Aa
A
A
Close
Avatar universal
hyoid bone problems
History of my problem: For as long as I can remember, I have had a problem with my hyoid bone popping out and causing excrutiating pain. It is always the same - the right side of my neck. At about the age of 8 I talked to my pediatrician about it and he promptly told me it was not possible. That I was having anything "pop out" in my neck. He contended that there wasn't anything there that could pop out. So I just continued to push it back into place whenever it popped out. Back then, it was very easy to push back and only lasted a few seconds until I got it back. About 3 years ago, I noticed that this was happening more and more frequently (used to be about 2-3 times per year) Now it was happening about every month and was much harder to push back. Sometimes taking 20 or more minutes. During that time, it was extremely painful to swallow or talk. After I would finally get it pushed back into place, the pain would go away, but my whole neck would be sore up to my ear and through my jaw. It felt bruised, but no visible bruising on the outside. Over the next couple of years, this problem continued to get worse, happening weekly with some minor "slippage" on a daily basis.  Throughout my life, I have talked to various family practice doctors about this problem. They all contended that it must just be a "lump in my throad" like when you get emotional. Or maybe it's just excess head conjestion. Or maybe it's just a muscle spasm. Or maybe I'm just imagining it. Whatever the case, no one had ever heard of anything like it and no one ever took me seriously. So, I started researching on my own. I could not find anything that sounded like what I had. I posted questions to "Ask and Expert" all over the web. I did get some respones. all of which started with "wow, that is interesting. Never heard of anything like that before." One physician directed me to find a good ENT. So, I did. He took me seriously. He ran tests - CT scans, swallowing x-rays, blood work, etc. I saw a speech pathologist and everything. The swallowing x-rays showed that my hyoid bone did not more in unison. It appeared that the hyoid, which I'm told forms in the womb from 3 point of origin and then fuses into a solid bone before birth, had never fused into the solid bone at all. The ENT that ran the tests did not feel qualified to handle this case, so he referred me to a colleague who does a lot of throat cancer surgery and work around the hyoid bone. He reviewed the tests and theorized that if we removed the portion of the hyoid that was not firmly attached to the rest of the bone, it should solve the problem. I ran this thought process past the head of Otolaryngology at the Mayo Clinic, who had also never heard of such a problem, and he concurred that this theory did make sense. However, there were no guarantees due to the fact that no one had ever seen or heard of anything like it before. So, I went ahead with the surgery on 10/26/06. It seemed to go well. For 3 months, I had no problems. Then on 1/23/07, it popped again, just like it had always done. I immediately went back to the surgeon who is completely at a loss of what to do. His only recommendation is to do more surgery and remove more of the hyoid bone. However, the more they take out the greater the risk of swallowing issues post-surgery. I'm not sure I'm ready to sign up for that again just yet. Since the 1/23 incident, it has happened 3 more times with the last time being only 2 weeks from the previous episode. I'm worried that this is going to continue to get worse again. If it were only going to happen a couple of times a year, I would just deal with it like I have my whole life. But if it gets back to being almost every day, I can't imagine having to continue to deal with that for the rest of my life. As long as the bone is in place, I have no problems. No swallowing problems, no pain, nothing. I just never know when it's going to pop. I do a lot of public speaking and presentations. My greatest fear is that it will happen in front of an audience. The pain is so sudden and intense that I immediatley burst into tears. This is the main reason I have been pursuing this issues to begin with. Any suggestions? I saw in your archives that a person with the nick name of "creyn" described a similar condition back on 11/22/2004 on this web site. Did anyone ever help her? Any feedback would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
Cancel
772 Answers
Page 2 of 39
Avatar universal
Sorry I didn't answer your question in my last post. I've never had any flu like symptoms or any of the other stuff you mentioned. I've had my problem my whole life. As far as I know it wasn't "caused" by anything. The theory on mine is that the bone never fused into a solid bone before I was born. At least that's what the doctors think. They just don't know what to do about it. It's interesting that so many of us have similar issues, but none are exactly the same. The hyoid is a mysterious little bone. Anyway, sorry I don't have anything to add to what you're going through. My neck surgery was simply to remove a fragmented piece of the hyoid. I don't have anything else wrong with my neck or swallowing or thyroid or any other thing. Just the hyoid popping out of place and causing pain. I hope you're able to find a doctor that can help you. It sounds awful! Good luck. Shell K
Comment
Cancel
Comment
Avatar universal
Comment
Comment
Comment
Post Comment
Avatar universal
Thanks for the info GGCB! I was in Massachusetts last October for the first time. It is a beautiful state. I hope you find one of those miracle doctors in Boston! Let us know how that goes. Every little piece of information could help.
Comment
Cancel
Comment
Avatar universal
Comment
Comment
Comment
Post Comment
Avatar universal
Hello everyone..I'm 32 years old.... and OMG, I cannot believe there is other people out there with this "wierd" problem. I've been have all the same issues and sypmtoms for a few yrs now and its just gotten worse and more frequent to the point were I can't laugh too hard, yawn with out holding my neck in place, or sometime even turn my neck. In matter of fact it happend while I was in the car yesterday and I freaked out because It was stuck for a good 5-6 mins and I couldnt get it "unstuck" , the pain was excrutiating and I could barely speak...then after I got it unstuck by pushing it back into place..my neck was so sore, my throat is STILL sore, and it hurts when I turn my neck...I guess from what happend. It feels like I have a something boney in my throat that gets "twisted" is the best way to explain it, I thought maybe it was my pipe, or a muscle/ligament in my throat that just gets twisted backwards...( I dont know much about my anatomy to know what kinds of muscles ..ect that I have in my neck) I havent seen a docter yet, and i'm pretty much embarressed since I have so many "other" weird health issues like I have a rare heart condition... so this will put the icing on the cake if I have a rare throat condition..LOL! but also I would like to mention...that sometimes now this will sound crazy..but my lips will swell , like if I have collegen...they will get very big and swollen for about 2days..then they will get chap I guess from the swelling and peel...( and I already have full lips, so this is NOT a good thing) but I dont know if THAT is related to the whole throat thing? I thought maybe I was having an allergic reaction to something, but now it happens like 1 a week and I CANNOT figure what is causing my lips to swell..My friends and family ( and husband) thinks its funny but the same time scary that my lips just SWELL for no reason...anyways thought I'd mention that..( by the way I took pics of my lips just in case I need for proof or something..weird I know) Any info would help...and let me know if I have to start looking up swollen lips too! LOL..hopefully not! Maybe there is a connection????  
Comment
Cancel
Comment
Avatar universal
Comment
Comment
Comment
Post Comment
218452 tn?1253587574
Sorry I did not responde to your post earlier...My hyoid problem started with a REALLY BAD cough, not with the flu.  No swollen glands.  My pain radiates from the hyoid area and upper throat area and goes into the left side of my mouth, throat, and tongue...no pain radiates to the right side of any of those.  After reading your symptoms it sounds to me like you may have some sort of systemic virus that is affecting many parts of your body in different way, plus you mentioned you feel sick all of the time, I am wondering if you should consult a virologist to see if you have a really stubborn virus, which also may be causing glands in your throat to swell and cause your clicking.  If it turns out that you don't have a virus, then I would seek an ENT doctor for the throat pain and annoying clicking issue.  I wish you well.
Comment
Cancel
Comment
Avatar universal
Comment
Comment
Comment
Post Comment
218452 tn?1253587574
I went to my ENT appt. in Boston last Friday.  First I need to say he was a very smart ENT surgeon with a wonderful bedside manner, which is very important to me since I had 3 "winners" before this.  I told him how this started with a cough I had for 5 weeks last November, and he asked me if I went to see my doctor at the time for the cough, I told him "yes, but my doctor said it was a virus and gave me no treatment, and that I went back for a 2nd time when my cough did not improve after 10 days and she still said, "No treatment"", well he told me that my symptoms sounded like "pertussis" (whooping cough), so #1, this injury may have been prevented had I been diagnosed and treated properly in November.  But there is nothing I can do about that now.  (The good news is that you cannot get whooping cough again once you have it.)  He told me that I have a torn ligament from all of the coughing, and because of the torn ligament, my hyoid is not being held in place properly and is getting caught on either a tendon or some cartilage in my neck when I move my head, etc., and is also rubbing on neck structures and maybe nerves which is causing pain to radiate from my neck to my mouth and tongue region.  He went on to explain that injuries like this can take a long time to "scar up" (12-18 months) because the neck really never rests...we are always moving, talking, supporting our heads, etc.  He did not use the term heal, because the injury really isn't "healing" in the sense that it will get better and be the way it was before.  He said the best that I could hope for would be for the tissue to "scar up" so that pain can be reduced.  He also said that my hyoid will most likely always pop out unless I have surgery...which he did not recommend that I do at this time.  He wants me to give it another 6 months or so to continue to "scar up".  He said that when the injury scars up, I may get less and less pain, until it becomes a tolerable level, but my hyoid will most likely always pop out the side unless I have some sort of surgery.  If at the end of the healing process my pain does not improve, then he will talk about surgical options.  He also said that this injury/condition is very rare and that there is no surgical procedure in any of the text books to address this.  Anyway, he told me that he has seen this once before.  Someone from China flew in to see him since nobody in China could help him.  This person did end up needing surgery.  I really liked this ENT doctor/surgeon...especially since he said to me "I will give you any infomation I can give you with your options...but you are in the drivers seat to let me know how you want to handle this."  I asked him if "not fixing the hyoid bone problem would cause any problems in the future for me" and he said no, that I would just have to be able to tolerate any pain that comes from it, and if the pain does not get any better, then he would try to help me with a couple of different surgical options if I so choose to do so, and it was all up to me as to how far I want to do with this (since not fixing the hyoid bone popping out problem will not cause me any futher problems in the future, other than pain).  Each of you might have this problem for different reasons, so you would still need to have it checked out by someone who has seen this before.  I will continue to monitor this forum and keep you all updated on any changes (hopefully improvement).  But for now, I guess I am stuck with trying to find a way to tolerate my daily pain until...hopefully...the injury scars up enough to make it more tolerable.
Comment
Cancel
Comment
Avatar universal
Comment
Comment
Comment
Post Comment
218452 tn?1253587574
I just wanted to add one more this...more of a wish than anything...but, wouldn't it be great if all of us having this problem could meet somewhere, and go to one ENT doctor all at the same time?  This way, the doctor could examine all of us one at a time and maybe find the commonalities in our problems.  Maybe then, when they see so many people suffering with this, they will be able to help us AND put some procedures/treatments into place in medical books to help anyone else that may come along in the future with this same problem.  In a perfect world...
Comment
Cancel
Comment
Avatar universal
Comment
Comment
Comment
Post Comment
Avatar universal
This is so fascinating. These posts are giving me hope that I'm not crazy. I have had the same problem you all have described for about 2 years now. After seeing many doctors who had no idea what I could be experiencing, I was sent to a specialist. The second I saw the ENT specialist, I said "There is a click in my throat. There's a lump, like a second adam's apple. I can't swallow or yawn without this click. Sometimes it feels like I am getting strangled". Without any further description, the EMT put his finger right on the lump and told me I had arthritis of the hyoid bone. He gave me some anti-inflamaty drugs. While I was relieved that the EMT recognized my symptoms, I have occasional doubts that something more serious is going on. It really helps me to have you all reporting the same symptoms and concluding its the hyoid bone. I never had any trauma to the neck. My symptoms are episodic, where the lump in my throat gets larger and causes discomfort...and then seems to go away. I have noticed that my symptoms get worst in the heat and humidity of the summer.  It is alarming. The doc told me that there was pretty much nothing I could do other than to take aleve, I have no other course of action. Honestly, I think that I could deal with the discomfort if I were positively, absolutely sure that my diagnosis was correct. I worry that I have been misdiagnosed and that I need treatment. I am thinking of getting a second opinion.  
Comment
Cancel
Comment
Avatar universal
Comment
Comment
Comment
Post Comment
Avatar universal
Wow! You know, that makes great sense. As a kid, I was sick all the time with pneumonia. I had a lot of allergies which caused the pneumonia and coughing is what I did all the time. That could explain why I've had this problem my whole life. Like I said, I first talked to my doctor about it when I was about 8 years old and it had been happening for a long time at that point. If your ENT is correct and once you tear that ligament, you always have that problem, then maybe it really is something we can't do much about. He's also right about the tolerability. Since I've had it my whole life, you just learn to live with it. You learn what not to do, sort of what triggers it. But sometimes, it just pops out for no apparent reason. I DID have surgery, but not on ligaments. I actually had part of the hyoid bone removed. My x-rays showed that my hyoid was in sections. I wonder if during all that coughing as a child, when I tore a ligament did I also break the hyoid bone into pieces? Research shows that about the only way to break a hyoid is through strangulation or hanging, but hey they said the popping out wasing possible either. I wonder if you would share the name of the doctor you saw? I'd like to pass this information along to my ENT, maybe they could compare notes or something. Thanks for much for the news! Take care, Shell K
Comment
Cancel
Comment
Avatar universal
Comment
Comment
Comment
Post Comment
218452 tn?1253587574
I went to the ENT Clinic at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston.  I really liked Dr. Saxon.  I just wanted to mention, that even though the things he told me make sense, it is always important to keep your ears open for other ideas as to what this can be and how it should be treated, and to always follow up with your doctor if you get new or changing symptoms.  I actually have noticed that even though my pain has decreased a little, my throat has actually gotten a lot worse in the discomfort category in the past 2 weeks.  My hyoid is constantly (not an exageration) sticking out the side of my neck and I feel like it is totally dislocated.  I can move it back in, but as soon as I do that out it comes again, and now it is starting to happen on the other side of my neck.  I don't even want to swallow, or move or speak any more.  I just want to sleep.  That is the only time I have relief from it.  I barely get through the day at work, and forget about having any kind of fun!  I guess I must sound whiney now...sorry.  Some days I just get tired of acting strong.  Half of the time I get myself into the mind set that I can live with this if I have to....as for the other half of the time....well, you know.  I am very interested to hear what happens after the 2 doctors talk, so let me know.  I will also be checking this forum often so that I can keep up with what is happening with everyone.  Talk to you later.  Good luck Shell and all!
Comment
Cancel
Comment
Avatar universal
Comment
Comment
Comment
Post Comment
Avatar universal
I agree with you completely on the changing symptoms. I've had times when things were...different...with my symptons too. I'm going to print this info out and fax it to my doctor. We'll see if he actually contacts Dr.Saxon or not. Thanks again. I really hope you find some relief soon.
Comment
Cancel
Comment
Avatar universal
Comment
Comment
Comment
Post Comment
Avatar universal
Hello, my name is Jen I am a 27 year old identical twin.  My twin and I have had the same type of problem for many years.  My sister says she thinks this first happend to her when she was 12, while eating doritos.  She thought she had a dorito stuck in her throat but soon realized this was not the case.  We have always said that our throat pops out of place when this happens.  We have both noticed that this happens mostly when we are laying down and  we lift our head up and look sideways.  It also happens when standing up while turning our head in a somewhat awkward position.  I don't know if it puts strain on our neck causing the bone to pop out of place.  It feels very uncomfortable when this happens like a chip is caught in your throat.  In order for the bone to go back into place we have to move our throat around until it goes back.  Sometimes it could take a little while before it will pop back into place. We also have never heard of anyone else having this problem besides us.  My sister has told the ENT about what happens and he thought it could be a cartlige in her throat.  Like you have all said I don't think doctors are very knowledgeable about this problem.  I would like to see more research done on the topic because people think you are crazy since they have never heard of this before. Now I know that the problem may be caused by my hyoid bone.  Thanks for the input.
Comment
Cancel
Comment
Avatar universal
Comment
Comment
Comment
Post Comment
Avatar universal
I am 39 years old, I have had this problem for 6 or 7 years.  I have always explained it as  - it feels like my left tonsil has popped out of place.  Would anyone else explain it that way?
Comment
Cancel
Comment
Avatar universal
Comment
Comment
Comment
Post Comment
Avatar universal
Thank you all for this board.  Finally a group of people that have had the same thing happen.  Everyone DOES think I am crazy when it happens.  After years of struggling I found out that this same thing happens to my mother.  I will be back soon to see if anyone has had any luck with Dr.'s
Comment
Cancel
Comment
Avatar universal
Comment
Comment
Comment
Post Comment
Avatar universal
I am 24 years old and have had this problem for a few months now. I had my tonsils out in February (which the ENT said it was one of the worst cases that he's seen in a long time) and my necks pops on the left side when I turn my head to the left. It doesn't dislocate completely but I feel alot of pressure like it might but no pain. My hyoid bone is very lax and makes alot of "grinding" noises even when I turn my head to the right. I am a Physical Therapist and I realize it should move but I've had a couple of my co-workers (P.T. and a Speech Language Path.) take a look and they say it feels abnormal to them. I went back to see my ENT and she told me that I had a severe case of GERD and said that is what may be causing my problem due to swelling and inflammation which my cause the laryngeal cartliges to be rubbing against the back of the hyoid. She gave me script for Prevacid and told me to take that and if it still is happening to come back. I've been taking it for a couple of weeks and it still pops. I truly think they didn't have an answer for me. So I haven't decided if I will go back to just live with it.
Comment
Cancel
Comment
Avatar universal
Comment
Comment
Comment
Post Comment
218452 tn?1253587574
I have those same grinding noises in my hyoid area just like you which happens when I turn my head in either direction.  This is just one of my many hyoid symptoms and pains.  My hyoid bone pops out in the left side whenever I turn my head to the left, even slightly, and stays caught on something inside my neck when I turn my head back to the right.  I am in a constant state of discomfort and even pain.  Feels like my hyoid is scratching inside of my throat when I move my head or swallow or talk.  What I would like to ask you is, has the GERD medication helped the grind ing in your throat?  If it has, then I will try that because I do have mild Acid Reflux Disease.  Please post back letting me know if it helped with the grinding at all as I will try it also so that I can at least get rid of one of the many symptoms that causes me discomfort.  I am sorry to see so many people with this hyoid problem. Everyone keep posting and updating their medical status, changing symptoms, things they have tried, and any success in improving any of their symptoms!
Comment
Cancel
Comment
Avatar universal
Comment
Comment
Comment
Post Comment
Avatar universal
I feel that it has helped just a little with the "grinding" feeling, but the popping of the hyoid is still there. It wouldn't hurt to try the medication just to see if it works for you.
Comment
Cancel
Comment
Avatar universal
Comment
Comment
Comment
Post Comment
218452 tn?1253587574
Thank you for letting me know!  I think that I will try Zantac for a couple of weeks to see if it can help the grinding I have in my upper throat where the hyoid is.  I will post back and let you know if it helps me!
Comment
Cancel
Comment
Avatar universal
Comment
Comment
Comment
Post Comment
Avatar universal
Just wanted to say thanks for the post it was very informative. I have the same problem, sometimes it happens frequently, other times not at all. I usually experience varying levels of pain when it pops out but I would just simulate a yawn to get it back in. I told my girlfriend about it las night at a party and like most people she thought it was weird. I am sorry to know about the pain you suffer but it's kind of relieving to know they are people who can indentify with my problem. Thanks again for the post.
Comment
Cancel
Comment
Avatar universal
Comment
Comment
Comment
Post Comment
Avatar universal
I just turned 24 in July, for Labor Day Weekend I went to Pasadena for a wedding.  I just noticed this strange sensation in my throat last week.  As I was reading through some the posts what I found in common is that my hyoid bones moves way too easily, or atleast I think so, I feel like there is a pill stuck in the back of my throat constantly, I was diagnosed with Acid Reflux about a year ago while I was working as a missionary.  However I haven't had any big problems with heartburn or acid reflux since coming home almost a year ago.  The only thing that I think may have brought on these symptoms for me is that last week I drove to LA from SLC, the last hour and a half of the trip my friend and I started belting out the soundtrack to Hairspray.  I know it sounds strange, but I can't think of anything else.  It started as a sore throat, I lost my voice two days later and then it felt like I stuck something in my throat.  This may sounds so gross, but I reached down my throat trying to figure out if I had something growing or what, and yes I can feel the bone.  Until a couple minutes ago this has not hurt though, now I can feel kind of a shooting pain down the left side of my neck.  So I didn't read all of the posts because I have ADD and after the first 6 posts I just have the HARDEST time concentrating!  But from what I can see, it seems like seeing a doctor about this will be a waste of time?  If I am wrong please correct me, but I don't have insurance right now, or if it is in effect I don't think it is really that great coverage.  THANK YOU so much for this forum!  As I sit here I am feeling more pain though, which makes me wonder if it really is in my head, or if it is because I moved my hyoid around to see if it did what others complained of.  I'm so sorry to hear that all of you are in such pain!  That makes me sad for you.  I am grateful for the internet though!  WOW!  Thank you goodness for some answers!  
Comment
Cancel
Comment
Avatar universal
Comment
Comment
Comment
Post Comment
218452 tn?1253587574
I have been taking the Zantac for about 1 week now and I think I have had a little improvement with the upper throat "grinding" portion of my problem.  I will continue it for another week or two to see if it continues to improve.  I still have the hyoid popping out the left side of my throat still every time I turn my head.  I haven't given up on that though and I plan on seeing another doctor this month and next month.  (I have slowed down on seeing doctors recently because I just broke my foot and am out of work and non-weight-bearing for 6 weeks.  Three weeks left!)  Like I needed another problem to cause pain!  What really aggravates me is that my hyoid problem causes me more pain and discomfort than my broken foot!  How have you been doing?

To: Hotgal1
I think (and I think that everyone else will also agree) that you should still see a doctor at least once about your problem.  You may have a different problem that may be treatable, but you will not know unless you go to the doctor (preferably an ENT).  You may also get lucky and find the doctor that has the answer that you and the rest of us are looking for...good luck and post back!
Comment
Cancel
Comment
Avatar universal
Comment
Comment
Comment
Post Comment
Your Answer
Avatar universal
Answer
Do you know how to answer? Tap here to leave your answer...
Answer
Answer
Post Answer
A
A
Doctor Ratings & Reviews
Comprehensive info on 720K doctors.
Complete reviews, ratings & more.
Ear, Nose & Throat Community Resources