Why is my throat noisy and cartilage-y
December 5, 2008 4:14 PM   Subscribe

There's a weird clicking feeling when I swallow, like cartilage is rubbing up against something. It's not in my throat, it's lower than that. It makes an audible sound (audible to me, anyway). It comes and goes, and that area gets sore. It's been going on for a month now. Any ideas?

I also have one side of my throat (like, adam's apple area, but I don't have one because I am female). It feels like there's a growth in the cartilage on the left side. That's been there for a couple of months, my doc said it was fine but obviously I need to see him again (and another doctor) and I will.

Has anyone else had the same experience, or any insight at all?

I have a long family history of thyroid problems, does anyone who has thyroid problems have experience with this?

I'm kinda starting to freak out. Thanks in advance.
posted by sondrialiac to Health & Fitness (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I also have one side of my throat

Should be "I also have a lump on one side of my throat".

Thanks again.
posted by sondrialiac at 4:15 PM on December 5, 2008

I have what I believe to be the same issue. It's been going on for well over 10 years now. I also find that sometimes, especially when I'm dehydrated, it will feel like something is "out of place" in my throat. Usually turning my head to the left (it is the left side that bugs me) and coughing will resolve it.

"Funny" story. I went to the doctor to have it looked at. The doctor I had at the time was less than pleasant; she had the bedside manner of a land mine. I explained what was going on, she looked down my throat for a few seconds, poked at the outside of my neck for a few and said, essentially, that nothing was wrong. I pressed the issue, because I find it to be quite alarming, and she said (exact quote) "Well what do you want me to do? Cut it open and look?" A month or two later I got a letter in the mail apologizing for her demeanor and indicating that she was no longer with the company, and that I had a new doctor. I scheduled an appointment with him, and he did an upper GI (At least I think that's what it was. I swallowed some disgusting powdery drink and they did an xray of me) and it returned nothing out of the ordinary. One thing that he did suggest that it could be was gonorrhea of the throat (yuck) but that was ruled out.

Good luck on finding out what's going on, because I sure as hell can't.
posted by sacrifix at 4:35 PM on December 5, 2008

Y'know, the same thing happened to me--I sometimes feel a click when I swallow. I went to an ENT once, and he didn't see anything wrong. I even did a Barium x-ray (probably the same thing sacrifix did) and it turned out fine. That's not to say you shouldn't mention it to your doctor and push the issue, but it might just be one of those things that you notice once and then blow up in your mind until you can't 'unnotice' it.
posted by stray at 5:21 PM on December 5, 2008

Get your thyroid checked. A swollen thyroid can push things out of line and and thyroid nodules can feel like knots or growths.
posted by kimdog at 5:28 PM on December 5, 2008 [1 favorite]

I have had thyroid cancer. Obviously the only correct answer in this circumstance is to tell you to see your doctor, but one thing you can do right now is go in the bathroom with a cup of water. Take a sip, swallow, and watch your throat as you do. Do you see a lump traveling up and then back down (besides your Adam's apple, I mean)? You shouldn't. That's something they have me do at every followup appointment, besides the high tech stuff. If you see a traveling lump, that much more reason to see a doctor. Feel free to MeMail me if you have other questions.
posted by HotToddy at 5:53 PM on December 5, 2008 [2 favorites]

I've had a similar sounding kind of "lump" on and off for 20 years. Same basic story as sacrifix. It flared up when I had a particularly nasty cold and didn't go away. I asked the doctor what he was going to do about it and he said, "nothing, it's just a part of getting older. You don't want to cutting around in your throat if it's not life threatening."

I think, (I'm no doctor) that it's something to do with over-tension on a thin muscle that's connecting from the collar bone to the hyoid bone. The cartilage around the hyoid gets a bit inflamed and I think the muscle tension is yanking the bone and cartilage to one side of the throat, causing the "lump" sensation. Try holding it your adams apple still relative to your jaw and turn your head away from the side the lump is on. Do you feel a tension or a "crunkling" sensation?

If the doctor finds that everything's ok, then try to stretch, relax, avoid caffeine, yada yada...
posted by bonobothegreat at 6:18 PM on December 5, 2008

Keep this list of symptoms of thyroid cancer for reference. Don't allow it to make you nervous. Hopefully your throat problems are something minor, but the good news is that if thyroid cancer is caught early on, it doesn't damage lifespan. Most types are extremely treatable.

Go to your doctor and be polite but firm and assertive about your concerns. Describe your issues as specifically as possible. Get a second opinion if you're not satisfied with the work-up.

The incidence of thyroid cancer rises very quickly in women once they hit their teenage years. Some doctors may not even consider thyroid cancer to be a possibility because most cancers are "old person's diseases." Don't let anyone tell you that you're "too young," and dismiss your concerns.

Good luck, and let us know how it turns out.
posted by jeeves at 7:08 PM on December 5, 2008

I had a very similar issue, which worried me sufficiently to give up smoking a year ago. Been backwards and forwards to the docs with it, to the point of having an ultrasound done on my throat in the summer, but nothing was out of the ordinary... the 'clicking' seemed to stop pretty much after I stopped smoking, but it still gets sore occasionally, particularly if I eat a lot of dairy (wtf?). IANYD, and YMMV but I've decided that it's just 'one of those getting older things'...
posted by Chairboy at 5:54 AM on December 6, 2008

Thyroid sounds like a real good thing to check. But if you do and it's not, here's one of my whacky hacks to try. You know how you can direct a yawn to your ears to dilate the passages and clear air, like when flying? Try doing the same to the base of the throat. Don't think about it too much (as with the ears, the more you "think", the harder it is to do). Just direct a warm dilative yawn to the area just behind the collarbone. With just a little practice, you'll be able to do it quite easily, and target it quite precisely. Work a little above and below that point, as well. Just think "dilation". More crudely, make the tube bigger :)

If this works for you, please say so. I've never used this particular hack for that particular situation, but suspect it could help.
posted by jimmyjimjim at 6:51 AM on December 6, 2008

As far as I know I do not have thyroid troubles and see a doctor regularly. I get that sometimes, usually seeming to do with stress and tension in my shoulders and neck. Relaxation exercises, acupuncture and trying to reduce overall stress in my life tends to sort it out.

That said, if you're worried about, go see a doctor, as neither Metafilter nor I are doctors or licensed to give medical advice.
posted by kalessin at 9:29 AM on December 6, 2008

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