Different conditions can cause a feeling of tightness in the throat. They can range from anxiety to a life-threatening allergic reaction. Let’s look at a few of the more common causes of throat tightness as well as your treatment options.
What Does a Tight Throat Feel Like?
Though it may seem self-explanatory, feelings of throat tightness may be experienced slightly differently by 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 Conditions That Cause Throat Tightness
Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)
Most people experience acid reflux from time to time, especially after large meals or fried food. When this happens, stomach acid flows up into the esophagus and causes symptoms like heartburn. If you experience acid reflux frequently, it is considered gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
Research shows that approximately 20% of adults in Western culture have GERD. In addition to heartburn, GERD can also feel like your throat is tight or that you have a lump in your throat. Other symptoms include:
- A sour taste in your mouth
- Chronic coughing
- Bad breath
GERD can be treated by taking over-the-counter or prescription medication. Additionally, your doctor may recommend lifestyle changes like avoiding certain foods and focusing on getting reflux-friendly foods like leafy greens and lean proteins when grocery shopping at AJ’s Fine Foods.
Allergies cause your body to mistake a harmless substance like pollen as a threat and respond by releasing chemicals that cause allergy symptoms. While some people experience mild symptoms like nasal congestion and watery eyes, others are prone to severe allergic reactions, including anaphylaxis.
This is a life-threatening reaction that 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. It’s a medical emergency and requires treatment with an epinephrine injector and emergency room treatment.
Certain infections like tonsillitis and strep throat can cause your throat to feel tight or sore. If you have an infection, you may also experience symptoms like:
- Painful swallowing
- Swollen glands
- Red or swollen tonsils
- Ear pain
- Laryngitis (loss of voice)
Some infections can be treated at home with over-the-counter medication and lots of rest. However, if you have a fever higher than 103 degrees, a stiff neck or your symptoms are failing to improve, make an appointment with a medical provider to see if additional treatment is needed.
For more information or to schedule an appointment, call Arizona Desert Ear, Nose & Throat Specialists today.