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UR Medicine


Globus & Throat Pain

What is globus and throat pain?

Globus sensation, also known as globus pharyngeus, is the feeling of a lump in the throat or something stuck in the throat, when nothing is actually there. The sensation can come and go, and is typically “annoying” or “bothersome” but not painful.  It does not usually impact an individual’s ability to eat or drink.  It is often attributed to:

  • Inflammation or irritation in the throat
  • Laryngopharyngeal reflux disease (LPRD)
  • Allergies
  • Muscle tension
  • Stress / anxiety
  • Abnormal function of the upper esophageal sphincter
  • In rare instances: tumor, thyroid disease

Throat pain is different than globus sensation, in that it is painful and may negatively impact swallowing. It may be caused by the following:

  • Bacterial or viral infection
  • Sinus infection
  • Allergies
  • Laryngopharyngeal reflux disease (LPRD)
  • Environmental irritants
  • Trauma / Surgery / Intubation
  • Throat Cancer
  • Muscle tension

Globus sensation and throat pain are typically first evaluated by an otolaryngologist. There are multiple medical treatments that can be prescribed by a doctor which can alleviate both conditions, depending on the etiology of the condition. In some instances, further medical testing may be required before treatment can be initiated.  An otolaryngologist may recommend referral to an SLP if muscle tension appears to be a contributing factor.

Speech-Language Pathology Evaluation & Therapy

Our Speech-Language Pathologists, who have specialty training and expertise disorders of the throat, will complete a personalized assessment.  Assessment will include:

  • A detailed history collection
  • Laryngeal Function Studies consisting of computerized voice analysis and airway measures
  • Behavioral voice and communication analysis
  • Stimulability trials
  • Education and trials of strategies / exercises to reduce muscle tension

If you are recommended for therapy, your therapy program may include some or all of the following techniques:

  • Strengthen and re-balance laryngeal and pharyngeal musculature, including the muscles, joints and ligaments used in voice production
  • Learn techniques for producing a healthy voice while eliminating overuse or abuse
  • Exercise laryngeal muscles
  • Create a healthy motor pattern and balance pressures to achieve the ideal configuration of your vocal folds for voice use
  • Learn suppression and breathing strategies to minimize coughing or throat clearing (if this is a problem for you)
  • Reduce laryngeal irritation and maximize laryngeal hygiene

Links for Additional Information:

Journal Article – "Globus Pharyngeus: A review of etiology, diagnostics and treatment”