Lump in the throat – could it be psychological?

A man touches his throat: If you feel a kind of lump in your throat, it can have various causes.  Sometimes the psyche is also related to the symptoms.

If you feel a kind of lump in your throat, it can have various causes. Sometimes the psyche is also related to the symptoms. (Source: ozgurcankaya/Getty Images)
A lump in the throat can be worrying – but there is not always a physical cause for it. But what to do if the psyche causes the symptom?A feeling of lump in the throat is when those affected experience a painless but annoying, sometimes constricting feeling in the throat or throat. It often feels like there is some kind of lump or foreign body stuck there that just won’t swallow. However, it is rare that something can actually be found there when the doctor takes a look.

  • Lump in the throat: thyroid as a cause?
  • Home remedies for feeling lumpy: What helps?

Regardless of whether it is caused by the psyche or not, a lump in the throat is typically particularly noticeable when swallowing emptyly, for example when swallowing saliva. However, the disturbing feeling usually does not occur when swallowing food or drinks.

In the following chapters, read more about the causes and what helps with a lump in the throat if the psyche is involved.

Lump in the throat: possible causes

A lump in the throat is often a short-term phenomenon that quickly goes away on its own. However, if the discomfort lasts longer than a few days, those affected should have it checked by a doctor to be on the safe side.

Because even if a lump in the throat usually has harmless causes, they still have to be found first in order to be treated accordingly. Then, in most cases, the discomfort in the neck or throat disappears.

The possible causes of the foreign body sensation include, among others

  • reflux disease , in which acidic gastric juice flows back into the esophagus,
  • the postnasal drip syndrome, in which nasal secretions run down into the throat (e.g. as part of a sinus infection), or
  • an enlarged thyroid .

However, if no physical causes can be found for the lump in the throat, the psychological problem may be the cause. For example, a lump in the throat can develop due to psychological stress such as stress , but also as a result of depression or anxiety.

Feeling of a lump in the throat and psyche: what is the connection?

In some people, the feeling of a lump in the throat appears to be due to increased muscle tension in the throat and larynx area. The swallowing process requires a finely coordinated process involving numerous muscles, which can be thrown off course by a muscular imbalance. In some cases, this can manifest itself in abnormal sensations such as a feeling of a foreign body in the throat or can also be accompanied by voice changes.

Both in long-term stress and in mental illnesses such as depression or anxiety disorders, the level of stress hormones such as cortisol is usually increased. Among other things, this can lead to increased muscle tension in the body. If this happens in the throat and larynx area, it may be noticeable as a lump feeling in the throat. If the feeling of a lump itself is perceived as frightening, this can potentially increase the perception of the symptom.

Lump in the throat caused by the psyche: what helps?

A feeling of a lump in the throat can place psychological strain on those affected. It is not uncommon for there to be concerns that a serious illness is behind it. But even if the symptom is unpleasant, it usually has harmless causes. In many cases, the symptoms improve when the doctor cannot detect any changes in the neck or larynx area.

If you suspect that a lump in your throat is psychologically related, there are various measures that can help. If persistent stress contributes to the symptoms, it may be advisable to deal with the stress triggers and reduce the amount of stress in everyday life. This may prove helpful under certain circumstances

  • targeted time out for relaxation,
  • Relaxation techniques such as progressive muscle relaxation , autogenic training , yoga or breathing exercises or even
  • Courses that teach healthy stress management (many health insurance companies offer these).

You can read about other measures and home remedies that can help with a lump in the throat here .

If that is not enough or there is a mental illness such as depression or anxiety behind the feeling of a lump in the throat, psychotherapeutic support may also be advisable. Cognitive behavioral therapy, for example, can have a positive effect. In addition, depending on the situation and severity of the symptoms, medications such as antidepressants or anti-anxiety medications may also be an option

Conclusion: The most important things summarized

A lump in the throat can have physical causes, but it can also be psychological. Prolonged stress – just like depression or anxiety – can sometimes be accompanied by this feeling of lumpiness. Then stress-reducing measures can help and/or psychotherapeutic support may be advisable.

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