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Globus Pharyngeus Felt Like a Lump in My Throat

Updated on March 24, 2017
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Rhonda is an award-winning travel writer/photographer at AlbomAdventures. Based in New Zealand she has visited 54 countries on 6 continents.

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It Felt Like There Was a Lump in My Throat

With a few simple lifestyle changes, I finally got rid of the sensation of a lump in my throat. This is good news for me and for other sufferers of Globus Pharyngeus. My otolaryngologist is the one who diagnosed my condition as Cricopharyngeus Spasm (aka Globus Pharyngeus). Okay, that is far too many big words for one sentence. So, let's start from the beginning...

I had been experiencing an annoying sensation that felt like a lump in my throat for a while. Today I saw a head and neck specialist and found out it's not a serious cause for concern. The condition has several names, and is most commonly known as Globus Pharyngeus.

In this article, I will describe my symptoms, the diagnostic medical procedure, and the simple things I need to do to get rid of the feeling of a lump in my throat.

Important Disclaimer

I am not a medical professional, nor am I offering any medical advice. This page only tells my story.

Symptoms of Globus Pharyngeus

It all started about a month ago with the feeling of a lump in my throat. It's a strange sensation, as I would imagine I would feel if someone were choking me, but not quite enough to actually block the airway. Then I became aware of a few more symptoms, including:

  • Feeling of a lump in my throat, which eased during eating
  • Mild chest pains
  • Heartburn and gas
  • Bloated stomach (not always a symptom, but it was for me)

A Few Simple Lifestyle Changes

The best part of my visit to the doctor today was I was told this condition will go away. Just a few simple lifestyle changes for me:

  • Reduce stress.
  • Elevate my head when I sleep, so my neck is above my stomach.
  • Eating certain foods only in the morning, like dairy, acidic fruits (oranges, kiwi fruit, etc.) and no more than one cup of coffee per day.
  • If I have a morning cup of coffee, I need to drink an equal amount of water.
  • Avoiding fatty foods a few hours before bedtime, and no eating at all within an hour of going to sleep.
  • One month of medication, with a follow-up visit to my GP at that time.

Update - After following these suggestions, the lump in throat sensation is now gone!

Different Names, Same Condition

Globus Pharyngeus

Cricopharyngeus Spasm

Lump in my throat

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Anatomy of the Larnyx

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So... What Is Globus Pharyngeus?

Globus Pharyngeus occurs when the cricopharyngeal muscle becomes too tight. This muscle is located behind, and is attached to, the cricoid cartilage. The muscle acts like a sphincter to prevent food from coming back into the mouth after swallowing. When it goes into spasm, it feels like a lump sensation in the throat.

What causes the cricopharyngeal muscle to become too tight, you might ask? Most of the time, it happens as a result of reflux and stress.

A good explanation of Globus Pharyngeus

How the Doctor Confirmed the Diagnosis

My doctor wanted to see what was going on in my throat. First he sprayed a numbing agent into my nose and throat. Then he used a Trans-Nasal Endoscope to see what was going on. He stuck it down my throat, entering through my nose. The numbing agent worked perfectly, so it really wasn't too bad—just odd-feeling. Even after the numbing agent wore off, there was no pain at all.

Here is a youtube video of the procedure (not mine, someone else's!).

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© 2009 Rhonda Albom

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    • profile image

      Debbe 8 days ago

      The doctor told me that it sound like what people describe when they have acid refux. It disappeared for one whole week last week after I had some healthy green drinks, ate edamame and nori (seaweed). I don't know if any of those things helped but it did disappear and I had been having the spasms every single day about ten times a day before that. I wondered if maybe I had low iodine and whether the nori helped, I wondered if it was the edamame....or if the green drinks helped with acid reflux. I don't know yet but will keep you posted. Today I felt one try to start after a seven day break as I was taking a sip of ginger ale. Looks like I definitely cannot drink soda still.

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      Rach 20 months ago

      The other night I woke up with tightening in between shoulder blades and went to doc they said I had pulled muscles. Since then I feel like I have a lump stuck in my throat and I am convinced now it's serious... I can eat and drink but it feels like it's there stu k just in the nape of my nrvk

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      Austin 22 months ago

      Hey, I'm a 15 year old boy who has a problem like when I eat, it feels like some of my food just gets stuck in my throat and I gotta burp and like it goes half way and then it stops and I gotta kinda push and that's when my food comes up and it feels like it's just coming from the throat. Its a really uncomfortable feeling I've been to the doctor and I've had neck X-rays and a barium done and he said everything looked fine it's been going on for abt 3 weeks now, I'm being sent to a ear, nose, an throat doctor for further test. I'm probably gonna have the scope done for more information too. I just wanna know if there's anybody else having the symptoms I have. Sometimes it feels like somebody's just standing on my neck or something. It only happens when I eat tho. I've lost weight after weight. I've played sports my whole life and worked out I thought I was a healthy kid. Does any else have the symptoms I do?

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      Rhonda Albom 2 years ago from New Zealand

      Hi RV,

      I am not a doctor, but my best suggestion would probably be to go to a different one. I was lucky, I went to one who knows and understands the condition as was able to help me.

      As for elevating your head - there are two ways I know, one is with pillows, sort of building a ramp upwards. The other is similar but putting the pillows, or a wedge under the mattress so the entire head end of the bed is elevated. Again, I stress I am not a medical person, so I can only give my own thoughts.

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      RV 2 years ago

      Rhonda... I have been having the same thing for 5 weeks. Sometimes when the "lump in throat" is that bad (I tend to clear my throat a lot!), it turns it to an irritation, which then turns it into pain.

      I don't drink coffee... I was prescribed acid reflux medicine. The ENT said I have nothing.

      I did/do have stress (for dumb simple things).

      I don't know how to "elevate my head" when sleeping.

      Now it's been in lingering mode, and the "lump" NOW switches from the left to right side of uvula (depends on the day), but the feeling is just behind the uvula.

      Any suggestions Rhonda?

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      Rhonda Albom 2 years ago from New Zealand

      @tonyleather: Thanks Tony.

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      Paula Hite 3 years ago from Virginia

      I worked through my issue with an acupuncturist and Chinese herbals. I also changed my diet and now understand what my triggers are.

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      tonyleather 3 years ago

      Fascinating lens full of great information.

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      Rhonda Albom 3 years ago from New Zealand

      @nightbear lm: I am not sure that is the same, so this might not help you. Either way it's good to know you are not alone. I like that description.

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      Rhonda Albom 3 years ago from New Zealand

      @Pat Goltz: Thanks :)

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      Rhonda Albom 3 years ago from New Zealand

      @flinnie lm: I hope you found something that will help you.

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      Rhonda Albom 3 years ago from New Zealand

      @Doc_Holliday: Some days it's still hard to skip a second cup, but now I have tea or hot chocolate instead.

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      Doc_Holliday 3 years ago

      I'm going to give this a go. But restricting coffee to one cup per day will be hard :-(

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      Rhonda Albom 3 years ago from New Zealand

      @moora84: Wow, thanks. Glad my experiences have helped you.

    • flinnie lm profile image

      Gloria Freeman 3 years ago from Alabama USA

      Hi lots of great info here, thanks for sharing.

    • Pat Goltz profile image

      Pat Goltz 3 years ago

      Very informative and well done. Thank you!

    • nightbear lm profile image

      nightbear lm 3 years ago

      Very educational. I actually have experienced this feeling especially when I have tried to hold back crying, like at a movie or something. I call it I'm having a heart attack in my throat. Thanks for informing us.

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      moora84 3 years ago

      I've been suffering from this for a year or so but the last couple of months it got worse I've seen many doctors most of them said it was all in my head others asked me to check my thyroid and few asked for various tests but no one got what I was talking about so I started looking it up on line I wrote I feel like someone is choking me and the search led me to your page so I started by doing every thing you wrote minus the medication and now I feel so much better ... You changed my life by sharing your story with us and on behalf of my Mom and Dad who suffered with me I THANk YOU

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      Rhonda Albom 3 years ago from New Zealand

      @CherylsArt: I guess there really is something to healthy eating.

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      Evelyn Saenz 4 years ago from Royalton

      Congratulations on your Purple Star! There is nothing better than a story with a happy ending and learning right from the start that with simple changes to your lifestyle you were able to cure your lump in your throat got me hooked. I had never heard of the problem before. Thank you for writing such an informative lens.

      Squid Angel Blessed!

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      Rhonda Albom 3 years ago from New Zealand

      @BarbRad: You are lucky it goes away quickly. Mine lingered and lingered and wasn't going away.

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      Rhonda Albom 3 years ago from New Zealand

      @cmadden: Thanks.

    • RhondaAlbom profile image
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      Rhonda Albom 3 years ago from New Zealand

      @tedwritesstuff24: I hope it helps you too.

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      Rhonda Albom 3 years ago from New Zealand

      @anonymous: I do both for colds. If you are going to eat it raw, take it slow, it feels really spicy.

    • RhondaAlbom profile image
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      Rhonda Albom 3 years ago from New Zealand

      @anonymous: I eat tons of garlic. Maybe that's part of why it doesn't bother me anymore. Great suggestion.

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      Rhonda Albom 3 years ago from New Zealand

      @drmork: Thanks for reading.

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      Rhonda Albom 3 years ago from New Zealand

      @moonlitta: It is no fun when it goes on for days, weeks, months and more.

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      Rhonda Albom 3 years ago from New Zealand

      @Aunt-Mollie: I completely agree, that is why I went to the doctor.

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      Rhonda Albom 3 years ago from New Zealand

      @anonymous: Sorry, I don't remember what it was called, and I haven't needed it for over a year.

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      Rhonda Albom 3 years ago from New Zealand

      @anonymous: I am really sorry to hear that. I guess I was really lucky to find a doctor who knew what it was and gave me tips to help me.

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      Rhonda Albom 3 years ago from New Zealand

      @CanHealthInsure: Sorry :(

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      Rhonda Albom 3 years ago from New Zealand

      @happy-birthday: I hope it helped you.

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      Birthday Wishes 3 years ago from Here

      Very informative lens! Thanks a lot for sharing!

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      anonymous 3 years ago

      What was the meds he gave u

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      anonymous 3 years ago

      @anonymous: Fresh garlic in food or do you just peel one n swallow it?

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      CanHealthInsure 3 years ago

      God, this lens is making my throat tighten..

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      I've had this for 4 years now. I can't get rid of the mucus in my throat. I've been to 5 ear nose and throat dr's and most had no idea. One said it was Globus, but didn't know how to treat it.

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      Aunt-Mollie 4 years ago

      I'm glad to know that your condition wasn't more serious. Sometimes a 'lump-in-the-throat feeling' can be signs of cancer of the esophagus. Seeing a doctor is important.

    • profile image

      moonlitta 4 years ago

      It's a weird feeling and I've had it, but not for so long as to feel I need medical advice. Maybe I was just lucky...:)

    • drmork profile image

      drmork 4 years ago

      Great lens! Very informative. Thanks for sharing!

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      I had the same problem and people told me it's because of stress then a magical thing happened thanks to a friend of mine who told me the problem is with indigestion , advsed me to eat fresh garlic and it was gone just like that!!! Try it

    • tedwritesstuff24 profile image

      TedWritesStuff 4 years ago

      Thank you for sharing.

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      cmadden 4 years ago

      Glad you were able to get it corrected. Interesting lens!

    • giovi64 lm profile image

      giovi64 lm 4 years ago

      Beautiful and interesting lens!

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      Barbara Radisavljevic 4 years ago from Templeton, CA

      I think I only get this sensation after I swallow a bunch of large vitamin supplements, but it goes away quickly. I now try to take them one at a time if they are large. Very informative, though, and it's nice to know ahead of time how this can be prevented.

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      Cheryl Paton 4 years ago from West Virginia

      It's amazing how many things can simply clear up with a change to a healthier diet.

    • magnetic06 lm profile image

      magnetic06 lm 4 years ago

      great lens, I do believe it will help many people with this problem so much ignored by the doctors all over the world. Thank you so much for sharing, really incredible lens

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      Rhonda Albom 4 years ago from New Zealand

      @anonymous: Interesting solution. Glad it works for you.

    • OUTFOXprevention1 profile image

      OUTFOXprevention1 4 years ago

      Interesting topic to share. Thanks for the lens.

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