Avatar universal

Click when swallowing


I was wondering if someone could help me.  For a few weeks now I have this click in my throat when I swallow.  Not when I am drinking water or eating, but just during normal swallowing.  It doesn't click when my head is down or up, but it clicks when I am looking straight.  If I put my fingers just above adams apple I can feel a click.

Please help me to identify what it could be.

Thank you,
183 Responses
Avatar universal
I am sooo glad to hear that other ppl can relate!! I to have had this popping sound and feeling on the left side of my throat as well off and on for about 2 months. Since becoming a mom over 3 yrs ago, i somehow am now a bit of a hypocondriac. And when this popping intially came I though of the C word. I haven't seen an ENT yet, because everything I read or see in posted to me seems to either steer toward the 'stress' thing or a waste of money and time. I have been EXTREMELY stressed and it isn't here all of the time. It comes and goes, but when it is here it is annoying as #@**. And of course I try to touch and feel around on my throat which in turn makes it worse and then my glands swell from being aggrevated. Anyone that can keep the info coming please do so, us clickers and poppers are very appreciative.
Avatar universal
A quick response based on my own experience and all the research I've done.  This is not medical advice and if you're condition does not improve with self help please do go see a doctor.

In 2007 as an amateur scream vocalist I ran in to a big problem, my diaphragm and voice box did not cooperate.  I hyperextended my voice and went to see an ENT because I had a strange clicking noise in my throat.  The ENT prescribed me a magical steroid pill that made that clicking sound disappear.  Due to not having money for voice lessons I did this again with improper techniques I damaged myself again. (This happened in a matter of one show...)  It's been about three years with me smoking, drinking, inhaling garbage that I haven't gotten checked up to get those pills.  Like some of you when I drink warm water the clicking noise disappears but when I make a loud hoarse noise it comes back harder and more annoying.  To solve this dilemma I've chosen to live a healthy lifestyle.  I quit everything that might induce irritation to my throat and started working on my breathing techniques, simple vocal warm ups and exercises to open my airway to it's full potential.  I drink tea and honey on a regular basis along with controlling my vocal volume when I get overly excited.  With this said...

I think it's a big possibility that just like anyone can get vocal nodules in one night from obsessive screaming, I think anyone can cause enough stress to their throat mechanisms causing them to have a clicking or popping noise.  I screamed with my head held high forcing the air through the little air gap I left myself.  I've learned that the Voice is a such a delicate mechanism it's affected by how much sleep we get, how much fluid we drink, or just what volume we might push it through.  It could be that you go to a six flags or a show and scream your way through it and a week later you notice a funny noise when you swallow.

Good luck to all of you, just wanted to share my opinion for what's it worth :)
Avatar universal
A good site to look at is

I had ACDF surgery ( to replace a popped disk in my cervical spine ) in September 2009, as a result of being rear-ended in May 2009.

In April 2010, I had a cold/flu, with a really sore throat, which came on really quickly.  I notice this is a common theme among many of these posts.

My GP put me on antibiotics, though there were no sounds of a chest infection.  The day after the worst day, I noticed the click and grating on swallowing, and started to swallow compulsively because of the lump feeling in my throat.

I thought it was the neck fusion was failing, and because I had a routine MRI due for this 3 weeks later, I didn't worry about it, I thought the neurosurgeon would say the neck bones were shorter than they should be and this was causing the click.

The MRI showed the fusion was very good, with no loss of height.  I went back to my GP with my clicking popping throat - he couldn't see it / feel it / hear it and seemed pretty annoyed that I was bothering him ( but then he was annoyed when I first took my failing arm to him and it turned out to be spinal cord compression and radiculopathy due to a ruptured disk, and I had lost valuable muscle off my arm in the 3 months since the accident because he said I was just a little shocked over the accident, and put me on valium).  But anyway he referred me to an ENT.

She took one feel and listen, and said she could feel and hear it, and could tell me exactly what it was.  I was so relieved.  She did a nasal scope and looked at my windpipe.  Then she said I have the Cricopharyngeal spasm described in my link.  

Trachea crepitus is normal, and actually the healthy state.  However, because of my neck surgery (in the ACDF they go in from the front and yank it all out the way)  my trachea is more mobile than normal, and also rubbing directly on bones that would normally be a bit more protected.  Basically, when I had lain in bed with the cold for a couple of days, the burning throat was brought on not by an infection, but by silent acid reflux, due to being flat on my back for a few days.  The body recognises that acid is leaking out the gullet, and to protect the upper airways, the upper oesophageal valve tightens, this is the Cricopharyngeal muscle.  This is directly connected to the cartilage which is the lower section of the adam's apple.  

If you have had any kind of trauma which may have mobilised the trachea more than normal, a bad sneeze/yawn, wisdom teeth removal, anaesthetic, neck surgery, etc, whilst the spasm is there, swallowing saliva makes the cartilage grate and pop against the next one, in my case she mentioned the hyoid bone is also involved.

The click worries you.  Worry aggravates the spasm and hence the click becomes a vicious circle.  The trick in this case is to break the cycle of the spasm.  This is not easy.

There are several ways of doing this.  Someone mentioned alcohol.  Well that is one relaxant.  I had some valium left from when my neck was at it's worst, and took 10mg.  My scepticism then vanished - along with the click - temporarily.

So how to break it permanently?  Well it's not overnight, she said it might take several months.  I have to slightly prop my mattress up to make sure I don't have silent acid reflux.  I have to stop gluten, as it gives me the bloat, and that drives acid up through the gullet.  I have to lose a little weight, for the same reason.  I can take an antacid PPI medication but that may not be necessary if I can adjust my lifestyle.  I have to reduce stress as this aggravates a) the acid and b) the spasm.  I have to reduce alcohol and stop caffeine.  Stress is probably the most important factor here.  For me the stress was worrying about being off work sick with the flu that probably started the cycle, having had 12 weeks off for my neck only months earlier.
Avatar universal
Wow!  I didn't realize there were other people with the same thing.  I've been having this for about a month and can't recall any trama that happened or sickness.  It just seems as though I woke up with it one morning.  It seems that it's on my right side and is the worst when I'm lying down.  It doesn't really hurt, but it is annoying and I really start to worry that something is wrong.
It doesn't seem as though anybody has really gotten any relief from it, but I probably should get it checked out just to make sure it isn't my thyroid or something else.  I'm really glad to see this message board!
Avatar universal
Hello All....
So glad to hear that there are actually other people out there who understand completely what I have been going through for about 5 years!!!! I have been to numerous ENT doctors and not one has been able to identify what's wrong. They all actually just brush it off as nothing and assume that I'm just imagining it. My throat began with a click on the right side every time I would swallow and like most of you, it would not occur with food or drink, just regular swallowing. Sometimes, I can feel a small bump in my throat and if I move it, then I can get a few good swallows out of it without the "click". Now, it has moved to the left side of my throat and is sooooo irritating! I cry alot at night when it bothers me the most. :(
I wonder what started it... could have been because I fell on the ice and got whiplash just before the onset or because my large dog hit me in the throat pretty hard one time. Also, I had thyroiditis just prior to the onset and I think that could have contributed as well. I wish I could just get it fixed!!!! Seems to get worse at times and better other times. If anyone has any helpful hints or suggestions, I'm more than willing to hear... Thanks
Avatar universal
It's me again, just wanted to add that I also have inability to swallow while turning my head to the right or left. My ears often have an irritating pain deep inside almost like an earache but not. I do suffer from GERD but feel that it's under control wtih medication and diet. I get my thyroid checked every 6 months with blood work and it's completely fine.... How would I know if there are any nodules on my thyroid?? Up until tonight I have felt like the only person in the world with this problem... since the ENTs seem to ignore it (I've seen 5 docs).
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