What do you call throat lump sensation due to anxiety?
March 23, 2020 1:24 PM   Subscribe

For the last couple of days, it's manifested as a mild feeling of tightness that feels like it's right below my adam's apple. Kind of like a 'lump in the throat' but pretty low. Is there a name for this feeling? Knowing more about it would probably help me cope.

So, like many of you, I'm indirectly feeling the strain of this virus. I've had generalized anxiety issues (and possibly mild OCD) for my entire life, and the symptoms like to switch it up on me. This time, it's in my throat and sort of in my chest? Last time I had this sensation it lasted for a few days before I went to the ER fearing a blood clot (it was after a long flight). They ran a bunch of tests and, in the end, it was determined to be from stress and anxiety. Taking some time off helped tremendously. But I can't really take time off from a pandemic.

To best describe it, I feel what could be described as:
- Sensitivity at the bottom of my throat/esophagus?
- Kind of like a lump feeling, though there isn't any kind of palpable lump there.
- No noticeable trouble swallowing.
- A vague shortness of breath feeling. So vague that it could be entirely in my imagination. I can take what feel like full breaths, so I don't think it's real.

Any tips on why this happens (aside from just anxiety) or tips for dealing with it would be helpful! I've done CBT in the past, and understanding the physiological underpinnings of these things was always really useful.

(In case anyone is like, 'you sure you don't have COVID?' just know that I'm not experiencing any other symptoms, have a normal temperature, and have barely left the house in a couple of weeks (I work from home). While not impossible, it's highly unlikely that I've caught the virus. But I'll monitor my symptoms regardless.)

Having these sensations amidst Coronavirus is... not my favorite.
posted by summerteeth to Health & Fitness (6 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
i have mentioned this in like 5 threads now so far but! it could absolutely be heartburn, even if you have not had serious heartburn issues in the past. it isn't always just a feeling of actual acidic burning, there's also:

- a feeling of an indefinable Squishy Thing you can't quite swallow stuck in your throat
- achey sore feeling after swallowing
- drinking hot things can hurt sharply like halfway down
- stabby pain in the solar plexus
- coughing & throat irritation
- weird breathing stuff bc you've aspirated some flecks of stomach acid
posted by poffin boffin at 1:33 PM on March 23, 2020 [3 favorites]

Best answer: Congratulations, you have globus pharyngeus, which can definitely be caused by stress or anxiety. A dry throat can exacerbate it, so stay hydrated.
posted by Faint of Butt at 1:35 PM on March 23, 2020 [6 favorites]

Best answer: Some variation on globus sensation from anxiety?
posted by pinochiette at 1:35 PM on March 23, 2020

Response by poster: Ah, yeah, reading that article on globus pharyngeus definitely fits the bill. Such a strange thing. Thank you!
posted by summerteeth at 1:42 PM on March 23, 2020 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Thirding globus - I was diagnosed with it by my GP a little while back when going through one of my anxiety breakdowns. Exactly those sensations you describe.
posted by Martha My Dear Prudence at 1:56 PM on March 23, 2020

I get a globus sensation as my main reflux symptom AND stress is a reflux trigger for me, so you could be getting it from both barrels as it were. Taking a PPI for a few weeks (not good long-term unless directed by a dr) and doing things like tracking what you eat for a bit could help in addition to stress management. Everyone's dietary triggers are different so no need to stress out looking at lists of potential problem foods- most likely only some, if any, will be a problem for you. Of course talk to your doctor about it when you can, but acid reflux/GERD/LPR aren't urgent.
posted by doift at 10:48 AM on March 24, 2020

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