Lump in throat

Lump in throat

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Lump in the throat or feeling lumpy

The so-called “lump in the throat” (med. Globus syndrome or globus feeling) is very common and is characterized by a feeling of a foreign body or a feeling of tightness in the throat or throat. This is often accompanied by coughing, frequent clearing of the throat and shortness of breath. The feeling of dumpling can have both organic, functional and psychological causes and accordingly can be an indication of different clinical pictures. In the field of medicine, apart from conventional examination methods, imaging methods are often used and in the case of an organic cause that cannot be localized, the term “globus hystericus” is used.

Symptoms and discomfort

A lump in the throat can manifest itself very differently, e.g. pain when swallowing or a burning or scratching throat. A feeling of dryness or the feeling that a piece of mucus or spit is stuck is also reported in some cases. The lump feeling is rarely felt superficially, but rather in the depth of the neck.

The feeling of the globe can be very stressful for those affected, since attempts are often unsuccessful to get rid of it by clearing the throat, coughing or coughing up, but without any improvement. At the same time, sore throats and constant gagging sometimes occur, and shortness of breath and anxiety or panic attacks due to the feeling of tightness in the throat are not uncommon.

If symptoms such as trembling hands, sleep disorders, excessive sweating, cravings and intense thirst appear in parallel, this could indicate possible thyroid problems. A hoarse or weak voice, on the other hand, may indicate difficulties in the area of ​​the supplying nerves or larynx muscles.


At the beginning, the symptoms are carefully considered, i.e. the doctor checks exactly when and in what form. If the conventional examination does not lead to a result, the affected region is usually mirrored. In the case of gastroscopy, for example, the inside of the esophagus is examined with the help of a thin tube with video optics, whereby any changes are recognizable. Ultrasound examinations or so-called CT (computed tomography) are also common diagnostic instruments in this case, since they enable exact recordings of the corresponding areas.

Causes of a feeling of lump in the throat

Various triggers can be considered for a feeling of lump in the throat. In a region as essential as that of the neck, where important vessels and the trachea run and the larynx is located, structural causes should first be excluded by a doctor. It is also necessary to check whether it is possibly a foreign body, e.g. due to inflammation or tumors of the esophagus or the surrounding mucous membranes.

There may be an acute foreign body sensation, e.g. due to an insect bite or a food allergy and must be examined immediately by a doctor before there is a life-threatening narrowing of the airways.

The rapid swallowing of food can be the reason when chewed food sticks. In most cases, however, this can be remedied by gastroscopy (gastroscopy) by pushing the stuck food on. Sacking of the wall of the esophagus, so-called diverticula of the esophagus, can also be considered.

It is often a long-term chronic complaint. The foreign body sensation can be caused by space-consuming processes in the neck area. First of all, an enlargement of the thyroid gland is medically thought of. A so-called Hashimoto's thyroiditis could also be present. This is an inflammation of the thyroid gland, which can cause an overactive thyroid (initially hashitoxicosis) or an underactive thyroid.

As further space-consuming structures, neck cysts and fistulas in the neck area can be responsible for the symptoms. In some cases, the thyreoglossal duct, a temporary structure during our embryonic development, does not completely disappear in the middle of the neck. This can result in cavities (cysts) filled with mucus. A similar phenomenon is possible on the side of the neck, as a gap-like cavity (sinus cervicalis) may not recede on the head muscle (sternocleidomastoid) and on the tonsils during embryological development.

Another possible cause is inflammation of the throat (lateral strand angina). If the pharynx tonsils are still present, they can cause the feeling of the globe if they swell, and a fungal infection (mycosis) is also conceivable. In the chest area, swelling or cysts, as well as changes in the heart and adjacent tissues, can cause a lump in the throat.

Common triggers for the uncomfortable feeling in the throat are a harmless cold, ear infections or bronchitis. In about a quarter of all cases, gastroesophageal reflux develops in addition to the feeling of lumps. This is an increased backflow of digestive juices into the esophagus, which is often colloquially referred to as heartburn.

Cause tension

In addition to the organic causes, tight muscles and connective tissue can make you feel lumpy. These arise, for example, from scars from operations on or in the neck (e.g. thyroid or tonsil surgery) or incorrect posture of the head or the whole body. Likewise, "bad habits" such as a habitual tightening of the larynx muscles during physical exertion or strong concentration quickly leads to tension.

Psychological causes of a lump in the throat

The psyche plays a central role in a feeling of lump in the throat. Mental stress such as unresolved conflicts, fears or stress and illnesses such as Depression often leads to a temporary or permanent feeling of pressure or foreign body in the throat without an organic cause. In these cases, swallowing and breathing are often felt to be difficult or painful. Often those affected have the feeling that they have to clear their throats all the time.

Therapy for a feeling of the globe

The underlying disease determines which form of treatment makes sense. Accordingly, it is essential that medical clarification is carried out as to whether the complaints have an organic, functional or psychological cause or where there are any connections.

In the case of a thyroid problem, regulation is usually carried out by medication, so that the feeling of lump can usually be relieved quickly and effectively. With inflammation, e.g. Appropriate medication is also used in the esophagus. In some cases, surgery is also essential, for example if a tumor or, in the worst case, a tumor has to be removed.

With a chronic feeling of lump in the throat, so-called "swallowing therapy" is recommended in many cases in order to restore or improve the swallowing and coughing reflex. The symptoms can often be alleviated in this way through guided muscle exercises or changes in posture while eating.

If a cold is the cause, usually no therapy is necessary, because here the uncomfortable feeling in the throat usually disappears with the onset of the infection. If necessary, the only way to try to support the recovery is with light colds. Instead of medication, however, proven home remedies for colds can often already alleviate the symptoms and should therefore be preferred.

Treatment for psychological lumps

Psychological causes are treated with outpatient or inpatient psychotherapy, which can also be supported with medication. A feeling of tightness in the throat, for example, can hide fears that are expressed on a physical level.

Through self-reflection or as part of a conversation therapy, an attempt is made to find out what is figuratively speaking "stuck in the throat" or who or what "drives him into a corner". Questions like "What do I not want to swallow?" Or "In which areas do I have 'too little space'?" Can help to understand and deal with underlying conflicts and problems.

So-called avoidance and coping strategies are often developed in addition, through which the patient learns to divert the concentration away from the symptom and thereby e.g. to suppress the irritating throat or cough.

Naturopathy with a lump in the throat

In addition to the therapeutic approaches in conventional medicine and psychological-therapeutic areas, naturopathy offers a variety of alternative approaches for treating a feeling of lump in the throat or throat area.

For example, osteopathy assumes that (after excluding organic causes) tightness in the throat is often caused by blockages in the cervical spine. Accordingly, with osteopathic treatment, attempts are made to bring the disrupted functional circuits back into balance by means of special pushing and pulling techniques and to alleviate the complaints without side effects.

“Sensorimotor body therapy” according to Dr. Helga Pohl assumes that the cause of a feeling of lump in the throat is often functional, i.e. that it results from tense muscles and connective tissue as a result of surgery, incorrect stress, etc. Of course, this only applies if an organic cause could be excluded.

The focus of the treatment according to this model is therefore first a connective tissue treatment of the skin and subcutaneous tissue of the front neck or the place where the lump is felt, in order to reduce the sensitivity to stimuli through repeated use. In addition, there are muscle treatments in which the affected muscles on the neck, but also the head muscles, hyoid muscles and the muscles on the front of the spine and palate are worked on with pressure and movement. As a result, these are not only more relaxed, but also consciously easier to control.

The treatment of incorrect posture and breathing problems also plays an important role in sensorimotor body therapy. For this purpose, body awareness training is also used. In addition to the conscious relaxation of the tense muscles in each case, this also serves to raise awareness and put away "bad habits" such as always standing or leaning forward at work.

In the event of a cold, natural home remedies for cough or runny nose can often be an effective help. Sweat-inducing teas, for example with linden, elderflower or rose hips, are available to support the removal of mucus.

Recipe for linden blossom tea
  1. Put 2 tsp linden flowers in a cup
  2. Pour 250 ml of boiling water over them
  3. Let the tea steep for 10 minutes before drinking

Aromatherapy with tea tree oil works against cold viruses, supports the self-healing powers and can strengthen the immune system. For easy use, put about 5 drops of the oil on a handkerchief and inhale several times a day. For the night you can drop a few drops on your pillow.

Effective home remedies for sore throats include cold curd wrap or inhalations with chamomile, thyme and oregano. The medicinal herbs have an anti-inflammatory effect and relieve the uncomfortable, scratchy feeling in the throat.

Herbal inhalation
  • Take chamomile, thyme and oregano in equal parts and mix the herbs
  • Place 2 tablespoons of the mixture in a heat-resistant bowl
  • Pour a liter of hot water over it
  • Bend over the bowl and cover it, its head and upper body with a towel so that no steam can escape
  • Breathe in the steam slowly and alternately through your mouth and nose for about 10 minutes
  • In the case of acute symptoms, the application should be carried out twice a day

Danger: Do not hold your face too close to the hot liquid to avoid scalding.

Breathing exercises and hypnotherapy

Breathing exercises are very well suited for treating a feeling of lump in the throat, through which those affected can (back) develop a "liberated" feeling using special techniques. Images and symbols, as stimulated in imaginative procedures and hypnotherapy, can deepen the effect. According to the self-organizing principle, the right pictures are set for everyone, such as the "vastness of the sky", the "fresh mountain air" or a healing facility with brine pools. “Inner healers” can be activated and bring relief or healing with colors, sounds and beneficial treatments.

Furthermore, acupuncture and stress reduction procedures often have a positive effect. These include medical Qi Gong, yoga or autogenic training. In the field of homeopathy, potassium iodatum and potassium phosphoricum are used to relieve the symptoms. (No)

Author and source information

This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.

Dipl. Social Science Nina Reese, Barbara Schindewolf-Lensch


  • Wolfgang Tress et al .: Basic Psychosomatic Care: Compendium of Interpersonal Medicine, Schattauer, 1997
  • Thomas Genneper: Textbook Homeopathy: Basics and Practice of Classic Homeopathy, Haug Fachbuch, 2010
  • Rudolf Schweitzer: The Naturopathic Academy. Key symptoms: differential diagnostic approach, Urban & Fischer, 2012
  • Hanns W. Baenkler et al .: Short textbook internal medicine: 163 tables, Thieme, 2007

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