Do you ever feel like something is stuck in the back of your throat? You might be feeling a common sensation known as globus sensation or lump in the throat. Globus sensation is an overwhelming feeling that there is a lump, tightness, pressure, or even choking in your throat. This can come and go throughout the day with no apparent cause – and it often causes feelings of anxiety and distress for many patients. In this blog post, we’ll take a look at what may be causing this symptom and how to investigate it. We’ll also explore some treatments that may help reduce its intensity or frequency so you can get relief from the uncomfortable sensation.
What is a Lump in the Throat and What Causes It
This sensation of a lump or tightness in the throat, also known as globus pharyngeus, is thought to be caused by muscular tension or spasm at the base of the throat. There are various triggers including stress, tiredness, reflux (GORD – gastro-oesophageal reflux disease), voice strain, smoking and post nasal drip (catarrh) . Generally speaking, anxiety-induced lumps are temporary and can be relieved with relaxation techniques. If however your throat is feeling tight and painful, you are having trouble swallowing foods or liquids, or you are losing weight it may be a sign of an underlying medical condition, and it is important to seek medical advice.
Common Treatments for Lump in the Throat
There are a number of things you can do to try to relieve globus symptoms:
Eating and drinking
Try to drink at least 1.5 litres (3 pints) of water every day. You should drink in small sips as swallowing helps to relax the throat.
Avoid too much alcohol, tea, coffee and fizzy drinks. They can cause the throat to be dry.
Try to reduce the amount of fatty and spicy food in your diet.
Leave at least 3 hours between your last meal and going to bed. Avoid snacking between your last meal and bedtime.
Consider trying anti-reflux medication (your pharmacist can advise).
Smoking causes irritation to your throat. By stopping smoking, you can help to improve your globus symptoms.
Try not to clear your throat as this can make your globus sensation worse. You can try sipping water, instead.
Losing any excess weight may reduce your symptoms.
Stress can increase your globus sensation.
If you think you might be stressed, try to relax in a way that is doable for you and your situation. Breathing and relaxation exercises can sometimes help, but if you feel you need further help with managing stress, your doctor can discuss this with you.
When to seek medical attention
Generally speaking, anxiety-induced lumps are temporary and can be relieved with relaxation techniques.
However, if the feeling is not temporary, or your throat is feeling tight and painful, you are having trouble swallowing foods or liquids, or you are losing weight it may be a sign of an underlying medical condition, and it is important to seek medical advice.
An MRI scan of the neck will look at the throat and can identify any masses. Ideally, an MRI neck is done after consultation with your doctor, as they will want to ask you relevant questions and carry out a physical examination. MRI of the neck may not always be needed.
In summary, the sensation of a lump in the throat is an uncomfortable experience that can indicate a range of possible underlying causes. It is important to pay attention to when the feeling emerges and seek medical care if it lasts longer than two weeks or other symptoms accompany it. Recognizing the physical sensations associated with a lump in the throat can be helpful in determining an appropriate course of action. In many cases, changing dietary habits or seeking counselling are sufficient treatments to alleviate symptoms. However, if there is still uncertainty regarding the cause of the sensation or it fails to resolve on its own, professional medical advice should be sought out and an MRI scan may be necessary. By understanding more about what is causing the lump in your throat, you can take steps toward achieving symptom relief and getting back to enjoying your life!
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