m so sick of singing to the wall, alone), and the problems have gotten worse since then (it’s all about German baroque music, which I love, but it’s very demanding). I am going to see another voice doctor in a couple of weeks, and hope she’ll be able to solve the problem. She’s supposed to be the best one in Paris.
So people, take good care of your vocal chords (and your body as a whole). Once the problem is there, it’s hard to get rid of. Also, it’s good to know when to stop working/practicing, and not to be stressed. Take breaks often, especially if you work in an office. If I had been calmer, my voice would be like it used to, and I would be able to play piano without my arms hurting.
Now I never practice without warming up for at least half an hour. There are lots of good exercises out there, just ask a singing teacher.
Here is an article from the New York Times today about the dangers of straining your voice: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/19/arts/music/why-voices-of-singers-like-adele-and-john-mayer-are-stilled.html?src=tp&smid=fb-share
Here is another one for those who know French: