Do you sometimes experience the sensation of a lump in the throat? Do you have the sensation of being choked up with emotion? A lump in the throat can feel like an object is stuck in your throat. It can feel like you have a tie on that is too tight, or a sensation of being slightly strangled. Most often the cause of a lump in the throat is tension, and it can be remedied.  Just to be safe it is always good to have a throat examination done by your doctor to rule out any serious disorders. One of the physiological causes of a lump in the throat can be a thyroid disorder. Also, excessive throat clearing can exasperate a lump in the throat sensation.

If there is no physical disorder causing the lump in the throat, then, according to otolaryngologist Dr. James P. Thomas, the probable cause is a spasm in the cricopharyngeus muscle, one of the muscles responsible for swallowing and inhibiting food from regurgitating. What causes this spasm? The most common cause is stress, emotional heartbreak, or grief.  After my mother died I had the sensation of a large lump in my throat.  It seemed that the lump was holding back emotion in my body, not allowing it to regurgitate outward. I had heard of this sensation but didn’t believe it was true until I experienced it. I have met many students who have experienced the same lump in the throat sensation. It is the body’s way of holding back emotion. Holding back breath, also often accompanies it. The body believes that if it doesn’t breath deeply, it wont feel. It physically cuts off feeling at the throat chakra.


Cures for the Lump in the Throat

The medical community commonly prescribes muscle relaxors like Valium as well as more natural treatments like meditation. Dr. Thomas suggests that you start to identify the stressors in your life that cause your body to respond with a tightening of the throat. He also recommends warm tea. If you are a yoga practitioner, avoid ujjayi breathing until the lump subsides. If you are a constant throat clearer, you must stop as the throat clearing can keep the spasms contracting. The best treatment I have found for the lump in the throat sensation is singing. Find a song that makes you feel happy, maybe something from your childhood, something playful.  Find a space alone where you can freely sing without inhibition and sing! At first it may feel like the throat is a tight tube that doesn’t want to open, but if you keep breathing and singing, bit-by-bit it will loosen up. I am a big fan of wailing exercises. Try a Greek lament Oy Toy Toy and let a primal wail release from your mouth, if emotion comes with it and you find yourself crying, fantastic! Many cultures incorporate a wail, or cry within their music. Literally sing the tension out of your body! If the emotions get stuffed inside us they only cause congestion of some sort and can imprint, leading to long-term disorders.  This is especially important for singers. Some singers actually quit singing after experiencing great heartache, grief or trauma. I could see how this could happen. Singing has saved my life so many times. As your voice opens, your heart will heal. Om Shanti

Dr. Thomas can be found at:

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