Feeling a tightness in your throat can be an unsettling sensation. Let’s examine a few of the more common causes of throat tightness, as well as when you should seek treatment.
What Does a Tight Throat Feel Like?
Throat tightness can feel different to different people. It has been described as feeling like:
- A band around your neck
- Your throat is tender and sore
- You have a lump in your throat
- Your throat seems swollen
- Something is caught in your throat, making it difficult to breathe or swallow
Three Common Tight Throat Causes
- GERD/Acid reflux. Reflux occurs when stomach acid flows back up into the esophagus and often causes heartburn. If it happens regularly, it’s known as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). GERD is a very common condition, affecting approximately 20% of adults in western culture. In addition to other symptoms like chronic cough, hoarseness, and having a sour taste in your mouth, reflux can also make you feel like you have a lump in your throat and/or difficulty swallowing.
- Infections. Conditions like strep throat or tonsillitis can cause tightness and soreness in the throat. If an infection is causing your symptoms, you may also experience a fever, chills, swollen glands, headache, loss of voice and red or swollen tonsils.
- Allergies. When you have an allergic reaction, it’s because your body mistakes a harmless substance (like pollen or pet dander) as dangerous and responds by releasing chemicals that cause symptoms like nasal congestion and watery eyes. Some people experience severe allergic reactions, including anaphylaxis. This causes your airways to swell up and tighten. Additional symptoms include wheezing, swelling in your face, lips tongue and mouth, rash, rapid beat, dizziness or fainting. Anaphylaxis is life-threatening and needs to be treated like a medical emergency if you experience symptoms.
Treatment for tightness in the throat depends on the cause. As mentioned, anaphylaxis is an emergency that always requires immediate medical attention.
If you have signs of an infection or GERD, make an appointment with your doctor to discuss your symptoms. They can order additional testing and prescribe medication or recommend over-the-counter treatment options like antacids that you can find at Ray’s Pharmacy or other local drugstores.
If you would like more information or wish to schedule an appointment with one of our experts to discuss your throat symptoms, call Red River ENT Associates today.