Lump in throat feeling – globus pharyngeus is the cause


I’m sure you have heard this sentence “My throat hurts” many times.  We’ve all experienced throat pain, where you feel like you have a lump in the throat.

This lump in throat feeling has a technical name referred as “globus pharyngeus”.  It may be more noticeable when swallowing and may even make swallowing difficult. Some people refer to it as feeling like there is phlegm or some other obstruction in the throat, causing them to repeatedly swallow or clear it. Mild chest pain or even severe pain with swallowing may also be felt, along with a clicking sensation.  The area affected by globus pharyngeus can vary from pea-sized to roughly the size of a golf ball or walnut.

You should first consider whether your difficulty swallowing is the result of an actual physical cause, such as swollen lymph nodes or an infection of your throat glands or in the throat area itself.  In some rare cases, a lump in throat feeling may be due to cancer, cysts, or an enlarged thyroid.  An enlarged thyroid is an unlikely culprit, unless there is a noticeably large lump growing out from your neck.


The vast majority of  people complaining of lump in throat, point to a spot right below their Adam’s apple as the area affected.  This area is the cricoid cartilage.  Attached to this cartilage and located directly behind it, is the cricopharyngeal muscle, which tightens up to prevent food from coming back up after you swallow.  The over-tightening of this muscle is what causes the globus sensation. Inflammation of one or more parts of the larynx or hypopharynx in response to reflux (gastroesophageal or laryngopharyngeal), cricopharyngeal spasm, or oesophageal dysmotility, may also be a causative factor in globus.

Below is the most common causes of globus pharyngeus:

Reflux — over-tightening of the muscle can occur to prevent either stomach acid or non-acid mucus from reaching the voice box.

Stress — very common reason for globus.

Scarring, lesions, or ulcerations — due to trauma.

In exceedingly rare cases, a psychogenic cause may be the reason for globus. Psychotic disorders such as depression or anxiety, are a possible root cause of a lump in throat feeling. The symptoms of globus pharyngeus respond well with the use of anti-depressant and anti-anxiety medications in theses cases.

lump in throat feeling


People experiencing severe pain with swallowing and a clicking sensation may have their thyroid cartilage  rubbing against the thyroid lamina. A surgical procedure to correct this will be necessary, but it should provide you with immediate relief.

For most people, treatment depends on what is causing the globus sensation.  It has been discovered that dehydration plays a big role in that lump in throat feeling, so make sure you always drink plenty of water.  Limit your coffee intake to one cup per day and follow it with one cup of water.

It is recommended that you change your dietary intake patterns slightly to lessen your symptoms. Only consume dairy products and acidic foods in the morning. Also, do not eat anything fatty before bedtime. In addition, do not eat anything within an hour of your bedtime. Doing so should help your symptoms. Taking anti-reflux and/or acid reducing medications at the same time can be beneficial as well. This will also help determine if esophageal reflux is the root cause.

At night, try sleeping with your head and your neck elevated higher than your stomach. Also try sleeping on your side.

Finally, you need to address anything causing you to experience high stress levels.  Try starting a stress management and relaxation routine to minimize the stress in your day to day life. Understanding that globus pharyngeus itself is not a health risk should help to reduce the stress and anxiety that could be causing the uncomfortable sensations.

If none of the above resolves the discomfort resulting from globus pharyngeus, visit a qualified medical professional who can help treat the condition.  They will perform a detailed analysis of your symptoms and provide you with an accurate diagnosis along with the best treatment plan for you.