Tight feeling in throat can affect both adults and children. It can occur frequently or persist indefinitely. It causes tension and pressure in the throat that causes a feeling to swallow frequently. Continue reading to explore more on the symptoms, causes, and how to get rid of this condition.
Signs and Symptoms of Tight Feeling in Throat
Tightness in the throat is normally characterized by various symptoms. You may feel like:
- Having tension and pressure in your throat.
- A lump in the throat causing tightness.
- Your throat is swollen.
- Having a tender and sore throat.
- Having a tight band that is around your throat.
- Something is tied around your throat.
- There is something that is causing constriction in your throat.
- Having anxiety and tenderness in your throat.
- Tightness near your thyroid area.
- Your throat muscles are tight.
Tightness in the throat may also be accompanied by a feeling of anxiety or fear and increases stress that occurs without concrete reason. The tightness can be mild or severe and can change from day today.
Causes of Tight Feeling in Throat
There are different conditions that can cause tightness in your throat. They include:
- Allergic Reaction
An allergic reaction occurs when your body immune system mistakenly considers harmless things like allergens in foods, pollen grain, and pet dander or molds to be a threat to your body. Therefore, it releases antibodies to fight the allergens and hence causing symptoms like tight throat, and stuffy nose.
Other things like venom from insects and side effects of medication can also trigger an allergic reaction. The severe allergic reaction can cause anaphylaxis that is a life-threatening condition when not treated.
It can cause symptoms like difficulty breathing, nausea, vomiting, low blood pressure, hives, swollen tongue, coughing, chest pain, increased heartbeats, and pain in lower abdomen. This condition can be treated with anti-histamine medications.
According to American Psychological Association, anxiety means ‘’ emotion characterized by feelings of tension, worried thoughts and physical changes like increase in blood pressure’’. When anxious, you may feel tightness in throat.
Anxiety can result from environmental factors, genetics, brain chemistry, medical factors and use or withdrawal from the use of illicit substances. Other symptoms of anxiety include chest pain, headaches, chills, sweating, shaking, rapid heart rate, lightheadedness, dizziness, weakness and tingling hands.
- Gastroesophageal Reflux [GERD]
An acid from the stomach can move upwards into the esophagus to cause a condition known as a heartburn. This is a condition that affects many people globally. According to American College of Gastroenterology research, over 15 million Americans experience this condition on daily basis.
In addition to causing tightness in throat, heartburn can cause other symptoms such as difficulty swallowing, coughing, bad breath, and hoarseness, bitter or sore test in the mouth, wheezing and feeling a lump in the throat.
- Thyroid Disorders
Goiter is a disorder that results from an enlarged thyroid gland. The thyroid gland plays an important role in producing hormones that are important in metabolic rate of your body. However, abnormal enlargement of this gland can cause tightness in throat
According to American Thyroid Association, goiter is linked to a thyroid gland that produces excessive hormones, too little hormones or even thyroid gland that is producing the right amount of hormone. Goiter is also associated with other symptoms like difficulty swallowing, hoarseness, swelling in front of the neck, coughing and difficulty breathing.
- Throat Cancer
Throat cancer is a tumor that develops in the throat, it can affect the pharynx or the larynx. Throat cancer can also affect the epiglottis. When cancerous lumps increase in size, they can cause tightness in throat. Along with throat tightness, symptoms of throat cancer include ear pain, coughing, difficulty swallowing, sore throat, weight loss, hoarseness, and a lump in the throat.
Throat infections can cause tightness in the throat in addition with other symptoms like pain when swallowing, difficulty breathing, swollen lymph nodes, chills, fever, headache, bad breath, loss of voice or hoarseness, nausea, vomiting, swollen tonsils, and blisters on throat. The common infections include:
Tonsillitis can result from both bacterial and viral infection. This infection normally clear on its own within 10 days. The common symptoms include fever, difficulty swallowing, coughing, sore throat, headache, ear pain, swollen tonsils, chills and swollen lymph nodes.
- Strep Throat
A sore throat is a bacterial infection caused by streptococcal bacteria. It normally affects the pharynx, larynx, and tonsils. A sore throat is common among children although it can also affect adults. This condition is characterized by swollen lymph nodes, fever, sore throat and generally feeling unwell.
- Common Cold
This is a viral infection that normally affects the upper respiratory system. It is characterized by tightness in throat, headache, coughing, stuffy and runny nose, fever, and sneezing. This infection normally clears on its own within 7 to days.
- Hay Fever
Exposing yourself to substances that triggers an allergic reaction can lead to hay fever. The symptoms include nasal congestion, runny nose, itchy or dry throat, coughing, and headache.
- Environmental pollutants.
- Drainage that results from a sinus
- Exposure to certain types of chemicals
Tight Feeling in Throat and Chest
Tightness in chest and throat can result from the following:
This is a disease that causes inflammation of air passages walls. Inflamed air passages may cause tightness and other breathing complications when supplying air to and from the lungs. Along with throat and chest tightness, other symptoms of asthma include:
- Difficult breathing.
- Breathe shortness.
- Difficult sleeping.
It is difficult to cure this condition. However, it can be controlled through inhalers containing corticosteroids. When having severe symptoms, the doctor may prescribe oral or intravenous corticosteroids. To clear the airways, you can also take prescribed medicines like leukotriene.
This is a condition that results from insufficient supply of oxygenated blood to the heart. The usually experience pain in chest and tightness in both chest and throat. Other symptoms of angina include:
- Pain in back, neck, arms, shoulders, and jaws.
- Excessive sweating.
- Breathe shortness.
It is important to visit your healthcare provider when experiencing the above symptoms. It may also be an indication of serious life-threatening conditions like a heart attack.
- Heart Failure
When the muscles of your heart are weakened and cannot pump enough blood to different parts of your body, it may cause a condition known as heart failure. The patient normally experiences tightness in the chest along with other symptoms that include:
- Shortness of breath.
- Swollen abdomen.
- Irregular pulse.
- Swollen feet.
- Weight gain
- Loss of appetite
- Persistence coughing
- Body weakness
This heart problem can be managed through lifestyle changes. For instance, it is important to quit smoking and excessive consumption of alcohol, minimize sodium intake, regular exercise, sufficient rest and lowering the amount of cholesterol in your body. Surgery may also be required to fix the affected muscles.
The other causes that we have already explained like gastroesophageal reflux disease and anxiety can also cause tightness in both throat and chest.
How to Get Rid of Tight Feeling in Throat
To get rid of tightness in your throat, you may be required to use home remedy treatment, over-the-counter medication or using prescribed medicines. Serious conditions like throat cancer that causes lump inside throat require a surgical operation to remove the lump. We have explained the various treatment methods below:
Treatment of Tight Feeling in Throat
Treatment of throat tightness varies depending on the respective causes as shown below:
- Treatment of Tightness Due to Anxiety
Anxiety can have different negative effects on your body and one of them being tightness in throat. Worrying more can also increase the symptoms of anxiety. Finding tips to lower your anxiety can help to reduce the symptoms. Some of the tips include:
- Drinking Water.
Drinking water while anxious helps to reduce tightness in the throat by keeping it moist. It also hydrates and cools your body to reduce other symptoms of anxiety-like sweating. It also provides a feeling of calmness in the body.
Exercising and doing different types of activities can help to release mental stress and muscle tension that are present when anxious. Therefore, it reduces different symptoms of anxiety along with tightness in throat.
- Taking Herbal Teas.
Herbal teas have calming effects that help to decrease both mental and physical stress. Taking a glass twice daily can help to relieve throat tightness. Some of the natural herbs you can use to make the tea include chamomile, valerian, or passionflower.
Undergoing psychological counseling can help to reduce mental stress or depression which are the major causes of anxiety.
- Adopting a Healthy Lifestyle.
Taking a balanced diet, exercising regularly, and having enough time to rest can help to reduce the stress that causes anxiety. In the long run, you will be preventing symptoms of anxiety like tight feeling in throat.
- Relaxation and Therapies.
Spending some time to meditate, rest or sleep can help to release a mental stress that causes anxiety. On the other hand, deep breathing exercise and yoga can also help to release tension buildup.
- Treatment of Tightness Due to Allergy
Allergic reaction to various allergens in foods, medicines, pollen and other things can cause constriction of air passages. This cause a tightness in throat and other symptoms. There is the various treatment you can use to get rid of allergic reaction. They include:
- Avoid food and other triggers that cause an allergic
- Take over-the-counter anti-histamine medication to get rid of an allergic reaction.
- Go for prescribed anti-histamine medicines.
- Stay indoors during windy weather condition to prevent pollen, dust and other allergen triggers.
- Treatment of Tightness Due to GERD
Acid reflux or gastroesophageal reflux in the major cause of tightness in throat. There is the various treatment you can use to get rid of this condition. Some of them include:
- Avoid excessive consumption of alcohol, caffeine or carbonated drinks.
- Refrain from taking foods like onion, garlic, tomatoes, citrus fruits, and spicy foods.
- Eat a small portion of food at a time.
- Take anti-acid medications.
- Raise your head when sleeping by elevating mattress on one side.
- Do not sleep immediately after taking meals.
- Consult your doctor if the condition persists.
- Treatment of Tightness Due to Thyroid Disorders
Swollen thyroid can cause difficulty swallowing and a feeling of tightness in throat. In such a case a surgical procedure may be required to get rid of an enlarged thyroid gland.
Hypothyroidism is diagnosed through a blood test and it is treated through taking prescribed medicines by a professional healthcare provider. Other treatments include administration of synthetic thyroid hormone to compensate its deficiency in the body.
Home Remedies for Tight Feeling in Throat
There are various home remedies you can use to treat throat tightness. Some of them are readily available in your kitchen while others can be obtained from a natural drug store within your locality. Some of them include:
- Saline Water
Gargling saline water helps to relieve inflammation and irritation that may accompany throat tightness. You simply dissolve 1 tablespoon of salt in a glass of warm water. Stir well to mix and gargle the solution for 3 minutes. Repeat this treatment 3 times a day.
- Honey and Lemon
Honey and lemon can help to soothe a tight throat. They also contain vitamins that provide relief from the sore or blistered throat. All you need to do is that, squeeze lemon juice into a glass of warm water and add 1 tablespoon of raw honey. Drink the solution twice daily.
- Aloe Vera
Apart from treating external skin conditions, Aloe Vera can also be used to soothe and calm the interior part of your body. This treatment can cure tightness in the throat that results from an allergic reaction and acid reflux. You simply consume 1 tablespoon of Aloe Vera mixed with a half glass of water twice daily.
- Baking Soda
Baking soda is an effective remedy for the treatment of tightness in the throat that results from acid reflux. It simply neutralized the acid that causes heartburn. It also provides a great relief from the sore and tight throat. All you need is to consume a glass of water mixed ½ tablespoon of baking soda.
Lavender oil is effective in calming down the tight throat that results from stress. Add some lavender essential oil together with carrier oil into a bathing tub containing warm water and soak yourself for 10 minutes. Adding some drops on the pillow can also guarantee you a better sleep.
- Fresh Fruits and Vegetables
Drinking a mixture of different fruit juice and eating plenty of vegetables contain a variety of vitamins, minerals and carbohydrates help to boost your immune system. Strong body immune system helps to keep different infections and diseases that cause tight throat at bay.
- Eucalyptus and Mint Leaves
Eucalyptus and mint leaves help to open up your sinuses as well as soothing inflammation and irritation inside your throat. To prepare this remedy, boil some eucalyptus and mint leaves in a pot containing some water. Once boiled, remove it from the heat source and place it in an open area. Cover yourself with a towel over the pot to inhale the vapor for 5 minutes.
- Honey and Grape Juice
Honey and grape juice is also found to provide a great relief inflammation and irritation that may accompany a tight feeling in throat. You simply add 2 tablespoons of honey with equal amount of grape juice and consume. Repeat this treatment 3 times a day.
When to see a Doctor
Visit your healthcare provider once you start experiencing the following:
- Difficult when breathing due to obstruction.
- Presence of a painless lump in your throat.
- When the throat tightness persists for long regardless of using home remedies.
- Difficult to swallow food or drinks.
- Stiffness in the neck.
- Having chest pain.
- Fever of 39.4 degrees Celsius or more
The doctor will perform both physical examination and blood test to determine the cause of your condition. He or she will prescribe medications or treatment to cure the condition.
Further Sources and References:
- Tightness in throat anxiety: http://www.anxietycentre.com/anxiety/symptoms/tight-throat-feeling.shtml
- Tight feeling in throat: http://www.med-health.net/Throat-Feels-Tight.html
- Causes of tightness in throat: https://www.healthline.com/health/tightness-in-throat
- Tightness in throat and chest: http://www.newhealthadvisor.com/Tightness-in-Chest-and-Throat.html
- How to relieve throat tightness: https://mavcure.com/relieve-throat-tightness-symptoms-causes-treatment-home-remedies/
- Throat obstruction Home Remedies: http://www.healthguidance.org/entry/15654/1/Throat-Obstruction-Home-Remedies.html
- Tightness in throat thyroid: https://www.verywell.com/thyroid-disease-causes-4013368
- Anxiety disorder symptoms: http://terrellparke922.skyrock.com/3067597763-Anxiety-Disorder-Symptoms-How-To-Stop-That-Tight-Throat-Feeling.html