Tightness in Throat Feeling: What Does It Mean?

Symptoms and Causes of Constant Tightness in Throat

Have you experienced a tight feeling in your throat that left you feeling uncomfortable and restless? Sometimes you may even have  even experienced difficulty swallowing, which can be quite alarming. This tightness in throat feeling may appear occasionally or frequently and in some cases, you may be able to diagnose the root cause of the problem. While it is usually not serious, if the feeling continues to persist, it is always best to check with the doctor to rule out any serious causes.

Tight Throat Feeling

The tightness in throat feeling is best described as a:

  • Feeling like your throat muscles are constricted.
  • Feeling like a tight band is coiled around your throat.
  • Feeling like you have a lump in your throat.
  • Tension and tenderness in the throat.
  • The pressure in the throat.
  • Feeling that something blocking the throat or airway.
  • Feeling that will make you want to swallow frequently in an attempt to clear the throat.

The tight throat feeling may occur rarely, frequently or persist for a long time. Usually, this feeling will occur before, during, or after an anxiety attack or when you experience elevated levels of stress. It may also come in waves, being strong one minute while barely noticeable the next time.

Causes of Tightness in Throat

Throat tightness can occur due to a number of reasons.


Insomnia, shortness of breath, uneasiness, cold feet are some of the common symptoms of anxiety, but did you know that anxiety can also include some unusual symptoms like tightness in throat? When you suffer from anxiety, the sympathetic nervous system is constantly stimulated, leading to an increase in the heart rate and breathing rate, and causing muscle tension. This muscle tension can be the cause of tightness in throat or what is referred to as having a ‘lump in the throat’ feeling.

Thyroid Disorders

When the thyroid gland, which is located in the neck area under-performs, it results in a condition called Hypothyroidism. The symptoms of the disorder include dryness of throat, difficulty swallowing, weight gain, insomnia, intolerance to cold and depression. The nodules on the thyroid may also cause difficulty is swallowing and the feeling of tightness.


Gastroesophageal reflux (GERD) or acid reflux can also cause a sensation that feels like something is stuck in the throat. This is because of the stomach acid splashing up into the esophagus, damaging the tissue.

Food Allergies

Allergies to certain foods such as shellfish, eggs, dairy, or soy may cause a reaction that is akin to throat tightness.

Other Causes

You may also experience a tightness in your throat when you have a common cold or hay fever, when you are exposed to chemicals, or are in a polluted area.

You can find more common symptoms and medical conditions related to throat tightness here.

Remedies for Tightness in Throat Feeling

Depending on what is causing the throat tightness, you can take some actions to reduce the symptoms.

  1. If the symptom is a result of anxiety, you can drink water to alleviate the feeling. If possible, you can do a bit of jogging to relax the muscles. Or you can try some natural remedies to reduce your anxiety.
  2. To check if you have a thyroid disorder, you can have a blood test done. If medications are prescribed, that will automatically improve your thyroid functioning and reduce the throat tightness.
  3. Acid reflux can be controlled through a careful diet. You can learn more about it here.
  4. Food allergies can be contained with over-the-counter medications, but it is better to avoid such types of food as it can sometimes become life threatening.

When to See a Doctor

While in most cases, medication and lifestyle changes can help you get rid of that tightness in throat feeling, in some cases, it may be sign of something more serious. If you have tried all your home remedies and are still experiencing signs of a tight throat, or your throat tightness is making it difficult for you to breathe, you should immediately seek medical assistance.
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