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Causes of Throat Tightness

Causes of Throat Tightness

Everyone has to deal with the condition of throat tightness some or the other time in their life. Its causes are many, and differ from person to person. This HealthHearty article presents a few reasons behind it.
Shrinivas Kanade
Having to deal with throat tightness is like dealing with a bottleneck situation. The condition hovers around your neck as if it is in an earnest need of reminding you of the hangman's rope. It makes one's life uneasy, even while indulging in simple activities like eating and swallowing and is a constant reminder that something isn't right. The following paragraphs examines a few situations when tightness in throat becomes a real issue for one that must be looked into.


The causes can range from an anxiety attack to overuse of the pharynx or larynx. The trauma to the organs in the throat such as tonsil, or the trachea can also bring about the tightness in the throat area. The following is a list of causes:
  • A common cause is viral or bacterial throat infection that are clubbed under upper respiratory infections. Such an infection is caused by the bacteria from the streptococcus family causing inflammation, and the swelling of the tissues of the throat. This type of infection is often referred to as a strep throat infection. Apart from these, attack of fungus can also give you yeast infection that leads to tightness.
  • The esophagus is made of cartilage. Trauma to it or to the muscles that help in movements of esophagus while swallowing food or talking, and even while breathing can lead to this condition.
  • In health conditions such as cancer, the unchecked growth of a benign or malignant tumor in the throat can cause tightness when swallowing the chewed food.
  • The windpipe is covered by a flap of cartilage called epiglottis which prevents the food from entering it. A swollen epiglottis, due to any reason, can be a cause of tightness.
  • Glands such as lymph nodes and tonsils that are found in the throat, or in its proximity may fall prey to infection. These swollen glands in throat invariably leads to tightness. In case of children, enlarged lymph nodes behind the uvula (pharyngeal tonsils) may restrict the breathing by being a cause.
  • Allergy to certain food items becomes apparent in the form of stiffness after eating these food products.
  • Muscle stiffening and chest pain doesn't go hand in hand all that commonly. However, if you are experiencing symptoms of acid reflux disease, then it may cause tightness in throat and chest pain, because of heartburn which normally accompanies this condition. Asthma, tuberculosis, bronchitis, cough, etc., can also form the cause of this duel misery for one.
  • There are many who experience problems at night. The cause of this problem is the collapse of larger airways or the rolling back of our tongue down our throat, hence narrowing the airways, and obstructing the normal flow of air.
  • Apart from the causes mentioned above, stress and anxiety also plays a part in the problem.
Throat tightness is not a life-threatening situation, but having it is a bad experience. When you cannot accomplish simple tasks such as that of swallowing food, or of sleeping peacefully, it is really annoying. If it bothers you for a considerable duration, you should get medical advice from a doctor. Depending on the cause, he may prescribe appropriate medication to root out the cause, or may advise you to take life at an easy pace to get yourself relaxed.