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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!
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YES! I AM NOT CRAZY!  LOL But seriously I have had this problem since the 8th grade and I'm now 52 years old.  Alot of you seem to have this problem are public speakers, singers, and others who use their voice alot.  This isn't my case.  I do have alot of back problems, but the only one that was present at the time this problem (I don't know what to call it, cause my doctors sure don't) presented itself was I was born with mild scoliosis.  Sometimes I do hear an audible click, and sometimes just sense it........and then if I swallow...you all know that's a bad idea, it confirms it.  It feels like a knife slicing down the left side of my throat.  GGCB I am truly sorry for your pain and I can only hope doctors begin taking us seriously.  I'm lucky in that I have always gotten it to "pop" back into place.  Somemtimes it can take a while (during which I am trying not to panic).  The only thing that I have found to work for me is to put my head up and down and all the while wiggling my throat with my hand.  It seems that when it pops out (for lack of a better word)  I've looked down and then sideways.  This hapens several times a week and I've just lived with it......doctors just seem to think it's all in my head.  I got the idea of it being a problem with my hyoid bone by watching CSI.  lol  I'm sad, but at least I'm sane to know that there are others out there with this condition.  Thank you for this post.  I'll visit soon.
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Not sure if I have a problem with the Hyoid bone, but 4 weeks ago my throat started clicking everytime I swallowed my saliva, I thought it would go away in a day or two, but it never did. I went to my family doctor a couple weeks after, and he reffered me to an ENT to get checked up, I have an appointment on April 24th, hopefully it'll be gone by then.
Anyhow, its still there and is really annoying, something clicks everytime I swallow my saliva and sometime while swallowing food and drinks. If I relax my throat I get this pumping like pain around my adam's apple. I tried some neck exercise, which helped a little.
Another thought, I'm planning to see a chiropractic to have my spinal cord aligned, since I've heard mis-alignment is the root cause of a lot of bone related problems. Anyone ever tried it?
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218452 tn?1253587574
I am sorry to hear that you started having the click when you swallow.  I know how annoying it is also as I have had my click for 16 months now.  I can say that, as for the clicking part of my problem, some days it does not click when I swallow at all, so at least I get a bit of relief from that part of my problem.  Hopefully yours will go away.  Let us know what your ENT says about your throat.  Regarding your comment about a chiropractor, I was thinking about that too,  I sometimes think that the reason I have my problem is partly because something might be misaligned in my neck (cervical spine).  If you get any help from your chiropractor, please post back and let us know that also.  Good luck on the 24th.  Hope to hear from you soon.
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Hello,

I just found this website. I was told I have Hyoid Syndrome and have been to the ENT and family doc several times. I too have described a lot of what everyone has posted on here. I truly thought maybe I had a Thyroid problem but the ENT says no just Hyoid Syndrome. I have had CT's, Ultrasounds, and a scope ran down by nose/throat twice and still hear the same thing. I do go for a steriod/cortizone shot in my neck on Wednesday, I will post the results if helpful. Thanks for all the insight here.
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218452 tn?1253587574
I just wanted to let everyone now that I spoke to someone who encouraged me to try a doctor of osteopathic medicine.  These are medical doctors who take an additional 500 extra hours of study of human anatomy than a regular M.D..  I have been told that these doctors know the body like no other doctor.

From the wikipedia:  "Today, the training of osteopathic physicians is virtually identical to that of M.D. physicians. Osteopathic physicians use all conventional methods of diagnosis and treatment but are trained to place additional emphasis on the achievement of normal body mechanics as central to maintaining good health.  D.O. physicians receive training in Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine (OMM), a form of manual therapy shown to be of some benefit for patients with certain musculo-skeletal disorders. However, this form of therapy is used by a minority of osteopathic physicians in actual practice."

I made an appointment with one that uses OMM.  You would need to find one that uses OMM in your area too.  I know that surgery is not the answer for me or for any of us.  It can only cause more problems since it is experimental.  My appointment is in May.  If anyone is contemplating having going to another ENT or having surgery, please consider going to a D.O. first to see if they can help you.  I am going to a highly recommended doctor in Maine, about 2 1/2 hours north of here.  Once I have my appointment I will let you all know how it went.  Wish me luck!
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http://dysphagia.com/mlist/2002-January/msg00146.html

Article maybe helpful?
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Dear all:
       I am a tmj specialist.Neither did I see a patient's presentation as you described in the past 20+ years practice. Although hyoid bone has no articulation with other bone, it has indirect connection to other bones through myofascial tendinous structures. The bones associated with hyoid bone are mandible,temple, sternum, scapula, as well as thyroid cartilage. The function of hyoid is associated with mastication, deglutition, respiration, and phonation. The hyoid bone can not pop out without the forces generated by muscular contraction.There must be " muscle imbalance" involved in the pathogenesis of your hyoid hypermobility.However, the root cause of muscle imbalance of hyoid musculatures would be difficult to identify. Occlusal therapy for temporomandibular disorder generally can relieve the muscle tension of masticatory , cranial, posterior cervical, upper shoulder, as well as sternocleidomastoid muscles.I do'nt know if the therapy is effective for supra and infra hyoid muscles.There is a book titled" myofascial pain and dysfunction,the trigger point manual,volume1.upper half body"in which chapter12/digastric muscle and other anterior neck muscles may be worth your reading.The book was published lippincott,williams& williams.In conclusion, I personally think that soft tissue manipulative therapist, such as D.O. chiropractor, myofascial trigger point therapist, and tmj specialist may provide relief of your problems.
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I had my appointment with the ENT on 4/24, and the doctor used a scope to go thru my nose and checkout the throat. Everything looked good, he said that I'm having this problem due to tensed throat muscles. The cartilages in the throat are very close, and I probably had a muscle spasm or something that caused this a couple of months ago. He said he had seen many people with this problem, and that it would go away by itself, no medicines needed. I'm still a little worried though, does anyone know if there are any exercises I can do to relax these muscles, and how long it would take for this to go?
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218452 tn?1253587574
Thank you for your post.  As I stated in my post, I do not think that surgery is the answer for this issue based on the 5 ENT's I have seen.  I am glad that you feel that seeing a D.O. may be helpful.  Myself and many of the people in this forum have such little hope to get this issue fixed, so it is finally good to see another specialist agree that OMM might help.  I am sure that myself and others in this forum will view your recommended reading.
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Hi everyone, I just finished reading all of the posts! I just can't believe so many are suffering this!! I am so sorry for all of you. I just got back from an appointment with an ENT and asked him if he could tell me what this painful hard lump in my neck was. I have been thinking it is a swollen gland,,my regular doctor said no swollen glands. Anyway the ENT started pressing on it  and boy did it hurt!! Then he said it is my Hyoid bone and that it is much larger on the left side than the right--and he told me not to worry about it. So I came home and typed in hyoid bone in google and found all of you!! Unbelievable...he didn't seem concerned at all that it is painful or anything. Well anyway as I was reading all of your posts --I kept on thinking about a chiropractor. I am glad that it was finally suggested . I think everyone here would do well to at least go and see a chiropractor..they can do amazing adjustments and alignments and who knows maybe you will get some relief. It's funny because I was just thinking this morning that I feel like alot of the pain I am having might be coming from the way I have been sleeping with my neck. I have terrible sinus infections and polyps--which I will have surgery on soon,,,but because of them I sleep on like 3 pillows,,,and since then I have had quite alot of back and neck pain and then this hyoid bone thing started..and the pain and weird sensations travel to the back left side of my tongue, into my ear and back of my throat..really strange painful sensations...so after I have the polyps removed and my sinuses cleaned out..if the problem persists I am going to go and see a chiropractor. Well I hope everyone here gets some relief !! I will check back soon to see if anyone has any updates.
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Thank you for your input here. I had the surgery because my throat x-rays showed that my hyoid bone was not in one solid piece. What I had done was removal of a piece of the bone that was not attached to the rest of the bone. The theory was that if the moving piece was removed, then it couldn't pop through muscles/tendons or whatever it is that is attached to the hyoid bone. Unfortunately, removing that piece didn't take care of my problem. I have seen a speech pathologist who has prescribed throat and neck exercises, but they haven't helped either. I may look in to seeing the D.O. as suggested by GGCB. Actually, I'm thinking I'll probably just continue to deal with the problem as I have for the past 40+ years. As you noted, you've never seen anything like it, every other doctor I've ever seen, talked to or been associated with in any way has the same problem...they've never seen it either. Some have been excited about it and the possibility of figuring out something that no one has ever seen before, but none have come up with any real solultions. Maybe a D.O. will be the answer, but I'm not getting my hopes up...again.
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It appears that poping out of your hypermobile hyoid bone is associated with movements of head turning, tmj, and tongue. I think occlusal therapy for temporomandibular disorder may be worth a try.
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218452 tn?1253587574
My D.O. appointment is next Monday.  I will let you know how it goes.  The doctor that referred me seemed extremely optimistic that this doctor will be able to help me...I, like you, am very guarded as I do not want my hopes to be shattered again, but I also need this last bit of hope as I ran out of doctors in Boston.  I actually contacted Mass Eye and Ear, they are supposed to have one of the best ENT departments in the country, but they ended up not even wanting to see me and instead referred me to Brigham and Women's Hospital, where I already went with no success.  It seems that nobody wants to deal with this and this D.O. I am going to see in Maine (2 1/2 hour drive each way) is pretty much my final hope as far as I am concerned.  I have already decided that, if this doctor is unable to help me, I am going to give up.  Living with this problem, since it has changed my daily quality of life (I have given up doing everything I enjoy...including reading) is really not a good option for me, but it seems that it may be my only option.  I won't however give up quite yet...let's see what happens on Monday.  I hope that he is able to help, if not fix the problem, at least make it better...not just for me, but for you and anyone else with this problem.  Keep an eye out for the results of my visit!
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has anyone found out what the name of this disorder is i've have this for the past 6 yrs I'm only 23 it all started when i was eating food in a awkward position (sidewayz on the couch..dont ask) i remember swallowing then excrusiating pain as if my hyoid when down and never came back up i have to wiggle it back in place (it snaps back in) ...first it only happened twice to three times a year then it started being more ofter i find it happends most when i burp/belch with my mouth close with my chin to my chest or yawn to extensively(over stretch)it fells like the hyoid I'm not shure if this is correct or adams apple goes down and wont come back up as if caught on something the only problem is its happing more and more and i feel as though ive grinded down the nitch that it fits in (so to speak)so it takes longer to get back in place its extreamly painful to swallow and brings instant tears to my eyes and i cant speak or move of fear of stretching this muscle now it takes like 10 min to get it back in place and when i tell people they look and me like im crazy it also is only on the left side never the right any ideas
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For those who report anxiety issues.

Hello, I do not suffer this hyoid condition but I took note of those who
report anxiety with the condition.

It sounds as if most sufferers have neck tension issues.

I studied something called the Alexander Technique, it is something you
learn with a teacher.

I am not sure I could even begin to offer a good description here but some
of the aspects that
may be of interest are as follows.

The neck is mis-used and overtense in many people.
The way we mis-use or our necks is deeply connected with fear - try google
on "startle reflex" we are often
not in slightest bit aware of how badly we are "using" ourselves, we tense
our necks in just about every activity
we do even though it is not necessary.

The Alexander Technique is about a lot more than neck tension, I cant define
it for you easily I can only pick
certain aspects that I think may interest you. I can tell you that if you
visit a teacher you may feel as I did,
a wonderful oiled, smooth freedom in every joint in your body. If you suffer
fear you may find considerable peace
and calm. Its impossible to make promises, each person experiences something
different and it would be incredibly
irresponsible of me if I made any claims at all.

In general Alexander Teachers do not achieve "cures" for specific problems
nor do the claim to do so. However
they can have a remarkable effect by showing a student quite how much damage
they do to themselves completely
unintentionally by the way they mis-use themselves. If something is
structurally wrong with your hyoid bone
then an Alexander Teacher is unlikely to fix the problem, however they may
have some surprising effect on general
neck tension and anxities.

I would advise anyone who finds this interesting just to do a little
research of their own on the internet.
You could start by searching for "Robert Rickover" and go and visit his
website which is one of the largest
depositories of Alexander Technique related matireal on the web. Please dont
take my word, do your own research
and come to your own conclusions, all I would like to do is suggest a
possibility to you.

I am not an Alexander Teacher myself, the advice is offered without any
vested interest.

Best wishes Jon.
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Please Do NOT give up Hope. I am just a graduate student trying to find my way through life and I stumbled upon you folks. After reading about all your struggles and pain, I realize that there is much more to the human body that we just cant quite figure out, no matter how much time we spend studying it. Don't let the body overcome the soul. I'll be praying for a miracle.
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218452 tn?1253587574
I am sorry that you have to deal with this problem too.  I wish that we knew a name for this problem. I know that it really doesn't help with the problem, but just know that you are not alone with it, and you are not crazy...it is a real problem.  I know (as do many of us in this forum) how painful, and frightening it is when the hyoid pops out.  Mine pops out the side every time I turn my head to the left (which equals hundreds of times per day that I have to push it back in).  Please keep checking in at this forum to see if anyone has some advice.  I don't have much faith in ENT's (seen 5), but if you haven't gone to one yet, you should at least go once so you can get a baseline CT Scan, and MRI.  Some people have suggested trying a chiropractor, a speech pathologist, a physical therapist, neck exercises, etc.  I am trying a D.O. (Doctor of Osteopathy).  If you go to an ENT it may be a good idea to print out these posts to show that others out there have the same thing.  Please post back to let us all know how you are doing and post any time you feel like you need a little emotional support.  
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218452 tn?1253587574
Thank you...at this rate we are going to need a miracle.
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218452 tn?1253587574
There is no telling how long the click will last.  I have had my click for 19 months now, some people's may have gone away, and some people have had it for years, so there is no way to tell.  I hope that yours goes away soon like your doctor says.  Let us know!
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I too, have had the exact same problem as you all for the last two years, I am only 21 and decided something needed to be done after having it pop out twice in the past weeks. Just today I visited my local Doctor of Osteopathy here in Bastrop, TX and he did some reseach and found this site and he theororizes it could be a fragmented hyoid aswell. I am very happy he has extensive knowledge and didn't give me the same conclusion of not knowing as you all have experienced. I am going next week to have a CT scan and meet with a ENT to discuss a solution. My D.O. also did warn me that this condition is rare and there is not much knowledge out there about it and to be cautous of doctors suggestions. Similar to what others have suggested he did say it could be related to tension in the neck caused from stress. This makes perfect sense as this has happened mostly under times of serious stress (finals week). Please keep posting as you find more information about the problem as well as any helpful doctors. Shell K and the others: I will keep all of you in my prayers for a soloution to this problem.
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