Globus sensation is the feeling of having pressure or a lump in the throat. It is a symptom of anxiety and can often result in the tightness of the throat. It’s not known why people experience globus sensation, and it’s usually not a cause for concern if there is no underlying problem.
It’s also called globus pharyngeus. It was previously thought to be a psychiatric condition because of which it was called globus hystericus. Some scientists believe people experience globus sensation when the muscles involved in swallowing don’t relax fully, making people feel like they have pressure in the throat.
Here are 13 ways to stop globus sensation and fight anxiety:
1 – Avoid smoking
Smoking can worsen symptoms of globus sensation. Smoking results in an increased production of stomach acid, and it also irritates the throat. Many people who suffer from globus have reflux of stomach acid into the oesophagus. Acid reflux can tighten the muscles involved in swallowing.
Smoking frequently can make these symptoms worse and result in increased muscle tension. Smoking can also worsen anxiety symptoms, so if you suffer from both globus and anxiety, it’s time you cut back on smoking.
2 – Reassurance
Globus sensation is a harmless condition. Reassurance is one of the most popular treatments for it. You can get checked by a doctor for any underlying condition. If there aren’t any, your doctor can reassure you that it’s nothing to worry about.
Usually, getting tested for underlying conditions and finding out that none can help people relax and get rid of that feeling that they lump the throat. More often than not, globus sensation is a harmless symptom of anxiety, and reassurance can help reduce anxiety levels.
3 – Proton Pump Inhibitors (PPIs) for treating globus sensation
Proton pump inhibitors are medicines that reduce the production of stomach acid. In a 2013 study, 41 patients with globus sensation were given PPIs. 22 out of 41 patients showed improvement. PPIs effectively treat gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), which can cause globus sensation.
However, in some cases, it’s been shown that PPIs aren’t very effective in relieving that feeling of pressure in the throat, especially if the cause is anxiety.
4 – Using speech therapy to overcome globus sensation
Speech therapy includes lots of different techniques and methods to overcome globus sensation. Speech therapy encourages patients to keep themselves hydrated. It also has reduced throat clearing, stress management, massaging of the larynx, and yawn-sigh technique. According to a 2009 study, 92% of patients who took part in the study showed improvement after 3 months of speech therapy.
Speech therapy reduces throat discomfort by relaxing throat muscles that have become tight due to anxiety or globus.
5 – Get rid of things that stress you out to reduce the feeling of lumping in the throat
Stress and anxiety are the two major causes of globus sensation. If you’ve been stressing yourself out overwork or other things, it’s time you start finding ways to manage your stress. Make a list of things that bring you discomfort and pressure, and start figuring out how you can get rid of them.
If your work has been stressing you out, then maybe it’s time you start looking for a different job. Building a career is important, but is there any point in doing that if it’s destroying your health? There are a lot of other stress management techniques that you can use to cope with your stress. Don’t overcommit yourself. If you take on more work than you can do, it’s going to leave you feeling stressed and frustrated. When you’re feeling stressed, try listening to soft music as it’s been known to reduce stress and anxiety.
6 – Postnasal drip treatment
Postnasal drip is a condition that increases the production of mucus and leads to a runny nose. Postnasal drip can sometimes cause people to experience globus sensation and feel like they have pressure in the throat. It can irritate the throat and cause the tonsils to become swollen. There’s usually no infection, but it can create a feeling of discomfort in the throat.
To treat a postnasal drip, you can use a nasal spray. Doctors also recommend drinking lots of fluid and gargle with warm salt water for 1-2 minutes. OTC decongestants can also treat postnasal drip.
7 – Acid reflux treatment to get rid of the pressure in the throat
As mentioned above, acid reflux can also cause a globus sensation. According to research, around 68% of people experience globus because of acid reflux. Acid reflux can tighten the throat muscles, making people feel like they lump in the throat.
Antacids are usually used for the treatment of acid reflux. OTC and prescription reflux medicines are also useful in treating them. Avoiding carbonated beverages and certain foods that cause acid reflux can also prevent it from happening. Make sure you don’t eat too fast or too much. A full stomach can also cause acid reflux.
8 – Distract yourself when you feel like you have a lump in the throat
When anxiety causes you to experience globus, try to find something you can distract yourself with. The more you focus on the feeling, the more noticeable it’ll become. If you’re with a friend, talk to them about how you’re feeling. Drink some water and maybe look at some Internet memes on your phone. Listening to music is also a good way to distract yourself from the feeling of having a lump in your throat. You can also take a warm bath, it’ll help you relax, and the warm water will bring some comfort to your throat.
9 – Drink warm liquids
Keeping yourself hydrated and drinking warm liquids can help clear your throat. Drink lukewarm water frequently and avoid caffeine. Drink green tea as it has less caffeine than black tea. Green tea will soothe your throat and reduce the sensation of the globus. Some other teas you can drink to clear your throat are licorice root tea, chamomile tea, turmeric tea, and slippery elm tea.
Warm soup broth can also reduce symptoms of globus sensation and clear your throat and nose.
10 – Vocal hygiene
Take care of your throat like you’d take care of anything you love. Your throat serves an important function, and it deserves the same amount of love you give to other parts of your body. Drink as much water as you can. Swallowing will relax the throat. Please don’t drink too much coffee or tea because they’ll make your throat dry, worsening the sensation of the globus.
Try not to talk too much to strain the vocal cords and the muscles in the throat. Don’t shout or raise your voice, and don’t try to clear your throat. Swallow instead, so you don’t put any unnecessary strain on the throat muscles.
11 – Do neck and shoulder exercises
Doing exercises that involve muscles in the neck and shoulder can reduce symptoms of globus sensation. Here’s an exercise that you can do at home:
- Straighten your back and lower your chin towards your chest. Hold it like that for 10 seconds and bring your chin back to its initial position.
- Straighten your shoulders and turn your head sideways towards your shoulder. Hold it like that for 10 seconds, and then tilt your head towards the other shoulder, holding the position for 10 seconds.
- Bring both of your shoulders up to your ears. Hold them there for 5-10 seconds, relax them, and then bring them back to their initial position. Do this at least 5 times.
- Bring your arms up and hold them in front of you. Stretch them as far as you can and then drop them to your sides. Do this at least 3 times.
Push your shoulders forwards and then push your shoulder blades backward and then relax. Do this at least 5 times.
12 – Medications for globus sensation
While there are no medications specifically made to treat globus, you can take medications that treat the underlying conditions. Medications for anxiety will reduce the symptoms of globus if you suspect your anxiety is causing it. It would help if you talked to your doctor about it first.
If you think you’re experiencing globus sensation because of acid reflux, then your doctor will prescribe you antacid medications. These medications will help with acid reflux and reduce your symptoms of globus sensation.
13 – Psychotherapy
If nothing is helping you, then you should see a therapist. Your therapist will most likely treat your condition with the help of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). They will make you talk about your anxiety and your globus symptoms and help you figure out how you can cope with them.
Therapists often use techniques like progressive muscle relaxation to help you relax your muscles. Your therapist will help you change your thought pattern so you can overcome anxiety and negative thoughts. Fighting against anxiety will greatly reduce the sensation of globus you have in your throat.
Globus sensation is a harmless condition, but it can be quite frightening for people who suffer from anxiety. Constantly feeling like you have something stuck in your throat can cause panic attacks. There are plenty of ways you can stop globus sensation, and most of them include overcoming negative thoughts and relaxing the muscles in your throat.
Moving forward with Psychotherapy
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Take care and stay well.