Common Causes Of Throat Tightness

Almost all of us experience throat tightness from time to time. While there are several things that can cause the throat to tighten up, the two causes we are most apt to encounter are allergies and anxiety. Two other very common causes of throat tightness are a thyroid condition, and acid reflux disease. In this article, we'll take a closed look at these four causes.

Thyroid Problems – Hypothyroidism – Hypothyroidism occurs when the thyroid gland produces an insufficient among of the thyroid hormone the body requires. There are numerous symptoms associated with hypothyroidism, many of which reflect a general slowing down of bodily functions. In most cases the symptoms include feelings of sluggishness, tiredness, and fatigue. Hypothyroidism can also cause people to become depressed or irritated, which isn't surprising if one is normally healthy, and suddenly finds himself or herself feeling run down or ill. Among the physical symptoms are strange sensations in the neck, where the thyroid gland is located, and in the throat, with a feeling of tightness in the throat being a fairly common symptom.

Thyroid Problems – Hyperthyroidism – Hyperthyroidism can also cause a tightening in the throat, although in this case, the tightness is usually a secondary symptom, and one that may be experienced when one is feeling extremely nervous or anxious,  two of the more common symptoms of hyperthyroidism. Hyperthyroidism is a speeding up of the function of the thyroid gland, which results in an excessive production of the thyroid hormone, causing the body to tend to go “full tilt”.

Anxiety - One does not need to suffer from a thyroid condition, such as hyperthyroidism, to suffer from anxiety, one of the leading causes of throat tightness. There is one type of tightness due to feelings of emotion or anxiety we all experience from time to time, a lump in the throat. A lump in the throat actually has a scientific name. It's called globus hystericus. Some individuals experience globus hystericus while eating and finding it difficult to swallow. The harder they try, the more difficult swallowing becomes. The throat just feels too tight. In other instances, globus hystericus strikes when we suddenly become very emotional. If we suddenly feel very sad or very happy, for example during a funeral or a wedding, or vice versa, we get a lump in our throat. On a more serious note, experiencing a tightness in the throat is often one of the initial signs of an oncoming anxiety attack. Treatment of this type of an attack sometimes begins with first working to eliminate tightness in the throat. If the tightness can be avoided, the anxiety attack sometimes can be as well. There's also the tightness in the throat you experience when your boss tells you to come into his office, and he doesn't look happy.

Food Allergies Or Intolerance - Food can sometimes cause the throat to feel tight. This is not the same as the swallowing problem noted earlier. Here, the tightness is due to swelling, which in turn is either caused by a food allergy or an intolerance to a certain kind of food. Some people will experience tightness in the throat when eating something that contains gluten. Gluten can create what resembles an allergic reaction, but actually isn't. Still, the throat may feel tight or swollen. In the case of an allergic reaction, the tightness is definitely the result of swelling.

Acid Reflux and Other Diseases - Not all cases of acid reflux disease will have throat tightness as a symptom. It depends upon how far up the esophagus stomach acid travels. If it reaches all the way up to the throat, tightness will usually be experienced, as the muscles in both the esophagus and the airways will react to the presence of the stomach acid. Stomach disorders can in some cases cause tightness in the throat, but this is generally due more to anxiety than to the stomach problem itself. This is similar to the case involving hyperthyroidism, where the tightness would be considered a secondary symptom, brought about by being concerned or worrying over one or more of the primary symptoms. While on the subject of diseases, there are no doubt many different diseases which can cause a tightness in the throat, either as a primary symptom or as a secondary symptom. Tightness in the throat is often experienced when one has a cold, the flu, or some other bacterial or viral infection affecting either the respiratory or the gastrointestinal system.


Remedies - Finding the right treatment for throat tightness depends of course on the cause. There are some remedies, however, that work in the majority of cases, even in those cases where anxiety may be the issue. Drinking plenty of liquids can help to relieve tightness, as well as prevent it from occurring in the first place. Sucking on a lozenge can sometimes provide relief if the tightness is due to swelling, as can gargling a mild saline solution. If all else fails, try the remedy that doctors, as well as grandmothers, recommend, a bowl of hot chicken soup. Chicken soup with a little garlic added is an even better remedy.