A tight feeling in the throat may indicate that your throat is swollen, dry or has a sore lump. In some people, the throat feels tight due to food allergies, usually after eating some foods that they are allergic to. Here are the possible causes, treatments and what you should do if you find it hard to breathe due to a tight feeling in your throat.
Whenever such a feeling arises, there is a high probability that it will make you experience some uneasiness, and may be quite uncomfortable. If experiencing it for the first time, you may be anxious to know what has brought it about.
Why does my throat feel tight? Causes
Below, you will find that there are different factors, which can contribute to this feeling, with some appearing constantly, and others being irregular. In some cases, you may be in a position to diagnose the root cause of this tight feeling in throat, while in some cases you will need to speak to your physician. They include:
Throat feels tight after eating
The main reason why your throat may feel tight after eating can be attributed to digestive distress. Whenever you swallow anything, the action triggers rippling wave of your muscular action, which begins to roll from the upper part of your esophagus as it propels the food items toward your stomach.
In your body, you will find that the esophagus comprises of a hollow, flexible, and mucous lined tube, which is used in the transportation of food contents to the stomach. It is the reason why it is possible for a person to swallow food as they are performing a headstand, or when the body is inverted.
As such, as soon as masticated liquid or food arrives at the end of the tube, the esophageal sphincter briefly relaxes, and this makes it possible for the food to get into the stomach. Even though the movement of food down your esophagus largely goes unnoticed, the tube is highly sensitive to any changes (abnormal) that arise in the food motion, and which may have been caused by inflammation, or injuries to its lining. It is what makes you feel as if the throat is tight right after you have eaten.
The swelling of the throat is considered to be a serious condition, more so when it starts to arise of all a sudden, as well as when it starts affecting movement of air into and out of the lungs. If not attended to immediately, it can be very deadly for the affected person.
However, you will find that throat swelling is a gradual process in many cases, and even when it becomes severe; it does not make it impossible for the air to flow. Often, it is accompanied by additional symptoms such as presence of a hoarse voice, and experiencing difficulty when swallowing food.
Swelling of the throat occurs when it becomes injured, inflamed, or irritated. The blood vessels in this passageway will become dilated, and the fluid that was present in the blood will start to empty into the available tissue spaces.
Often, the red blood cells will be left behind, unless your blood vessels have become broken as well. The seepage caused by the leaky blood vessels is what will lead to swelling taking place, and you experiencing a tight feeling in throat. Fluid seepage is a common symptom associated with throat swelling, as well as heat, redness, and pain.
Dry throat is another condition known to cause tightness in throat feeling. It is common for a dry throat to occur when the air passageway walls get inflamed. When the airways are inflamed, they complicate breathing and tend to become very sensitive as well.
Apart from experiencing dryness in the throat, you may also find yourself having to deal with shortness of breath, fatigue, and persistent coughing. Additional symptoms include wheezing and difficulty when attempting to sleep.
Lump in throat
A tight feeling in throat can also be experienced when you have a lump in your throat. Normally, this sensation is described using the term Globus sensation. Often, you will notice that this sensation will come and go of its own volition, and when the throat is examined, nothing will be found to be present.
The sensation will normally not interfere with your normal drinking and eating routine, and its exact cause is not known. To ensure that there is no other problem present, your doctor may insist on performing additional tests to rule out all other possibilities.
GERD (Gastroesophageal reflux disease)
This is a digestive disorder that is primarily known to affect the lower part of the esophagus, and this leads to the tightness in throat feeling. When you have this condition, it makes it possible for the food as well as stomach acid to start moving back up the esophagus from your stomach, which ultimately leads to the tightness feeling.
Apart from the tightness feeling, you could also experience symptoms such as dry cough, hoarseness or sore throat, chest pains, presence of a lump in your throat, and regurgitation of liquids or foods. Additionally, you could also experience a burning sensation in your chest. The burning sensation will then spread to your throat, and may be accompanied by the presence of a sour taste in your mouth.
A heart failure takes place when your heart muscles become weakened, and are no longer in a position to pump enough blood to the meet the body’s demand for oxygen and blood. When this occurs, you will experience a tight feeling in throat. The tightness could be accompanied by these symptoms as well:
- Loss of appetite
- Shortness of breath
- Swollen liver or abdomen
- Weight gain
- Presence of an irregular pulse
Common symptoms that are associated with tight feeling in throat include:
Painful to swallow
The act of swallowing involves coordinating numerous muscles and nerves located in your mouth, throat, as well as esophagus. A large part of swallowing happens to be voluntary, but there is another part that is completely involuntary, and which you cannot control, even if you were to try
When there is a problem at any swallowing point, be it while chewing, moving the food to the back area of your mouth, or when moving it to the stomach, you will end up experiencing some pain. Additionally, you could also experience chest pain, heaviness in your chest, and or a feeling of food content stuck somewhere in your throat.
Hard to breathe
Anxiety is one of the main causes of difficulty while breathing. It has also been labeled as one of the causes of tight feeling in throat. According to Ayurveda, between twenty-five and thirty-five percent of people across the globe will at some point in their lives suffer from an anxiety related disorder.
Anxiety is often caused by worrying about things that are in the future, as well as turning all your focus and attention on factors that you cannot be able to control. Some of its symptoms include numbness, tightness in the chest, nausea, dizziness, muscle tension, and excessive sweating.
Sore throat also known as Streptococcus pyogenes refers to a situation where your throat feels tender, scratchy, and may at times be very painful. The condition is caused by a bacteria, and it happens to be highly contagious, as it can be spread through the air by sneezing.
Additionally, you can also become infected when you touch a surface that had been touched by a person who is infected, and may include surfaces such as bathroom objects, doorknobs, and kitchen utensils. Often, the sore throat is not serious, and the affected person will normally experience some relief within three to seven days, even if they do not seek medical treatment.
Throat feels tight when lying down
The main cause of this is a condition that is known as Angina. Angina can be described as a pain or discomfort that occurs in your chest, when the heart muscles are not able to get enough blood that is rich in oxygen. Angina comes in varying forms, and the affected individual will often experience tightness in throat, as well as additional symptoms such as fatigue, dizziness, shortness of breath, sweating, and nausea.
The severity of angina has been known to vary from person to person. When angina is associated with chest pain, it can best be described as tightness in the throat and chest cavities. In some cases, people have been able to describe it as being similar to the feeling that comes when a person has indigestion.
Apart from causing a tight feeling in throat, the additional symptoms described above often appear when one is emotionally distressed or after taking part in physical exercise. Emotional distress and physical activity both make the heart to work extra hard, as they both need a lot of oxygen.
When it takes place, angina will only last for a few moments, and upon resting, it will go away on its own. In some cases, you will find that it becomes worse after eating, and during the cold weather. Additionally, experiencing strong emotions when you are resting, such as having a nasty dream can also act as a trigger.
Treatment and remedies for tight feeling in throat
A number of factors, a majority of which has already been described above, can cause a tight feeling in throat. Going through the list of causes, you will notice that some are viral, while irritants such as acid reflux, allergic reactions, as well as bacterial infections cause others.
Tight feeling in throat, while common amongst many people around the world cannot only be uncomfortable, but they can also be quite painful. Before rushing to make an appointment with your physician to have your throat checked out, you can try the following home remedies:
Try taking fresh lemons to assist in removing the tight feeling in throat. Lemons come in handy when the feeling has been caused by a sore throat. The juice in the lemons assisting in removing the mucus that may be present along the throat.
What to do at home
- Give hot lemonade combined with honey a try. You need to combine the juice derived from a single lemon, with a single teaspoon of honey, as well as one cup of hot water. Make sure to sip the blend slowly.
- Alternatively, try gargling fresh pressed lemon juice, that has been diluted with an equal portion of water
- You could also consume half a lemon after sprinkling some salt on it. You are expected to lick the lemon very slowly
Apple cider vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is a home remedy loved by many people across the world, and used in eliminating the tight feeling in throat. It is preferred by many people because it contains antibacterial properties.
What to do at home
- Take a single teaspoon of apple cider vinegar, as well as a single teaspoon of honey and lemon juice and combine them to a cup filled with warm water. Ensure you drink the combination very slowly. It is recommended that you repeat this process at least three times each day
- Alternatively, you can prepare a gargling solution using apple cider vinegar. What you need to do is combine a single teaspoon of table salt with a single teaspoon of ACV, and then add them to a cup of hot water. Use the solution to gargle two times each day
Cinnamon is used in treating tight feeling in throat that has been caused by a sore throat, which is normal when you have a cold or flu.
What to do at home
- Measure a single teaspoon of black pepper powder and a single teaspoon of cinnamon, and add them both to warm water. Additionally, consider adding cardmom. Once the solution is ready, you will need to strain it, and then proceed to take it three times each day until you get some relief.
- Alternatively, you may consider combining a few drops of cinnamon oil, to a few drops of pure honey in a bowl. When they have been properly blended, proceed to eat the mixture three times each day until the feeling goes away
Gargling salt water is considered the best way for a person to get rid of the tightness in throat feeling. The salt water functions in the same manner that an antiseptic would, and it in the process assists in drawing out the water that is present in the mucous membranes that are in your throat. When this happens, inflammation is reduced, and you get to experience instant relief.
What to do at home
- Combine a single teaspoon of table salt into a glass filled with hot water. In case the salty taste is too much for you, consider adding a small portion of honey to the salt water
- You will need to ensure that you use the solution to gargle, but take care not to gargle, instead opting to spit out the water after you have completed gargling.
- Make sure to repeat the gargling exercise at least four times each day
Garlic is a home remedy that is readily available in most homes. The reason it is preferred for dealing with tightness in throat feeling is because it contains antiseptic and antibacterial properties, as well as medicinal properties. All these properties when combined assist in doing away with the feeling in your throat
What to do at home
- You will need to eat a single raw garlic clove each day. The clove contains allicin, which is a chemical property that assists in eliminating bacteria, which may be causing the tightness in your throat.
- You can also use garlic oil instead of eating the raw garlic clove. For garlic oil, you need to add a few drops to half a cup of water, and then use this water to gargle.
- Another option would be to take the garlic pills, which can be obtained from your local store.
It contains a gel like substance known as mucilage, which assists in coating your throat, and in the process does away with soreness, while reducing any irritation that may have been present previously.
What to do at home
- Add a single tablespoon of the inner slippery elm bark to three cups of boiling water in a pot
- Allow it to steep for ten minutes, before you can proceed to strain the solution completely
- Make sure to drink this solution while it is still warm
If you are unable to find the herb, it is recommended that you take the slippery elm capsule. Make sure to consult your physician in case you are taking other medication.
We also recommend Now Foods Slippery Elm Capsules (Check price on Amazon)
Honey, another widely used home remedy comes in handy when you are dealing with tight feeling in throat. It has properties that can be relied upon to fight any infections present, as well as assist in speeding up your healing process.
Additionally, honey has also been known to work as a type of hypertonic osmotic. What this means is that honey can be used to draw out water. It is an essential property, considering the fact that inflammation in the throat is caused by the presence of fluids.
What to do at home
- Add two teaspoons of honey to a single cup of warm water. You have to repeat this process a few times each day. Additionally, you may consider adding honey to your preferred cup of warm herbal tea
- Each night before heading to bed, consider consuming a single teaspoon of honey. It will also provide you with the relief you need, allowing you to fall asleep with ease.
It is another remedy that can be used when tightness in the throat has been caused by a sore throat. It works very well because it contains anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties.
What to do at home
- Take a single teaspoon of turmeric powder and place it in one cup of warm water. It is recommended that you take the water very slowly, and that you only take it when your stomach is empty. Make sure to repeat the process once each day for the next four days.
- You may also add a single tablespoon of turmeric powder, and a single tablespoon of ground black pepper to warm milk, and consume it before you head to sleep each night.
- Alternatively, consider using turmeric to prepare a gargling solution. For this, you will need one teaspoon of turmeric powder, and half a teaspoon of salt. You should then place them in one cup of warm water, and ensure that they are properly mixed. Use this solution to gargle two times each day.
In case the tight feeling in your throat has been caused by an allergic reaction, there are a few things that you should consider doing. For one, prevention will be the best option for you. Therefore, ensure that you know the food items that are causing the allergic reaction, so that you can stay away from the foods.
When eating out, you can request for information from the waiters on the ingredients that have been used to prepare a meal that you may be interested in taking. Having learnt about the ingredients that are to be used, you can request the waiter to have them removed, or you can opt for another meal.
You will need to stay away from the food that is causing your allergic reaction. There is always the possibility that you may have a liking for the food that is causing your allergies, and you may therefore be tempted to sneak in a bite every once in a while. However, you need to keep in mind that this habit is not recommended, as the effects from this food may pose life-threatening risks.
This tight feeling in your throat could be something that will go away with time, but you may also find that it is something that requires special attention. As such, ensure that you are checked out whenever you have this feeling.