Thyroid Disorders Community
Choking Feeling - Tightness in Neck
About This Community:

This patient support community is for discussions relating to thyroid issues, goiter, Graves disease, Hashimoto's Thyroiditis, Human Growth Hormone (HGH), hyperthyroid, hypothyroid, metabolism, parathyroid, pituitary gland, thyroiditis, and thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH).

Font Size:
A
A
A
Background:
Blank
Blank
Blank
Blank Blank

Choking Feeling - Tightness in Neck

After reading a few threads, this is something I've been suffering with since Oct 2001 and no doctor has been able to give me an answer.  This is the cliff notes version.

I've seen THREE endocrinologists (going on 4), an Immunologist, ENT (who pointed towards the thyroid more than once), Allergist, a dentist specializing in TMJ and even a chiropractor which felt like it was irritating my neck with adjustments.

It started with a choking feeling in my neck. I came home from work ripping off my turtle neck and having dry choking heaves. After that I couldn't wear anything around my neck including necklaces, turtlenecks, or my hair touching it.

About two months later, I was diagnosed with mono and was in bed from Jan 2002 to March 2002. During this time I gained 50lbs in those months going from 140 to 190lbs.

I saw an endocrinologist in April in Rochester NY who said I had "Fibromyalgia of the thyroid" and that there was nothing wrong with me.

I went to another endo. in Buffalo NY. She looked at my blood work and said "There is nothing wrong with you."  
I said: Why do I have this feeling in my neck?  
She said: Don't know.
-- and  sent me on my way

I had an ultrasound in 2002 that showed some nodules on the thyroid. No doctor addressed it.

I continued to have this feeling in my neck.  My shirts are all pulled out, I wear V necks, I put my hair up, I can't wear necklaces and I also cannot touch the front of my neck. It's hard to find a comfortable spot when sleeping because pressure below my jaw radiates.  I can't wear a scarf or a winter coat with a high collar because it rubs on the sides of my neck.

I began to live with this as annoying as it was.

Last year, I went to another endocrinologist regarding some other problem and stressed that I had this issue since Oct 2001.  She did another thyroid test and found my leves were off. Gave me synthroid.

She did an ultrasound and took a biopsy of the nodules. No cancer. Thyroid was a little enlarged.
I was told to live with the feeling in my neck.

I CAN'T DO THIS ANYMORE!!!!  Right now the neck is too tight, I have keep taking Advil which is not good to relieve this tightness. I feel like no doctor cares to help and that I'm the only person in the area with this problem.
It all started around the time I was experiencing symptoms of mono before I was diagnosed.

I see another endo in November. What else can I ask for to see if this problem can be solved (aside from having the thyroid removed).  I'm at my wit's end!

Thank you for any help!
Related Discussions
32 Comments Post a Comment
Blank
1425146_tn?1282765484
This symptom is common in post thyroidic removals, but not that usual when your gland is only "slightly enlarged." See posts on this at: http://www.************.com/Tightness__fullness__painful_neck_post_Thyroidectomy_t79020.html

In your health history discussions with your Endo, did you mention your history of Mono and the weight gain? Is it possible this was a misdiagnosis? I would suggest you discuss your medical history very thoroughly with the new Doc.

With my throiditis, I have redness across my chest, just as if I had worn a wide open collar shirt and gotten a sunburn from it. It is slightly sensitive at times, but nowhere near your symptoms. This is fairly common I've learned, but your level of pain and discomfort should be addressed faster than 1 month. Consider a detailed physical with a GP sooner, and address the health history and current issue at length with them first.

Good Luck
Blank
Avatar_f_tn
Yes the Endo knew the whole history (actually I saw two of them the year I had mono which was 2002).

The neck problems were fully documented by the Allergist and I have those records. I will be passing them onto the next doctor(s).

I do get a redness in the area around my thyroid like I have a sunburn.

Unfortunately Buffalo NY doctors take you when they take you which is usually 1-3 months if you are lucky. The endo's wait is usually 3-5 months. Nothing sooner unless you leave the area.
Blank
1504101_tn?1299158864
I have the choking feeling too, and the strange redness around my throat in the thyroid area. I have found that when I first wake up it's not there, but after a few minutes of drinking something (AM coffee), it starts again. So, I'm thinking mine (thyroid gland) is becoming irritated and swollen from the swallowing. It could be caused by stress, or angina of the throat. My mother had angina of the throat and chest after my brother died. I think she was prescribed Valium at the time.  If you have a nodule that is large it can cause this (like mine), or a goiter. I would ask/demand if you have to that another ultrasound be done on your neck..if you can't find a good/willing endocrinologist, then maybe a good ear, nose, and throat specialist can help find the problem. My thyroid issues were discovered by my GYN, but I was only going to her and no one else at the time.
Blank
Avatar_f_tn
Thanks so much! I am going to keep pursuing this with a decent endo. I went to a neurologist and he said this was not neurological because the feeling wasn't just on one side which would indicate the brain is controlling this.

The sad thing is, I have valium for panic attacks however when taking it, the feeling never goes away.

Would an MRI show anything? With all my complaints no one has issued an MRI of the area.

Blank
1369218_tn?1282427484
I have Hashis and have had a tight feeling in my throat for a while. I had a positive blood test for gluten sensitivity so my GI doc did an upper endoscopy. I did not come back celiac, but he said I do have acid reflux. Well it was pretty mild, so I ignored it. Six months later I saw a new ENT and told him about my throat. He asked me about acid reflux and I said that I get a little bit of heartburn. He put me on Protonix, for acid reflux, and my throat is not tight anymore. Just my story, maybe you should check it out.
Blank
1518151_tn?1320452547
I have experienced this choking, gagging feeling for a while now with large goiter.  Have you had a recent thyroid ultrasound?  If not it may have increased in size.  I also have complained of a strange red "flushing" on my neck above the thyroid for about a year and a half.  My family doc just shrugged it off.  Don't be discouraged, it is so aggravating when you know something is wrong and doctors don't take seriously.  I agree that it would not hurt to make sure your heart is okay.  Angina can cause neck tightness although that would be a long time to have that.  Definately need current ultrasound as mine almost doubled in size over 3 years.  Your neck symptoms sound just like mine, nothing but v necks for years.  Hope this helps.
Blank
393685_tn?1325870933
The thyroid is embedded near the skin of the neck and if there is irritation to the gland the redness is not uncommon to see.

Blank
Avatar_f_tn
Would acid reflux cause the sensitivity to the skin on my neck causing me not to be able to have anything rubbing on my neck?
Blank
393685_tn?1325870933
acid reflux will inflam the esophogus causing pressure
Blank
Avatar_f_tn
I don't have acid reflux and it wouldn't cause sensitivity on the SKIN of the neck so that nothing can touch it or make the muscles stiff.

You were missing the biggest symptoms CLOTHING TOUCHING THE NECK CAUSES IRRITATION.
Blank
219241_tn?1357815389
I used to and still do get the feeling you are talking about. I had a large goitre with multinodules and also a large 4.5cm nodule with Hurthle cells in it.

Even since surgery I find I just cannot wear anything high onmy neck. I have a ton of necklaces, turtle necks and scarves which I used to wear all the time, but not anymore! Even certain t-shirts I keep pulling down unconsciously and then end up ripping them off!

From what I have learned about the anatomy, and how our nerve endings seem to be, it would appear that since the nerve endings are on the skin then the nerves travel in under and past the thyroid making their way to the spine. So any enlargement of the thyroid or even post surgery as in my case, will cause irritation to the skin. It is a kind of hyper response by the nerve messages.

Having said that, that doesn't mean you still don't have a problem with your thyroid. That definitely needs investigating. The sensitivity is just an added pain in the botty!
You might need to up your Synthroid to see if that can reduce the goitre. Some people, once their goitre is reduced, are happy to find the pressure feeling disappear.

Cheers
Blank
393685_tn?1325870933
Where did the acid reflex comment then come up if that isn't something of a concern?

Sorry if I misread that but it seemed logical you were looking for a connection between the 2.   - No need to use caps..

I went back to your original post and you stated you had mono.

Hashimoto's disease

Hashimoto's disease is also one of the leading causes of a swollen thyroid gland. This disorder is characterized by the destruction of your thyroid gland by your own immune system. The swollen thyroid occurs as it becomes more damaged and loses its ability to produce hormones.

Medical researchers continue to study autoimmune diseases, in attempt to find definitive causes for them. One virus that continues to be found in higher titers (blood measurements) among autoimmune disease patients, than in the healthy population, is the Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV). One specific medical study concludes that the association of EBV has been found in patients with autoimmune thyroiditis as well.

Mononucleosis and Hashimoto's Thyroiditis: The Epstein-Barr Virus

Blank
393685_tn?1325870933
Here is a personal experience detail on what you describe also

http://www.paloscommunityhospital.org/health/health-library/life-out-of-balance.aspx
Blank
1425146_tn?1282765484
Hashimotos, thyroiditis, and inflammation and/or infection of the gland can and does cause this choking sensation around the throat. There are other issues that can cause it, but I have not heard of Mono patients presenting with long term pain and pressure in the throat area.

The acid reflux issue seems to be apart from the probably thyroidic problem, but in our contacts with hundreds of thyroid sufferers, it does not come up statistically more than in the general population. I believe more medical "search" and "destroy" is needed there.

As time goes by, especially watching this Board, and the comments from the many who communicate with the Foundation, it appears that more and more patients are getting  the "I don't know - get moving" atttitude from their physician's. This is unacceptable and un-professional. While sometimes our symptoms are difficult or embarassing to communicate, it is the MD's job to "extract" information, and make observations of the "signs" present in a patient. This is much different from the "symptoms" a patient will present with. If the MD isn't really paying attention, committed to observation, and most importantly, committed to finding an answer to the patient's symptoms, you're going nowhere. This is the state of literally thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of folks in the US.

Not acceptable, so add patient advocate to my roll call. And we need more.

In addition, I know Buffalo is a fairly populated city, but you should not have to wait more than a few days here in Texas, even for an MD Anderson consultation. Demand quicker service, or shop around the city's suburbs or another city. These type waits are not uncommon for extremely skilled or nationally recognized physicians with specific skill sets, but routine endo visits should not have to wait 3 months. Look around, find a better deal. And don't be a victim of the system. Also remember over 75% of an Endo's time and training are dedicated to diabetes, not our thyroids.
Blank
Avatar_f_tn
wow, reading your description of your problem is like reading about myself. I have had this same feeling for over 4 yrs now and before. I gave up wearing turtle necks and t-shirts always feel like they are choking me. I am always pulling my shirts away from my neck as it feels like they are too tight. I do not have the redskin problem. I do or should say had acid reflux for years but have been on Omeprazol for 4 years now. It helps the acid reflux but doesn't do anything to help the neck. I have nodules on my thyroid. They were discovered  4 years ago. I have had numerous ultrasounds on them. They have doubled in number over the years. I have had 2 tests with radioactive iodine. My doctor told me they were to small to biopsy, yet they are big enough that he could feel them while examining my neck. I went to an ENT and he put the tube down my nose into my throat. He said one side of my thyroid is larger than the other. I suspect that is my problem but my doctor says it isn't. I have had a catscan. I now am going in for an endoscopy this month. I am glad to see that I am not the only one with this problem. I only brought it up to the doctor a couple months ago. I have been told to many times that I have strange complaints so I was reluctant to say anything. But I thought with the nodules on my thyroid it might explain it.. I will keep you updated  and will watch for your updates also.

Ginny195061
Blank
Avatar_m_tn
If you have had thyroid tests done, please post results and reference ranges shown on the lab report.

Also, if you look at this listing of 26 typical hypothyroid symptoms, how many would you say that you have?

http://endocrine-system.emedtv.com/hypothyroidism/hypothyroidism-symptoms-and-signs.html
Blank
1137259_tn?1260705950
I am doing that too, going onto acid reflux tablets to see what happens, and anit biotics incase i have a viral infection(my idea as i heard it can linger after years after if infection was not addressed)...so fingers crossed for the tablets for refluz
Blank
1137259_tn?1260705950
I am doing that too, going onto acid reflux tablets to see what happens, and anit biotics incase i have a viral infection(my idea as i heard it can linger after years after if infection was not addressed)...so fingers crossed for the tablets for reflux
Blank
Avatar_m_tn
One thing that bothers me the most and that is wearing anything around my neck. I have had GERD and phobias from wearing tight things.  One of my reasons is because I was wearing a winter scarf and got dragged along the floor in 6th grade by someone! The other is from watching shows wear people were strangled with necklaces by their murderer.  My thyroid is fine and I also have problems with stiff necks caused by the muscles.  But there are two things I think may pertain to the reason for the condition that nobody has mentioned yet.
                   Your lymph nodes---- they are arranged like a necklace on the base of everyone's neck.  Any generalized infection could cause swelling and because they are close to the skin- any pressure could affect the nerves.     I was one of those that ended up with mumps- prevaccination era- and they were really bad.  The permanent effect might be because of that.
                    The other, the PARAthyroid.  This is on the area behind the thyroid in the back of the neck.  It controls calcium production.  Calcium channels are found in the muscles and when a spasm occurs, the calcium floods the muscle and wraps up around it like a vice. Because the two glands are similar in proximation of each other, one could suspect the thyroid and end up the real culprit is the parathyroid.  The lab results for the thyroid may reveal parathyroid levels- you might want to further investigate.
                       The last, I did a Google search and fibromyalgia was a cause for this.  (I'm trying to wear my birthday present I got yesterday, and am resisting the urge to rip it off now!)  Fibromyalgia is chronic muscle pain.  Nerve endings pick up signals from axons attached to muscle fibers, blood vessels, and connective tissue. The pressure may cause the signal.

I hope this may be informative to all of those affected as well, it certainly is helping me relax, by knowing I'm not alone.
Blank
727481_tn?1231207371
Did you ever find out what you had with your throat?  Mine is the same thing.  I have it all day and night, go to bed,and when I wake up I don't feel it.  But then after coffee and breakfast it comes back again.
Blank
2644165_tn?1387247948
A year ago, I had a cervical CT conducted for a swollen mass on the back of my neck. Incidentally, multiple hypodensities were discovered in my thyroid. A few months later, my general practicioner, wanted me to have a follow-up ultrasound of my thyroid, which resulted in a diagnosis of NON-DIFFUSE MULTI-NODULAR GOITER. I had several small nodules both anechoic and a few solid, as well as two complex cysts in the right lobe that were close to 1 cm^3. I consulted an endocrinologist who put me on 50mcg Synthroid after I had bloodwork conducted. The bloodwork was relatively normal , except that the TSH was borderline low. I have been on the meds for 6 months now, and about a month and 1/2 ago, I began developing extreme tightness in my throat like a choking feeling, pill stuck-feeling, tightness in the back of my neck and sternum. My general practicioner had me see GI doctor, who found minor constriction in my esophagus by conducting an upper endoscopy. I had a followup ultrasound of my thyroid indicating the same findings as the previous except additional growth (+1mm) in some of the cysts. I have since been taking Prevacid, Sertraline, and Xanax with the Synthroid. I take the medications at least 4 hours after taking the Synthroid to avoid interactions among the medications. Since seeing the GI, I had minor relief from the symptoms in my neck, and they have since returned and are getting progressively worse. I am also noticing some weight gain, and I lift weights and do cardio 4-5 days a week for at least an hour. I am 29, male, biracial (black & white), and I was in good health up until a year ago...

I am curious to see if these choking/tightness/pill-feelings are a side-effect of the Synthroid...? Also, I am concerned that this goiter may be causing these issues... I am really concerned that these nodules may be forming into thyroid cancer... Currently, the doctors feel that they are too small to biopsy, and they are pretty much playing The Waiting Game... Any pointers?
Blank
Avatar_f_tn
I have hashimoto disease and I have recently experienced a choking sensation and pain in my neck radiating to my right ear. It is also difficult to breath sometimes, especially at night and it feels irritated in my neck when I take a deep breath almost always. Has anyone else experienced these feelings?
Blank
Avatar_m_tn
About a month ago I woke up and realized my voice was gone. I had redness outside my throat and never noticed it before. I was hoarse for about 3 weeks. I was having choking sensations as if something was contineously pressing against my throat.  As a result I began coughing severly for minutes on end for 3 weeks.  My throat was always dry. I finally went to a doctor. He checked for mucus (none) and  listened to my lungs , said they were clear and gave me sinus meds for congestion.??? I wasn't congested nor was I experiencing anything he gave me meds for. I have a friend who is Hypo and said it could have been because of my thryroids. Every so often I have what seems like a lump in my throat as if a sore thorat  is setting in, but it's a different kind of soreness.  
Blank
Avatar_f_tn
Have you been checked for a herniated disc? I have this problem and I have a herniated disc with cord compression and it feel like someone is pressing right into my throat . Just a thought. Hope it helps...
Blank
Avatar_m_tn
I have been having the same symptoms of feeling like I am being choked. I am sometimes short of breath. Have had numerous test all normal except Cervical MRI I have a collasped disc with cord compression. My doc states it would not cause these symptoms. Maybe I should get a second opinion. Would you please elaborate on your symptoms. You are the first person who I read that might have my same issues. I have been thinking all along my disc in my neck are causing these symptoms. Thank you for any help
Blank
Avatar_f_tn
I actually got to the root of the problem.

The muscles in my jaw and head are causing the issue -- it's TMJ related and all my muscles are inflamed. :\
Blank
Avatar_n_tn
Did you do anything about the herniated disc and if so, did it help? I have had same issue feeling like someone had their hand around my neck. After 2.5 years and far too many doctors and tests (and hours and hours searching on the internet), my hand started tingling bad. I joke that I am now a "GMD" - a Google Medical Doctor. I had an MRI last week and have 3 herniated discs in my neck and spinal stenosis. I am seeing neurosurgeon in a couple of days.

P.S. don't ever tell the doctor it feels a bit like anxiety because that word becomes a tattoo on your forehead even if you do not have a history of anxiety or mental health issues. They will blame the neck feeling on that and shove you out the door. I accepted it as a symptom and not as a diagnosis.
Blank
Avatar_m_tn
I have all the same issues you posted in 2010 and have had them for years.  TMJ is all it is?? How do you treat it and deal with it.  Mine drives me crazy!!! I can't wear necklaces, turtle neck, some jacket, basicly anything close to my neck!
Blank
Avatar_f_tn
I also have the same exact symptoms.  How are you treating the TMJ?
I can't wear anything around my neck at all.  I had an ultrasound, which was VERY painful, yet came back normal.  I am beyond frustrated!!  I would love to hear how things are working for you!  Thanks!
Blank
Avatar_f_tn
For the last few months, I have been having a problem with my neck. My right side has been causing me a lot of pain and I can't seem to wear anything close to my neck. I don't think it's my thyroid because I haven't been having any other symptoms of a thyroid problem. My eyes have been watery, my neck clicks, and my ears pop. Could this all be tmj?
Blank
Avatar_f_tn
hey there I have the same issues and I know its been a few years since this post,and I was wondering did you ever come up with why you were having these issues.i have went to so many doctors its not funny,as they all say the same thing:( I have went tooo thyroid spec,ent,gastro dr,endocro, spec.nothing I so tired of feeling like this,please get back to me tyvm.
Blank
Avatar_f_tn
I have been dealing with a strangling sensation at the base of my neck above the collar bone for 15 years now.  It also radiates up the sides of my neck to my jaw and ears.  I also start yawning every 1-2 minutes the whole time I have the sensation.  I can tell you it is the first symptom I had that led to me being diagnosed with Hashimoto's.  I had 5 nodules and an enlarged goiter cutting off my esophagus by 50%.  I had to have my thyroid completely cut out in 1999.  To this day, I still have the strangling sensation that started it all.  It is intermittent but can last for several days at a time.  I have been to all of the doctors mentioned (ENT, Endocrinologist, Cardiologist, Chiropractor, etc.), been on Synthroid for 15 years, been treated for potential causes (gerd, acid reflux, neck problems, etc.), and have had numerous tests (blood pressure, complete blood panel, parathyroid level, calcium levels, EGD scope down my throat, etc.) but nothing has helped.  This sensation gets so bad that at times it feels life-threatening and I have driven myself to the Emergency room twice but it was not diagnosed.  I can deal with a lot of pain but this pressure in my neck is so discomforting and annoying, I can't stand it!  I've pretty much given up hope that it will ever be diagnosed or treated succesfully, but I'm glad I'm not the only one with this problem.  At least I'm not crazy!
Blank
Post a Comment
To
Blank
Weight Tracker
Weight Tracker
Start Tracking Now
Thyroid Disorders Community Resources
RSS Expert Activity
242532_tn?1269553979
Blank
Emotional Eating: What Your Closet ...
Jul 09 by Roger Gould, M.D.Blank
242532_tn?1269553979
Blank
This is Driving Your Emotional Eati...
Jul 02 by Roger Gould, M.D.Blank
5856747_tn?1403352282
Blank
Sleep Apnoea
Jun 28 by Andrew John Rynne, MDBlank
Top Thyroid Answerers
168348_tn?1379360675
Blank
ChitChatNine
Avatar_m_tn
Blank
gimel
MI
649848_tn?1357751184
Blank
Barb135
FL
Avatar_f_tn
Blank
goolarra
Sisters, OR
657231_tn?1390151580
Blank
rumpled
Northern, NJ
1204245_tn?1356904325
Blank
898_1
Long Beach