Feels like throat is closing anxiety

Throat Tension: Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment

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Do you feel like you have a tension or tightness in your throat even though you can’t identify a reason for the feeling? You’re not alone. Many people feel this tension. Some feel it every so often. Some feel it regularly. And for some people, it seems as though it never goes away.

Tension or tightness in the throat is often accompanied by a feeling that:

  • you need to swallow frequently to loosen the tension
  • you’ve got a lump in your throat
  • there’s something tied around your throat
  • there’s something blocking your throat or airway
  • there’s a tenderness in your neck
  • your voice is tight or strained

There are a number of reasons that you could be feeling tightness and tension in your throat. Here are some possible causes.


When anxiety makes your throat feel tight or makes you feel like you have something stuck in your throat, the feeling is called “globus sensation.”


There’s a ring of muscle in your throat that opens and closes when you eat. When you are feeling stressed, this ring of muscle can become tense. This tension can feel like something is stuck in your throat or that your throat is tight.

Panic attack

A panic attack is related to stress and anxiety. The sensation that your throat is tightening — even to the point of making it difficult to breathe — is one of the classic signs of a panic attack. Other signs and symptoms include:

  • accelerated heart rate
  • chest pain
  • sweating
  • nausea
  • dizziness
  • chills or heat sensations
  • shaking
  • fear of dying

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a condition in which acid from the stomach moves up into the esophagus and causes a burning sensation in the chest known as heartburn or reflux. Along with the burning sensation in the chest, heartburn can also cause tightness in the throat.


A goiter is an abnormal enlargement of the thyroid gland — which is in the neck, just below the Adam’s apple. Throat tension and tightness is one of the symptoms of a goiter. Other symptoms can include difficulty breathing or swallowing as well as swelling in the front of the throat and neck.

Muscle tension dysphonia (MTD)

Muscle tension dysphonia (MTD) is a voice disorder that can make you feel throat tension. It happens when the muscles around the voice box (larynx) over-tighten during speaking to the point that the voice box does not work efficiently.


An allergic reaction to food or another substance can make you feel tension or a tightening of your throat. When the immune system releases chemicals to combat an allergen, a tight throat is one possible symptom. Others can include a stuffy nose and itching, watering eyes.

Postnasal drip

Head colds, sinus drainage, and nasal allergies can all cause dripping of mucus down the back of the throat. This can lead to irritation that can feel like a lump in the back of your throat.


Both tonsillitis (an inflammation of the tonsils) and strep throat (a bacterial infection of the throat) can cause the sensation of throat tension. Other symptoms of a throat infection can include:

  • fever
  • difficulty swallowing
  • earache
  • headache
  • laryngitis (loss of your voice)

Throat tension and tightness can be annoying as well as uncomfortable. It can also be an indication of a condition that needs medical attention:

  • If throat tension lasts for more than a few days, see your doctor for a full diagnosis.
  • Get prompt medical attention if your throat tension is one of a number of symptoms such as:
    • chest pains
    • high fever
    • stiff neck
    • swollen lymph nodes along the neck
    • If you have known allergies and feel a tightness and tension in your throat, take appropriate measures for a possible severe reaction (anaphylaxis) before symptoms become that serious. If you do have an anaphylactic reaction, even if your symptoms seem to have improved, a trip to the emergency room (ER) is still required.

Treatment for throat tension is determined by diagnosis.


Based on your doctor’s recommendation, anxiety can be treated with psychotherapy, medication, or a combination of both. Your doctor might also recommend healthy lifestyle changes, relaxation exercises, and meditation.

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)

Based on your doctor’s diagnosis, GERD can be treated with medications, dietary/lifestyle changes, or a combination of both. It is very rare, but severe cases of GERD might require surgery.


Depending on the cause of the thyroid goiter, it is typically treated with medication, surgery, or radioactive iodine therapy.

Muscle tension dysphonia (MTD)

MTD is most commonly treated with voice therapy that might include resonant voice techniques and massage. If the voice box spasms, Botox injections are sometimes used along with voice therapy.


The first steps in any allergy treatment are identification and avoidance. Your doctor or an allergist can help you identify those allergens that cause you discomfort.

If necessary, there are a number of treatments — including allergy shots — that can be customized to your specific situation.

Postnasal drip

Suggested treatments for postnasal drip include:

  • Humidity: Use a vaporizer or humidifier.
  • Medication: Try an over-the-counter decongestant or antihistamine.
  • Irrigation: Use a saline nasal spray or a neti pot.

Purchase a humidifier, a neti pot, OTC allergy medication, or saline spray now.


While bacterial infections can be treated with antibiotics, viral infections need to resolve on their own. When fighting an infection, rest and hydration are important. If you are concerned about infection, see your doctor.

In most cases, throat tension is not serious, and many of the conditions that have throat tension as a symptom are easily treatable.

Tight Throat Feeling Anxiety Symptoms

Tight throat feeling anxiety symptom description:

This feeling is often described as:

  • Feeling like your throat muscles are tight.
  • Feeling like you have a tight band around your throat.
  • Feeling like you have a lump or tightness in your throat.
  • Constant lump in the throat feeling.
  • A tight throat feeling that comes and goes.
  • Anxiety throat tension and tenderness.
  • Throat pressure.
  • A tightness in the throat thyroid area.
  • Feels like there is something tied around the throat.
  • Globus Hystericus.
  • Globus anxiety.
  • Feel there is something blocking the throat or airway.

You feel you have a tightness or tension in the throat area even though there isn’t a real reason for it. Sometimes this tension and pressure causes you to feel you have to swallow frequently in an attempt to clear or loosen your throat.

This tight throat feeling can occur rarely, frequently, or persist indefinitely. For example, you may feel a tight throat once in a while and not that often, feel it off and on fairly regularly, or have a tight throat all the time.

This feeling may precede, accompany, or follow an escalation of other anxiety sensations and symptoms, or occur by itself.

This tight throat feeling can precede, accompany, or follow an episode of nervousness, anxiety, fear, and elevated stress, or occur ‘out of the blue’ and for no apparent reason.

This tight throat feeling can range in intensity from barely noticeable, to moderate, to severe. It can also come in waves, where it’s strong one moment and barely noticeable the next.

This tight feeling can change from day to day, and/or from moment to moment.

All of the above combinations and variations are common.

What causes an anxiety tight throat feeling?

Medical Advisory

Can anxiety cause a constant tight throat feeling? Yes!

Being anxious (nervous, concerned, worried) activates the body’s stress response. The stress response causes immediate physiological, psychological, and emotional changes in the body to enhance its ability to deal with a perceived threat—to either fight with or flee from it. This is the reason the stress response is often referred to as the fight or flight response.[1][2]

Stress responses cause the body’s muscles to tighten so that they are more resilient to damage. This muscle tightening effect can affect any muscle and/or group of muscles in the body, including the muscles in the throat that help you swallow. A tight throat sensation is an example of how the throat can feel when the throat muscles are tightened due to being anxious.

So, being anxious can cause a ‘tight throat feeling.’ Many people who are nervous or anxious experience this feeling (it’s often referred to as having a ‘lump in the throat’ feeling). When you are anxious, this is part of the stress response experience. Therefore, it needn’t be a cause for concern. It’s normal. Most people experience this to a certain degree when anxious or stressed.

Chronic stress, which we call hyperstimulation, can also cause stress response related sensations and symptoms,[3] including having a tight throat. If you’ve been under a lot of stress lately, this could be the very reason you are experiencing a persistent tight throat.

Even though chronic stress may be causing this feeling, it still isn’t a reason for concern. Stress symptoms are harmless, but they are telling you your body is overly stressed.

Tight throat feeling anxiety treatment.

When behaving anxiously causes a tight throat feeling, calming yourself down will bring an end to the stress response and its changes. As your body recovers from the active stress response, this feeling should disappear as your body calms down.

Keep in mind that it can take up to 20 minutes or more for the body to calm down after a major stress response has been triggered. But this is normal and shouldn’t be a cause for concern.

When a tight throat feeling is caused by persistently elevated stress, it may take a lot more time for the body to calm down and recover from the negative effects of stress, and to the point where this feeling completely subsides.

Reducing your body’s stress and giving your body ample time to return to normal, non-hyperstimulated health should cause this feeling to subside in time. Therefore, this symptom needn’t be a cause for concern even though it is being caused by stress.

Sure, this feeling can be unsettling. But it’s not serious or causing your body harm. It also won’t get so serious that you can’t eat or breathe. Stress in itself can’t do that. This tight throat feeling will disappear when your body’s stress has returned to a healthy level.

You can help alleviate this tight throat feeling by relaxing your throat muscles. Gentle throat massage, rolling your neck to release tight muscles, relaxing, relaxing in a warm bath, and light to moderate exercise, for example, can all help eliminate muscle tension symptoms, including this one.

Worrying about this symptom, however, is the worst thing you can do, since worry (behaving anxiously) causes stress responses and is, therefore, counterproductive to stress reduction and anxiety sensation and symptom elimination.

If you are having difficulty containing your worry, you might want to connect with one of our recommended anxiety disorder therapists. Working with an experienced therapist is the most effective way to overcome anxiety disorder and what seems like unmanageable worry and anxiety.

Sensation of a lump in the throat - causes and treatment


The feeling that something is stuck in the throat is familiar to everyone, although it is interpreted in different ways: unpleasant sensations, perspiration, lump in the throat, squeezing, etc. Often this sensation appears only in specific periods, but can also become a permanent phenomenon. In addition, a lump in the throat can be accompanied by problems with breathing and swallowing, which negatively affects the quality of life.

Symptoms and causes of a lump in the throat

Very often, together with a sensation of a lump in the throat, they complain of:

  • headache and dizziness;
  • feeling tired and weak;
  • hoarseness;
  • belching after eating;
  • stomach discomfort;
  • pain in the chest.

In general, the causes of such sensations are divided into 2 groups: psychogenic and somatic.

Very often it is psycho-emotional disorders that cause an unpleasant sensation of a lump in the throat, because nervous tension causes a spasm. This usually happens after stressful situations or protracted and unresolved problems. A person also has a feeling of anxiety, panic attacks, which are accompanied by a lack of air, poor sleep and a sharp change in mood. Therefore, a lump in the throat can be regarded as the first symptom of an anxiety or depressive disorder that needs to be consulted by a neurologist or psychiatrist.

Somatic causes include:

  • Diseases of the gastrointestinal tract . The increased acidity of the stomach can cause acid to rise up the esophagus, which causes a sensation of coma and heartburn.
  • Chronic diseases of the ENT organs . Tonsillitis and frontal sinusitis can cause inflammation of the mucous membrane, resulting in swelling, which causes a feeling of coma. A runny nose can also cause a lump in the throat when mucus builds up at the back of the throat.
  • Diseases of the thyroid gland.
  • Osteochondrosis and injuries of the cervical vertebrae.
  • Foreign body or swelling in the throat.

Diagnosis and treatment of a lump in the throat

First of all, if there is a sensation of a lump in the throat for a long time, you should consult a therapist. The doctor will conduct an examination, prescribe the necessary tests and refer you to a highly specialized specialist who specializes specifically in your problem. Most often, this is an otolaryngologist, endocrinologist, neurologist, gastroenterologist, oncologist or psychiatrist.

Seek medical attention immediately if:

  • You are unable to swallow due to pain and a lump in your throat.
  • Sensation of lump does not go away after swallowing or yawning.
  • You feel lumpy regularly.
  • In addition to coma, there is pain in the stomach or heartburn.
  • You have a fever.
  • Headache and high blood pressure.
  • Discomfort and pain in the neck and back.
  • Difficulty breathing due to coma.

Depending on the cause of the lump in the throat, the doctor will prescribe the necessary treatment. This can be manual therapy, physical activity, antibacterial drugs, rinsing, antispasmodics and, of course, a diet. Self-medication is not recommended, because only a specialist can determine the cause of a coma in the throat.

Call (067) 127-03-03, (044) 490-25-03 or fill out the form on the website if you are concerned about the problem of a lump in your throat and you need to consult a general practitioner.

Related areas:

  • Therapy
  • Otolaryngology
  • Neurology
  • Endocrinology

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Feeling a lump in the throat can signal a variety of disorders. Therefore, the examination of patients with such a complaint is carried out in several stages. It is recommended to start with an appeal to an endocrinologist.

Stages of diagnosis

The specialist's task is to rule out the presence of thyroid masses in the patient, which can be both benign and malignant. In the early stages, foreign body sensation in the throat is the only symptom of these conditions. As the pathology develops, it is joined by:

  • hoarseness,
  • recurrent attacks of suffocation,
  • dizziness.

Primary diagnosis is made by palpation of the thyroid gland. Next, an ultrasound is required. Based on the results of the procedure, the doctor evaluates the size, structure of the organ, and establishes the presence of nodes or cystic lesions.

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