Feeling exhausted?
September 2, 2013 1:08 PM   Subscribe

I'm curious if anyone else has a specific place in their body where they feel tired. If I'm quite underslept, I have what I believe are standard feelings of leaden limbs and blurry, burning eyes, but I also have a specifically localized feeling that's hard to describe, in the back of my throat, in the pharynx. It just feels thick and very, very tired back there. I'm not sure why I feel exhaustion in this manner--can anyone speculate or enlighten me?
posted by DrMew to Health & Fitness (9 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Maybe it has to do with connected muscles that are tired. Perhaps you're sitting in a certain position, and the way you're carrying your head on your shoulders exhausts your throat? This is just speculation.
posted by shivohum at 3:16 PM on September 2, 2013

When I'm underslept, getting a scratchy throat or swollen glands is generally the very first indicator symptom. However, for me it's not really some sort of vague, hard-to-pin down feeling-- it's just literally the beginnings of a sore throat.
posted by threeants at 3:33 PM on September 2, 2013 [1 favorite]

That would very likely be you thryoid. Don't settle for just the standard tests.
posted by vers at 3:35 PM on September 2, 2013

I am definitely not a doctor, but there are some conditions that result in fatigue and affect your pharynx/larynx. Myasthenia Gravis is one condition that comes to mind that affects your thyroid and causes it to be effortful to speak, especially in the evening/as the day goes on. I'm not saying you might have that condition--it's just an example of how fatigue can affect that area.
posted by shortyJBot at 5:36 PM on September 2, 2013

Do you read a lot for your work? I've heard of people who quietly enunciate the words they're reading and thus get tired throats. Most people who do this don't even notice what they are doing, since it's totally silent.
posted by TheGoodBlood at 5:51 PM on September 2, 2013

Best answer: When I'm tired I definitely slump, and end up taking short shallow breaths because of that posture. I can imagine describing that feeling as the back of my throat feeling tired.
posted by selfmedicating at 6:08 PM on September 2, 2013 [1 favorite]

Often when I am really exhausted I seem to go through my stores of water and electrolytes much more completely than I usually do, and when that happens I feel my tiredness in my throat, arms, and face because that's where my dehydration seems to manifest.
posted by These Birds of a Feather at 6:28 PM on September 2, 2013

Oh, I have this exact same sensation, too -- a heaviness in the back of my throat when I'm tired. I've always been curious about it, but since I haven't had my thyroid in more than 15 years, in my case at least it's got nothing to do with that.
posted by scody at 8:53 PM on September 2, 2013 [1 favorite]

This is exactly how I'd describe the feeling I get in my knees when I stay up all night.

I think it's inflammation:
Loss Of Sleep, Even For A Single Night, Increases Inflammation In The Body

A new article in the September 15th issue of Biological Psychiatry, by the UCLA Cousins Center research team, reports that losing sleep for even part of one night can trigger the key cellular pathway that produces tissue-damaging inflammation. The findings suggest a good night’s sleep can ease the risk of both heart disease and autoimmune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis.

Sleep Deprivation Effect On the Immune System Mirrors Physical Stress

Researchers in the Netherlands and United Kingdom compared the white blood cell counts of 15 healthy young men under normal and severely sleep-deprived conditions. The greatest changes were seen in the white blood cells known as granulocytes, which showed a loss of day-night rhythmicity, along with increased numbers, particularly at night.
I had strep throat many times before I had my tonsils out, and according to my parents also had "growing pains" in my knees, which are a common symptom of inflammation due to strep, and I attribute my sleepy knee problems to an echo of those growing pains.
posted by jamjam at 3:48 PM on September 3, 2013

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