Thyroid Disorders Community
26k Members
Avatar universal

Is the pressure/choking feeling in throat constant?

Hi.  Just wondering .. for those that have had or have that choking, pressure or thumb pressing into  your neck feeling ... does it feel like that constantly or just intermittently (sp?!).

For me it usually starts in the afternoon and gets worse as the evening goes on.  When i wake up in the morning, it's much much better.  

So I am wondering is it acutally my thyroid (I do know it's slightly enlarged and a small nodule) or is it something else.

51 Responses
649848 tn?1534637300
I meant to answer this question this morning in the other post but got side tracked and had to get off line.  

The pressure I have in my throat is there all the time and has been for a long time (well over a year), but in general, it's gotten worse over time.  Sometimes now it's really bad and feels like I'm going to absolutely choke on it and other times, it's  there, but doesn't feel so large.  It's almost it is swells and then goes down only to swell up again.  

My ENT seemed to think that it did have something to do with thyroid even though he couldn't feel anything from the outside.  When he pressed on the area, it was also very tender.  He's already sent me for further blood work to test for anti-bodies and I'm scheduled for an ultra sound to rule out nodules on Tues morning.  I'm not scheduled to see ENT again until the 18th so I'm sure I won't find out any results until then.  

393685 tn?1425816122
There are only two reasons I believe I had with the same symptoms.

I have/had GERD pretty good and still have bouts at times with it and that gives me a choking feeling -

also swelling in the neck itself from the autoimmune side of things too.

I too feel the same way - it grows throughout the day - especially if I am stressed and when I wake in the morning - I feel better too.

I was so desperate the other day - with the GERD symptom side I grabbed a pickle jar and drank the juice right out of the jar.

I wasn't impressed with the taste at 6:00 in the morning - but I was desperate and that just popped in my head to do.

I can't explain it - maybe the vinager leveled the acid out - but I felt really well in 10 minutes. I am finding that when I do either drink that - or a sea salt mixture it helps alot.

As for the thyroiditis - so far getting on selenium has helped me feel better in that department. I really don't have much of that going on lately - just the GERD stuff.

623944 tn?1244039090
I've heard that the pickle juice helps to neutralize the acid in the stomach - just don't know why.
649848 tn?1534637300
I have had GERD basically for all my life and I've been on daily Aciphex for the past 6-8 yrs.  Aciphex has always done quite well for me, but lately I've been having a lot of "break through".  I get a choking feeling from that also, but it feels different - that's a burning type of choking like when the acid backs up into esophagus.  My ENT has also ordered a barium swallow to have that checked out.  He feels that since I've had it for so long and med will no longer control it, that we need to find out how much damage has been done to my esophagus (my brother has already had esophagul cancer because of GERD and a newphew with precancerous cells).  I've read that sometimes it's not good to take too much med for acid reflux - that sometimes the reason we have a problem is because we actually need more acid rather than to neutralize what we have.  I've also had people tell me that pickle juice is good to drink for it - the acid in the vinegar supposedly is very good for you.  

The GERD type of choking is different from this other thing, which is more like someone has their fingers pressed against the front of my throat strangling me.  It's not really painful, but kind of scary when it gets really bad because I always wonder if I'm really choking or if I just think it's worse than it is.  As in my other post, my ENT thinks it has something to do with thyroid - I hope he's right and we can fix it??  

649848 tn?1534637300
Forgot to ask - does/did anyone get cramps/pain in the neck or jaw area with this choking/pressure feeling?  
700950 tn?1228611035
Check out the symptoms of scleroderma. Many people with this autoimmune disease do not have skin problems. One of the major symptoms is difficulty swallowing or tighting in the esophogus. GERD is also a symptom, which can cause inflammation in the lungs. There are systemic types of scleroderma that also can make you very constipated, and cause bleeding in the stomach that make you anemic and cause extreme fatigue. There are several tests that can rule out this condition. A Rheumatologist will be familiar with this autoimmune disease. You never know.
623944 tn?1244039090
Hey, something I can answer! I have morphea scleroderma so know a bit about this! What Scooter3 is refering to is called esophageal dismotility. What basically happens is the excess collegen replaces normal tissue in the esophagus. This is easily diagnosed by barium swallow. I've had 2 and don't have it.

I'm having something going on with my thyroid and have the same sensation of pressure, mostly around my collarbones that starts mid-day as pressure but by the time I'm in bed, it's painful. Internally, my throat hurts, but not a scratchy hurt, more of a muscular hurt. I've read that taking some ibuprophen at bedtime can help because it's caused by an inflammatory  process and ibuprophen is an anti-inflammatory.
649848 tn?1534637300
I'm having a barium swallow on Tues because of my long standing GERD - so is this what they would be looking for or are there other things they might find?  What treatment is used for this?  

I appreciate the input on this - I wasn't sure what the reason for the barium swallow was for and will do some more research into it; but I agree with you that I still have something going on with my thyroid.  The area of pain has expanded to include the front of my neck from just below my chin down to my collarbone.  
623944 tn?1244039090
Longstanding GERD can cause Barrett's Esophagus, a pre-cancerous condition and can also cause the dismotility. The swallow will show if there is any area of the esophagus that don't have normal smooth muscle contractions.
As far as I know, if it's Barrett's, long term prescription acid medications such as Nexium to prevent further damage. IF, and that's a big IF, it's sclero related, mostly watching, preventing Barrett's and if it gets too closed up - esophageal stretching. Absolute worse case scenario, and I have a sclero friend with it, is a feeding tube and you eat through it at night. Based off your description though, and keep in mind, I'm a patient, not a doctor, it's not that. The dismotility would usually present with food, even small pieces, getting stuck in your esophagus and is felt internally, not in your collarbones.

Good luck with everything and let me know how it turns out!
698356 tn?1240154327
Mine thyroid pressure and pain seems fluctuate.  Most days it's just a little pressure. But man there are some days where it's hurting and pushing against my throat. No rhyme or reason for this.
519035 tn?1348279373
Ive noticed more I get stressed out when the thyroid chokes me. No acid reducers will help that. I guess we have to find ways to calm ourselves down.
dnmh, you sound like your having tension headaches. Ibus won't help that issue either, I have tried. Believe me! Maybe another round of tests soon???
623944 tn?1244039090
Funny you mention tests! I just had a second US, several vials of blood drawn, including HIV, Hep, Diabetes, Cancer screen, Thyroid Antibodies and Dec 22nd, I get to have 3 biopsies on my leg, EMG, Sweat Test and Tilt Table testing! Neurologist thinks I have some kind of Autonomic Nervous System Disorder. I have some sensory loss in my ankles and feet and general muscle weakness and pain.
623944 tn?1244039090
Forgot to mention, my neck pain starts in the divot between the collarbones and as it progresses it spreads out to my shoulders. I get tension and cluster migrains and this is totally different. It never radiates up to my head, just linear - across the collarbones. I also have a hard lump in my neck and one under my tongue... that makes me pretty confident it's not headache related at all.
649848 tn?1534637300
I just did a little research on the esophageal dismotility and I'm not sure about that.  I don't have difficulty swallowing, I don't vomit, etc.  My hubby had to have his stretched, but I don't have that problem.  I just have the horrible acid reflux (or at least I think that's all I have).  I already take aciphex for it and it's no longer helping like it should.  This will be interesting.  

At the same time I'm having the barium swallow, I'm scheduled for an ultra sound on my thyroid, so will have both checked out at same time.  In spite of the GERD, I still feel that the pressure/choking is thyroid related.  There is no rhym or reason to it.  I won't get results until I see dr again on the 18th, but will certainly let everyone know what I find out.  
623944 tn?1244039090
The swallow will show if the thyroid is causing any blockage to the esophagus as well. Like I said, it didn't sound like dismotility to me.

Good luck!
Avatar universal
Hey all,
I have similar sensation of choking, pressure around thyroid area, tenderness. sometimes radiating to collarbone area.  All my antibodies are negative, thyroid levels borderline low normal. Anyone have ideas how to get rid of this......??? Thanks
Avatar universal
Hi, I am so glad I am not alone on this matter.  I too am having choking feelings, very tender when you touch in the middle of my throat.  There are thyroid issues in my family, my mom does not have hers, but mind comes in at just a little low but does not give the doctor much concern.

Mine too gets worse as the day goes on, in the morning I wake up and its not there but as soon as I get an inkling of stress, it starts. Like today, nothing until I started talking politics and then bam, I thought my shirt was going to choke me to death.

My family doctors says its all in my head.  
So I guess my next step is a specialist on thyroid, but she is book for a few months but when I find something out I will let you all know.
Avatar universal
Hi Barlinda,
Just my two cents - I suggest you also get checked out for GERD (severe heartburn) as well as thyroid.  I have Hashimoto's thyroid (an auto-immune thyroid disorder) and GERD, and your neck issue sounds more like the pain I had with GERD.

Before I got diagnosed with either, I had a swollen neck and dull pain/pressure in the front of my neck - basically a goiter starting to form, as well as uncomfortable choking feeling and pain radiating from sternum out across my chest.  I also did actually choke frequently while drinking (but not eating), and it got a lot worse with stress.

Once I got diagnosed with Hashimoto's and got put on thyroid meds, the swollen neck & dull pain symptoms went away, but I still had the choking & radiating pain.  I had a barium swallow and endoscopy (the camera down the throat) and it turns out my esophagus had fissures and a lot of damage from the GERD, plus my esophageal valves are deformed.  It's funny because I NEVER had an "acid" feeling and never thought it could be heartburn.  Anyway, the doc prescribed massive doses of Nexium and I got better.

I would call a gastroenterologist now and get an appointment to get checked out for GERD.  I wouldn't wait on the thyroid doc, although do still go to that appt.  I say don't wait because it took me seven years to get diagnosed with autoimmune thyroid, despite it being in the family (mom, brother, aunt, cousin, both grandpas, and one grandma) and me pressuring the docs to do tests other than TSH.

Good luck!

649848 tn?1534637300
My PCP told me about a week and 1/2 ago that 95% of people who get this choking feeling have nothing wrong with them - according to him, it's all caused by stress!!!  He also told me that I can't lose weight because I "need to move more", when I walk 3-5 miles daily, plus work out most days!!  

I've since found out that I have "inflammation" in my thyroid and also the term "multi-nodular goiter" was used.  I see my ENT in the morning and will find out what all this means.  So it sounds like my "stress" comes complete with inflammation and nodules - how much better can it get??  

PS - I will probably be looking for a new PCP right after New Years.  I have enough trouble with this stuff without some arrogant *** talking to me like I'm a hypochondriac.  
698356 tn?1240154327
Ugh. Today is one of those days! Between my thyroid and my lymph nodes I feel like there is a golf ball pressing into my throat. The post-nasal drop throat clearing (from allergies) makes it more painful.
Avatar universal
I sympathize with ya'll on this.  I too have the golf ball pressing into my throat sensation.  I feel like it starts at the base of my throat.  I have been on thyroid meds since I was 14 (30 years!).  I also feel like I have lymph tissue gone wild - couple of lymph growths inside my mouth one hanging off my tonsil and one on the back of my throat (confirmed by ENT) but he would not biopsy, order a scan or even scope, but decided I had GERD without any tests.  So quit seeing him and went back to PCP.  If I am not drinking constantly it seems like my throat gets stuck together and this causes coughing and choking sensation.  I am getting heartburn and when taking antiacids I get nauseated.  I begged my PCP to order some type of tests and she ordered an ultrasound on my thyroid in October and I had several growths measured on it.  Was immediately (same day) referred back to endocrinologist but their next appt was not until 12/29.  So anxiously awaiting my appointment to see what they can do for me to relieve some of this pressure on my throat.  Mom had thyroid cancer and sister esophagus cancer.  Just tired of Doctors who act like there is nothing wrong with you!!!
Avatar universal
I had a total thyroidectomy in April due to cancer and my swallowing difficulties started in November.  I had a CT and it showed that my esophagus had shifted over an inch (the doc said due to the surgery) and scar tissue was pressing into it.  He said since the scar tissue is growing slow that it should be ok for a while but if it gets worse then they might have to go in and clip out the scar tissue.  It feels like someone is constantly pressing in on it.  One day I couldn't swallow at all for about 20 seconds.  

It was very scary for me until I heard it was just the scar tissue.  
Avatar universal
I had the 'fat neck feeling' and the choking sensation (especially when eating) when I had T3 Toxycosis after being diagnosed with Graves disease and Hyperthyroidism.
It eventually got worse as did the hyperthyroidism and thyroid storm and RAI was done.
Since then I have not had the choking feeling at all.
Avatar universal
I've had this "golf ball" feeling for a while off and on.  What I have finally discovered is that inflammation has the greatest effect on how my throat feels which is why it hurts more at night than in the morning.  I am modifying my diet to try to increase anti-inflammatory foods and decrease inflammatory foods.  Two indispensable items are fish oil supplements (high dose) and black raspberry powder.  Omega 3 fatty acids are highly anti-inflammatory and black raspberry is very high in anti-oxidants which is also anti-inflammatory as well as having other benefits.  These along with cutting high starch, sugar, and fat out of my diet as much as I can have started to help.  I think acid reflux and sleeping on my stomach (I can't help it) exacerbate my throat issues though but at least I am keeping the pain at bay.  This may not help everyone but it's worth a try.  Inflammation and the immune system are directly linked and since Hashimoto's is an immune system disorder, you have to keep inflammation in check.
Have an Answer?
Top Thyroid Answerers
649848 tn?1534637300
Avatar universal
1756321 tn?1547098925
Queensland, Australia
Learn About Top Answerers
Didn't find the answer you were looking for?
Ask a question
Popular Resources
We tapped the CDC for information on what you need to know about radiation exposure
Endocrinologist Mark Lupo, MD, answers 10 questions about thyroid disorders and how to treat them
A list of national and international resources and hotlines to help connect you to needed health and medical services.
Here’s how your baby’s growing in your body each week.
These common ADD/ADHD myths could already be hurting your child
This article will tell you more about strength training at home, giving you some options that require little to no equipment.