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Tightness In Throat – Causes & Remedies

Prof. Dr. Babar Hussain Khan

5 min read

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Are you feeling like something is stuck in your throat but do not know the cause? It is normal and is usually not a matter of concern. It may feel like you have a lump in your throat and can accompany other symptoms, including choking scratchiness, or difficulty swallowing. Your throat, or pharynx, has many vital functions, such as breathing, speaking, or swallowing.

When you feel throat tightness, these normal functions can become disrupted. It can leave you with an uncomfortable feeling, which can be temporary or constant. In this article, we will discuss the causes, home remedies, and treatment options for throat tightness.

Causes Of Throat Tightness

Throat tension or tightness in the throat can occur due to various reasons, which include psychological, physical, and environmental. The core reason behind throat tightness can vary from person to person. You may need to get an evaluation if it stays for a long time. Following are some causes of tightness in the throat that you need to be aware of:

1. Allergic Reaction

A usual reason for throat tension can be an allergic reaction. An allergic reaction, or anaphylaxis shock, can close your throat and make it hard for you to swallow or breathe properly. It may also have other symptoms like hives, rashes, and swelling. Some allergens include foods, pollen, insect bites, latex, etc. Not all allergies may result in tightness in the throat, but if they do, visit your nearest emergency. People with known allergies may carry an EpiPen with them, which can counteract an allergic reaction, in cases of severe allergy.

2. Infection

Viral or bacterial infection can also cause discomfort in your throat. Swollen tonsils or throat inflammation due to such infections can lead to throat tension. Infections that can cause a sensation of throat tightness include strep throat, Covid-19, and influenza. You may also feel other symptoms like fever, chills, trouble swallowing, and body aches. While viral infections may get better themselves, an ENT Specialist in Karachi may be able to provide you with the best treatment.

3. Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)

GERD is a gastrointestinal condition that occurs when stomach acid flows up your food pipe and causes a burning sensation in your throat and chest. Heartburn is one of the most obvious reasons for GERD, but it can also happen if you do not have GERD. It can irritate your throat and cause a feeling of tightness due to swelling.

While you can treat heartburn with an antacid, GERD may damage your health in the long run if you do not treat it. You may have other signs to signify that you have GERD, including bad breath, burping, coughing, hoarseness, and sore throat. Getting treatment for GERD can help you in preventing any long-term effects of GERD on your health.

4. Goiter

Goiter is a disease that can make you feel like you have a lump in your throat. It occurs when your thyroid gland becomes inflamed. This swelling can press on your esophagus and cause a tightening sensation in your throat in addition to breathing and swallowing issues. If you have an unusual swelling in the throat, you should get your thyroid checked.

Swollen thyroid is categorized as hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism, which can be a serious condition that needs a checkup, but swelling can also occur if you do not have this condition.

5. Stress and Anxiety

Mental health issues can sometimes manifest as physical symptoms. Severe anxiety or stress can cause panic attacks, which can make it difficult for you to breathe. It may feel like there is a lump in your throat when you are experiencing a panic attack.

You may also feel dizziness, chest pain, elevated heartbeat, and other distressing signs. Stress can also make your throat muscles tense and make you feel tightness in your throat. It can also damage your health so managing stress can be beneficial in combatting tightness in the throat and many other health issues.

6. Vocal Cord Dysfunction

Another issue that can lead to a tightening sensation in your throat is vocal cord dysfunction. It can make you feel like your throat is closing because of malfunctioning of your vocal cords. It can also affect your breathing, so it is best to consult a doctor as soon as possible.

Treatment Options For Throat Tightness

It is vital to identify the cause in order to treat the tight sensation in your throat. Assessing your symptoms can help you treat your condition. Some causes may happen occasionally, such as heartburn and panic attacks, however, a persistent tightness in throat may require proper medical treatments. It may not be dangerous usually, and some over-the-counter medicines may help treat your condition. This includes viral diseases such as a cold or Covid-19. If you have a bacterial infection, a doctor may prescribe antibiotics or other medications to alleviate your symptoms.

If you have GERD, you should seek treatment as it can be detrimental to your health in the long run. Medicines may be able to help treat GERD and lifestyle changes can help prevent its recurrence. Those with anxiety disorders should consider seeking the help of a psychologist or psychiatrist for proper treatment. Moreover, allergy medication can help relieve symptoms of an allergy. Moreover, anti-inflammatory medicines can help lower swelling in the throat and relieve throat tightness.

Home Remedies For Tightness In Throat

If your throat feels tight due to a medical condition, it may require proper medication and treatment. In some cases, home remedies may help alleviate the tight feeling in your throat.

1. Honey Water

Honey water is a usual remedy to soothe sore throat. It may also help alleviate tightness in the throat that occurs due to influenza and other infections. Drinking warm water and honey also moistens your throat and can treat throat tightness due to excessive vocal cord use.

2. Avoid Overeating

If GERD or heartburn is the reason behind tightness in your throat, you should aim to eat less, especially during the night or before sleeping. Eating digestion-friendly foods like leafy vegetables, oats, and whole grains can reduce the risk of heartburn. Consequently, you should avoid consuming foods that are not good for your stomach. You may lower the portion size of your meal to ensure that you do not overeat.

3. Avoid Allergens

Being aware of your allergies can help identify and keep away allergens that can cause an allergic reaction. A doctor may give you an EpiPen if you come in contact with an allergen by mistake.

4. Try Lozenges

Lozenges are hard candy-like tablets available over the counter. They can usually used for a sore throat as they can stimulate saliva. They may also relieve tightness in the throat.

5. Try Stress Management Techniques

Managing stress and anxiety can lower the likelihood of a panic attack. You can try yoga or meditation to improve your anxiety. If you get a panic attack, try deep breathing or breathing in a bag to calm down. It can relieve your throat tightness too.

6. Raise Your Head While Lying Down

Elevating your head while sleeping can reduce the chances of heartburn by keeping the stomach acid down. You should also stay in a straight position after eating and avoid lying down without digesting your food.

7. Drink Herbal Teas

Herbal teas like chamomile and peppermint can soothe your throat. It can make it easier for you to breathe and swallow and provide relief from tightness in your throat.

8. Use a Humidifier

If you live in an overly dry climate, keeping a humidifier at home can provide moisture to your throat and protect its lining from damage or inflammation. It can also keep the air indoors clean and make it easier for you to breathe.


Tightness in throat can happen to anyone and in most cases, it is not a cause of concern. It is usually a sign of an underlying issue that you must address in order to get treatment. It is usually temporary but if lasts longer than usual, you should seek medical attention.

There are numerous causes behind a tightening sensation in your throat. It can happen due to throat infections, which can be viral or bacterial. Other conditions that can cause tightness in the throat are thyroid, GERD, stress, and anxiety. Additionally, it can also signal an allergic reaction. Most of these conditions may have other symptoms that can help differentiate between the causes. A doctor may present the best course of treatment depending on the cause.

Not just that, some home remedies can also lower inflammation and relieve throat tightness. You can try drinking warm drinks such as herbal teas or honey mixed with water to improve your throat’s condition. Moreover, lowering stress through stress-relieving exercises can also help prevent and treat throat tightness.

Sleeping with your head elevated can also decrease the incidence of heartburn. Furthermore, avoiding allergens and following a healthy lifestyle can help in lowering the likelihood of tightness in the throat. While home remedies are worth a try, you should consult a doctor if the feeling is constant.

Disclaimer: The contents of this article are intended to raise awareness about common health issues and should not be viewed as sound medical advice for your specific condition. You should always consult with a licensed medical practitioner prior to following any suggestions outlined in this article or adopting any treatment protocol based on the contents of this article.

Prof. Dr. Babar Hussain Khan
Prof. Dr. Babar Hussain Khan - Author Prof. Dr. Babar Hussain Khan is a top ENT Specialist with 28 years of experience currently practicing at Hameed Latif Hospital, Lahore. You can book an in-person appointment or an online video consultation with Prof. Dr. Babar Hussain Khan through oladoc.com or by calling at 04238900939.

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