Lump in the throat

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Finding a good herbalist

Much of what's written in this article is entirely suitable for a person to work through themselves but, especially if things are quite bad, or you just know that you need further help, then there may be a great deal of benefit to you to go to whatever lengths necessary to find a good herbalist or truly holistic practitioner to guide you on to a safe and strong treatment program. There's a short write-up to suggest how you might go about finding such a person here

Anatomy of the problem

This problem has come up in practice a number of times and can obviously be quite distressing to the person. The sensation is described of a lump in the throat especially at the point of swallowing and it ranges from being annoyingly distracting all the way to feeling like a sense of choking!

This condition is where there are no other signs of infection or physical obstruction in the throat but nevertheless there is still a persistent feeling of ‘something’ being wrong or of ‘something’ being there anyway.

In the absence of a physical problem, it is a condition that is caused by nervous tension and anxiety. People manifest symptoms of tension in a number of characteristic ways and this is one of them.

What then happens is that the tightening up of the delicate throat structures involved in swallowing and speech becomes a source of anxiety in itself and the problem gets intensified further. The medical term for this problem is ‘globus hystericus’. The related word hysterical is obviously not a very nice or flattering one and is strongly reminiscent of a paternalistic and patronising medical establishment but at least giving the ‘name’ here will assist an understanding of this being a widespread and long-established problem for others as well.

Once you know what it is and why you have the lump in the throat, then this is a problem that can actually be quite easy to resolve. First of all, you have to get a firm grasp on the reality that there actually is a physical tightening up of the tissues. Then you can take some simple steps to do something about it.


Physically relax the tissues

Physically relaxing the tissues in your throat basically means using heat, massage or both. Heat can be used in the form of a warm towel, a heated wheat bag, anything that will safely and comfortably get a warm, penetrating heat into the area for at least a few minutes.

Applying heat may be sufficient but, if it isn’t making a big enough difference, then add the next step, massage.

Massaging the throat is not something most people would naturally do or ask for, but it is really no different to any other delicate part of your anatomy,  just be gentle. You will feel plenty of sensation, but it should not cause any pain. Small, soft circular motions around the affected area, firm enough to feel but not enough to hurt, will definitely help the problem to resolve.


Herbs that can help

There is also a simple herbal treatment that has been seen to be effective in helping to cure the ‘lump in the throat’, which involves doing a gargle and then swallow of the herbs Cramp Bark, Wild Yam and Chamomile.

Here is an example of how these herbs can be used together in a formula

Cramp Bark 15mls
Wild Yam 15mls
Chamomile 15 mls
Licorice root

Take 2-3 mls (approx 1/2 a tsp.) in just a little water, gargle and move around the back of the throat for a good 10-20 seconds before swallowing. Repeat the treatment at least 2 times a day and up to 4 times a day for as long as needed to complete the cure.

If it is an increase in anxiety that is the root cause of this problem, then carefully read here

Viburnum opulus (Cramp bark)

Constitutional Health Note

Finally, you might benefit from learning about your constitution to know what kind of foods, herbs, exercises etc. will work especially well for your health in general.

Constitutional health is an old and fascinating way of understanding our differences. There's a brief introduction here and a more detailed section on working out which constitution you are here.

Please understand that I cannot personally advise you without seeing you in my clinic.
This living 'book' is my labour of love so, wherever you are, I wish you peace & good health!



© 2011 R.J.Whelan Ltd