When To Worry About A Cricopharyngeal Spasm
If you are experiencing a feeling like you have a lump in the throat, it may be a result of a cricopharyngeal spasm. This lump in the throat feeling comes from a spasm in the esophagus area. There are two valves that can be found in the swallowing tube or esophagus. When swallowing food they relax and allow the food to go down into the stomach. But if the swallowing is being affected by a cricopharyngeal spasm, it can cause specific symptoms. Just like spasms that occur in other areas of the body like the calf or a muscle in the back, the esophagus can also be affected.
Some of the symptoms associated with these types of spasms are a feeling of tightness in the throat, a lump or a swollen or sore throat. People often mistake this feeling for food that is stuck in the throat or a shirt that is too tight. But the symptoms for cricopharyngeal spasms worsen as the day goes on and oddly enough this condition is relieved by eating food.
In order to diagnose this condition a doctor may have to run specific tests. Lumps in the throat area can be a result of a cancerous growth but it is unlikely if a person has specific cricopharyngeal spasm symptoms. People have little or no feeling in their throats because if they did not it would be difficult and uncomfortable to swallow. For this reason cancer can be ruled out when experiencing these symptoms. That is mainly why it is hard to diagnose a cancer in the throat until it grows large enough to even notice it. With throat cancers, the sufferer may only feel the lump and no pain or discomfort will be felt. A doctor may give a patient with this condition either a CT scan or a MRI test to rule out other conditions.
Stress can worsen a cricopharyngeal spasm. It can tighten the muscles in the neck area and the constant worry about the problem can make matters worse. This is why it should be diagnosed as soon as possible. Many patients who have suffered with this condition claim that as soon as they found out what was causing it, they began to feel better. But because doctors can have a hard time identifying it, it can cause worry and stress for the sufferer making symptoms worse.
In fact, most doctors who deal with this condition say that stress relief is imperative for a recovery. He may also prescribe drugs that help with stress, like Valium. But there are a few more things you can do for a cricopharyngeal spasm.
It is recommended that a person suffering with this can use heat to ease the symptoms. They can use a heating pad to alleviate pain or drink warm beverages. People have also found relief by seeing a chiropractor and getting an adjustment and massage also helps people with this condition. Eating at a slower pace and swallowing less food also helps to stop any pain associated with this illness.
Usually a cricopharyngeal spasm is not a dangerous condition. Most of the time when the sufferer is given stress reducing or relaxing medications the problem ceases but there are a few other options for people who suffer with this.
Botulinum toxin can be used to paralyze he esophageal valves. But this treatment is mainly used for long term suffers, If it does not help the situation, a cricopharyngeal myotomy might have to be performed. This is a surgery that helps to reconstruct either the valves or the muscles surrounding the esophagus.