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 cant understand why an ENT would suggest tonsils as a cause of clicking. They are soft tissue, so it's hard to understand how a click could occur on swallow. Perhaps unless the tonsils were so swollen and enlarged that the swallow mechanism results in the tonsils being squeezed with the "sensation" of a click happening. Or they contained tonsiloliths making them more firmer?

When I read your note on getting tonsils out, I would have said don't. But, you have had a lot of tonsilitis from what you say and some ENT would say remove them whilst others would say don't, they are a defense mechanism. But if they are so over worked, then to avoid further infections, some may suggest removing them.

It seems only 2 weeks ago since surgery so your body may not have settled down yet. There may still be some swellings.

One thing i can say is that when we develop these things, we tend to become hypervigilant - what I mean by that is, start to notice sensations that were always there but your subsconscious ignores those sensations and treats them as normal body functions. Then we start focussing on the throat and perhaps start to wonder, was that squelchy noise or gurgle there before or has it just started now?

The click is truly there in you and yes, I've had the body language from one ENT who I thought could have had a better bed side manner.

Perhaps take it step by step. Allow time for your body to settle after surgery, so that that variable is removed. Then see what the magnitude of the click is like then.

I agree about it ruining your life, the symtoms I have developed (retching, globus, click swallow) have ruined parts of my life because it can be debilitating - especially retching and globus which sometimes makes me feel close to retching.  Perhaps try to focus on something complteley different. Give your mind and body a rest and force yourself to do some leisure activities so that it will distract you from concentrating on the sensations, where you might? develop a desensitisation to the sensations.  Think like when you have a headache, or pain in a joint - we don't usually focus on it, but we accept that they are there, then take painkillers or not, then later, headache is gone and days later, you might say, oh, that joint ache has gone now, I had forgotten I had that. May be a try?

Avatar universal

Thankyou for your quick reply.

I mean my thorat has completely healed i can swollow and everything looks ok however to me this clicking has only got worse i mean if i turn my head left or keep it striaght the clicking will be there whenever i swollow.
Now if i turn my head left, upwards, down the clicking wouldn`t be there.

Personally me i think it is something to do with my hyoid bone reason for that is because the clicking goggling sound is basically where the hyoid bone is.

The thing that had me worried, (as i explained before) Ever since this started i started to get alot of infections on my tonsils so the ENT dicided to remove them as i kept getting tonsillitis and white patches on the back of them.

I did question him before the surgery and i asked him what do you think is causing the clicking he had replied by saying that it could be inflammation.

ENT 2: had said it could be something to do with my voicebox this was when i had been taking in to hospital due to the white patches on the back of the tonsils.

ENT 3: had said its nothing to worry about its just all in your head which i found out of order.

I mean i am going to book another appointment with my G.P and arrange for him to send me to another ENT for the 5th time, this time i am actually going to have a go at them.

As you said i should keep my mind of it by doing activities. I go to the gym 5 times a week and study so my mind is of it what i want to know is do you think it is anything to worry aboout?

Thanks for replying to my other question hope to here from you soon.

Avatar universal
By the way i am a young Male 18 years old and im stuck with this.

I just don`t know anymore.
652360 tn?1264492519
While statistically speaking just from combing through medical literature looks like the two most likely things a click in the throat would be the superior cornu of the thyroid cartilage rubbing against your tranverse process, thesuperior cornu of the thyroid cartilage rubbing against the hyoid, or the hyoid greater cornua rubbing against the transverse process. You say yours comes from swallowing? Read the above post from the doctor I posted earlier in this forum it really addresses the click in the throat issue your tonsils probably had nothing to do with it at all, I talked to a hyoid click patient who had both tonsils, and his styloid process taken out before they could figure out it was his hyoid bone causing the clicking.
Avatar universal
Thanks for replying wildblue98.

Is this something life threatening and what do you think would have to be done for this to go away?

Much appreciated for replying thnaks

Avatar universal

The notes wildblue are good and informative. I came across an abstract of a medical paper, as follows:

"Corniculate cartilage subluxation is a pathology that has not been reported in the medical literature. Causing vague pharyngeal symptoms, this disease entity may be overlooked or misdiagnosed as chronic nonspecific pharyngitis, globus pharyngis, or laryngopharyngeal reflux disease. A careful laryngoscopic examination is the key to detect this disorder. In this article, we present a 45-year-old patient with the complaints of foreign-body sensation in the throat, difficulty in swallowing solid food, and an urge to turn his head toward the left during the act of swallowing. His laryngeal examination revealed corniculate cartilage subluxation, and excision of the subluxated cartilage was performed by microlaryngoscopic surgery. The patient was free of his symptoms immediately after the operation and remained as such in the 6 months of follow-up. (Am J Otolaryngol 2003;24:118-120."

I think that one of the processes decribed by wildblu is the same thing as described in the above abstract, though I'm not sure, Wildblu could confirm this "corniculate cartilage subluxation" as the same as what wildblu describes?  I don't actually know what subluxation is, I haven't found a definition.

From what I have read so far, the clicking swallow is not life threatening, just in the same way that many bones in the body create clicks and noises such as in the knuckles, or knees, its not life threatening, so try not to worry. I know you're looking for reassurance and being young, you probably feel vulnerable and genuinely need to be reassurred to help settle you so you can concentrate on daily life.

I note that you do jym 5 days/week. Just a thought but it may be that your physical routines have caused some movements of the structures in your throat. But there are some voice coaches who suggests exercises for physical causes of globus pharyngeus, so physical activity may be a good thing. But, I suppose it needs to be in moderation.  If you message me, I can send you a file that I saved from a UK NHS web site on exercises for globus pharyngeus. You haven't got globus, but it could be of interest to see the sorts of things they suggest doing, one of which was to yawn, so that can't be harmful. It may be that such execrcises might? help moving the structrures that cause clicking (wildblu and I in agreement on the cartilages causing the clicks) such that they do not impact? Wildblu might be able to say whether that is a possibility simply from exercise?

When you go to see the ENT, consider asking about whether they can refer you to a voice speech therapist who might be able to help. I am considering this myself. I'm also asking my doc for CT and/or MRI scans to look at the cartilages in the larynx - whether I can persuade him, I'll have to see.  Wildblu has a good paper which describes some causes of clicking throat together with some CT scans that show one cause of the click.

When reading these papers, it's importnat to differentiate click when swallow and click when just moving the neck.  I sometimes get a click when turning my head, looking around and back again. It's not bothersome but my click swallow is bothersome but not painful.

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