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Muscle tension and certain health conditions can cause a feeling of something stuck in your throat. Stress, fatigue, and anxiety could also contribute.
Feeling a lump in your throat is not uncommon. Many people experience this painless sensation at least once in their lifetime. Some people describe it as feeling like there is something stuck in their throat, but they can still eat and drink.
Feeling a lump, bump, or swelling in your throat without having an actual lump is known as globus sensation.
The most important thing that sets globus sensation apart from other potential causes is its impact on swallowing. If you have difficulty swallowing, you may be experiencing another, more serious issue.
If you experience this sensation but have no difficulty swallowing, you’re likely experiencing the common globus sensation.
Learn more about what causes a lump in your throat, when it’s a sign of something more serious, and what you can do to ease it.
Doctors and researchers are not quite sure what causes this condition. It can impact people of any age or sex, and it may come and go throughout your life.
Other common conditions that can cause a feeling of a lump in your throat include:
When they’re not in use for talking or swallowing, throat muscles are often relaxed. However, if they do not relax correctly, you may feel more tension than usual. This can sometimes feel like a lump or bump in your throat.
Stomach acid entering your esophagus can cause a feeling of muscle tension or swelling in your throat’s tissues. This may feel like a lump or blockage in your throat.
It’s also possible for reflux to push up into the larynx and pharynx, which can also create the globus sensation.
Excess mucus from the nose and sinuses can accumulate in the back of your throat. This is known as postnasal drip. As it slides down your throat, it can cause a lump-like feeling by causing an increase in sensitivity.
Stress, grief, anxiety, and pride are intense emotions that may trigger globus sensation. They can also make the feeling worse. Extreme fatigue may also cause this feeling.
It’s important to know that globus sensation is not dangerous, and it does not cause additional complications. That means contacting a doctor is often unnecessary.
However, this sensation can be confused with other disorders that do need a doctor’s attention. You should call a doctor within a few days if you continue to experience the lump in your throat or if you develop other symptoms.
For example, difficulty swallowing can be a sign of a larger problem and should be addressed immediately.
Seeing an ENT specialist
If you’re unsure of your symptoms and would like a clear diagnosis, make an appointment with a doctor. They may refer you to an otolaryngologist, or an ear, nose, and throat (ENT) specialist.
This doctor will examine your mouth, nose, and throat. They will pass a flexible, ultrathin telescope with a light through your nose to see inside your sinuses and down into your throat
This examination may not confirm a globus sensation diagnosis. What it can do is offer another explanation for your symptoms. For example, if acid reflux is suspected, additional testing may be done to confirm that diagnosis.
Globus sensation is benign. That means it’s not a serious condition and will not result in more serious complications.
However, some conditions may mimic globus sensation at first. In other words, the first symptoms may seem like globus sensation, but additional symptoms will appear eventually.
You should pay attention to additional symptoms that may pop up if you experience a lump in your throat occasionally. In most cases, a globus sensation is a sign of nothing serious, but being alert to changes can help you catch other possible problems early.
These symptoms include:
- difficulty swallowing or choking
- a lump or mass that can be seen or felt
- a fever
- weight loss
- muscle weakness
Globus sensation has no treatment. That’s because doctors and researchers are not sure what causes it, and in most people, the sensation goes away quickly.
But it’s important to know that if you experience this sensation from time to time, you’re not alone. This is a very common feeling, and it is not a sign of a more serious problem.
Some of the causes of the lump-in-throat feeling are treatable. If a doctor discovers that one of these conditions is responsible for your globus sensation, treatment may help ease the feeling.
Treatment for some common causes of feeling a lump in your throat include:
If muscle tension is causing the feeling, a doctor may refer you to a speech pathologist or physical therapist to learn how to ease the tightness when it occurs.
The most common treatment for postnasal drip is a nasal spray.
Some other treatments include drinking plenty of fluid to keep the secretions thin and mobile. Over-the-counter (OTC) decongestants may also help remove the buildup and eliminate the drip.
Depression, anxiety, grief, and other mental health issues can sometimes temporarily cause globus sensation. Talk therapy or treatment with antidepressants may help treat the underlying issues that lead to this feeling.
Both OTC antacids and prescription reflux medications can help ease acid reflux. When this is treated, the sensation in your throat should ease.
Simply chewing and swallowing food may be all you need to ease the feeling. Swallowing saliva may cause you to feel a lump in your throat, but swallowing food may ease it.
Because researchers do not know what causes globus sensation, it’s difficult to understand how to prevent it. Because of this, the best course of action is to take care of your throat as well as you can.
Follow these healthy throat tips to prevent possible issues with either globus sensation or other causes of having a lump in your throat:
Drink plenty of water
Staying hydrated is good for more than your skin. It keeps fluids and secretions throughout your body moving properly.
Your throat, sinuses, and mouth are greatly impacted if you use cigarettes and tobacco. Using any of these products increases your risk for many conditions, including cancer.
Rest your voice when you’re sick
When you have a cold or something more serious like laryngitis, rest your throat. The muscles inside your throat are already inflamed and sore from the illness. Using them too much can cause irreversible damage.
Employ lifestyle habits to avoid reflux
If the lump-in-throat sensation is caused by acid reflux, a few lifestyle habits may help ease the sensation. These habits
- waiting at least 3 hours to lie down after eating
- limiting or avoiding trigger foods, such as spicy or high fat foods
- losing weight if your doctor has recommended it
Globus sensation can feel a little odd when it occurs, but for the most part, it’s a benign condition and there’s no need to worry.
However, if you find yourself feeling like there’s a lump in your throat often and it’s accompanied by other symptoms, such as difficulty swallowing, pain, or a fever, it’s important to talk with a doctor immediately.