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A lump in the throat sensation or the feeling that something is stuck in the throat often occurs. Usually this feeling is at the level of the larynx. Because of this, there is a tendency to scrape, cough or swallow. Sometimes it is also accompanied by a burning, painful or irritated throat. Although people with a lust are often very worried, it is usually an innocent problem.


Most frequent symptoms of a lump in the throat sensation: 

  • Lump in the throat sensation

  • feels like a golf ball, tennis ball, fur ball... is stuck in my throat

  • feels like my tie is too tight

  • feel like I am being strangled

  • my throat feels swollen

  • The symptoms can be mimicked by pushing on the cartilage in the neck just below the Adam's apple.

  • The lump comes and goes depending on the day.

  • Symptoms are usually best in the morning and worse later in the day

  • Stress aggravates the symptoms

  • Saliva is difficult to swallow, yet, food is easy to swallow

  • Eating, in fact, often makes the tightness go away for a time

  • The symptoms are similar to getting choked up at a wedding or funeral


Read more about the causes and treatment here.




There are two valves in the esophagus or swallowing tube. They are normally lightly contracted and they relax when you swallow, so that food can pass through them going to the stomach. They then squeeze closed again to prevent regurgitation of the stomach contents. If the normal contraction becomes a spasm (like a Charley horse of the calf muscle) these symptoms start. Stress often makes these spasms much worse. Many people have experienced neck tightness when stressed and this is similar. Even if not caused by stress, stress will make the spasm much worse. Relaxation in many forms (from alcohol to meditation) may improve the symptoms.This syndrome results from a spasm in the cricopharyngeus muscle. It is a self-limiting disorder that will resolve on its own.




The voice organ and its function are examined by an ENT doctor and a voice therapist (speech therapist). The voice has 3 functions: breathing, protecting the airway while swallowing and speaking. Every person is dependent on these 3 functions every moment of the day.


In addition to a thorough questioning and a clinical examination of the neck, an inspection of the vocal cords (laryngoscopy) takes place at rest and during vocalisation. This is supplemented by a stroboscopy, research in which through short flashes of light, the vibration pattern of the vocal cords is delayed and thus displayed in more detail.


An exam of the neck and throat is extemely important to eliminate serious problems. In fact, it enters most people's minds that a lump in the throat might be a cancer. In practice, real lumps in the throat, such as a cancer are not felt. It is one of the reasons that a cancer can get so big before it is discovered. It probably is fortunate that we don't have great sensation in the throat as we would then feel every particle of food, with every meal, as it travels down the throat. So, lacking great sensation in the throat, problems are a little mysterious.



A lump in the throat sensation usually goes by itself. You are advised to consult a doctor if:
• you have a lump for longer than one month or repeatedly
• you especially feel the lump in the throat while eating
• your voice is hoarse or hoarse
• the lump in the throat is accompanied by ear or throat pain


A thorough larynx examination that excludes other possible underlying causes is the key to treatment. This consists mainly of reassurance. A test treatment with a muscle relaxant can be set.

You should know the following:

  1. These symptoms are so characteristic that as soon as a patient tells me they have a lump in the throat, I can usually describe many of their symptoms to them.

  2. After the exam, just knowing the tightness is not a sign of cancer frequently helps relieve the discomfort.

  3. You will get better. Often improvement is over several weeks or even a few months, but occurs once one knows what the problem is.

  4. Warm fluids should comfort the throat. Consider a cup of warm tea (preferably without caffeine) when the lump is bothersome.

  5. If stress lets up, the symptoms improve. Think about what stress might be making this lump worse.

  6. Muscle relaxants, such as Valium, would be a good treatment, except for their addictive properties.

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