Painful Lump in throat feeling when swallowing or after eating: Causes & Treatment

Feeling a lump in your throat can be painful or painless. It is common and benign in most cases, especially when painless.

It is very important that the actual cause of a lump in the throat feeling be identified. While it can be caused by harmless conditions such as anxiety, it can also be as a result of deadly diseases like cancer.

There are up to 50 identifiable conditions that can be responsible for feeling like there is a lump in your throat. The way in which the lump is manifesting may help with diagnosis. However, medical attention should be sought if the lumpy feeling is to persist or become unbearably painful.

Lump in throat feeling due to anxiety

A common cause of a painless lumyp feeling in the throat is anxiety. The condition is also known as Globus hystericus or Globus anxiety. Patients describe feeling like something is hindering swallowed food from passing through the throat. Even when not swallowing, a feeling like something is stuck in the throat will persist. It mostly occurs in the thyroid region. In some cases, the lumpy feeling may cause slight difficulties in breathing.

Symptoms of a lump in the throat feeling due to anxiety may be long-lasting or disappear a while after developing. They can also keep recurring, almost for no apparent cause.

Anxiety leads to stress, which in turn triggers a string of body changes. For example, body muscles do tighten in times of emotional and physical stress, as part of a natural mechanism to prevent from damage. Muscle tightening in the throat will be felt as a lump.

A lump on throat due to anxiety will be accompanied by other symptoms of anxiety such as restlessness and loss of appetite and sleep. This can be caused by medical conditions or other factors related to nervousness.

Treatment for a lump in throat feeling due to anxiety requires that the source of the anxiety be addressed. This can be done with the help of a doctor or a therapist. At home, physical exercises, yoga, acupuncture, meditation or massage may help.

Meaning of lump in throat after eating

A lump in the throat after eating may be resulting from acid reflux. The stomach contains a bit of hydrochloric acid, which aids in the digestion of proteins. Due to factors such as wrong sleeping posture or excess eating, acidified food substances may leak from the stomach into the esophagus up to the throat. Since the esophagus doesn’t have enough mucus to protect it from corrosion, ulcerations and irritation will result. The throat lining will with time swell and cause not only pain but difficulty swallowing.

There are medications to treat a lump in the throat due to ulceration and irritation by hydrochloric acid. The common symptom is a burning sensation, accompanied by pain when swallowing. Acid reflux can also be felt from time to time, mostly when sleeping or after a heavy, filling meal.

As to how to get rid of acid reflux at home, you can try sleeping on the left side. This keeps gastric juice from accessing the esophageal sphincter. You can also try taking frequent rather than heavy meals. Physical exercises can also help.

Common causes and meaning of painful lump in throat

Difficulty in swallowing caused by a painful lump in the throat will in most cases result from health conditions and diseases. They include:

Thyroid and throat cancer

Thyroid cancer is a serious condition that causes the thyroid gland to uncontrollably increase in size. Particularly, a lump that continuously gets bigger develops on the thyroid gland. As it is with all forms of cancer, thyroid or throat cancer is deadly and should be treated by a doctor. Other common symptoms of the diseases include voice hoarseness, chronic cough and a lump in the side of the neck. Cancer cells are known to migrate from one body part to another. For example, a cancerous tumor on the throat can cause a painful lump on the testicle due to spread of cancer cells.


Whiplash is an injury sustained in the neck region. This mostly occurs after an accident. Other than a lump in the throat, whiplash will cause chronic pain in the neck and difficulty swallowing.

Hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism

This is a condition that causes the thyroid gland to be largely inactive. Hormones released by the thyroid gland are responsible for regulating body metabolism. In their absence, patients will experience slowed body functions and fatigue. In attempt to keep up with thyroidal functions, the brain sends signals to enlarge the gland. This may be felt as a lump in the throat that causes difficulty in swallowing. Hypothyroidism is common after 60 years of age. Hyperthyroidism manifests reverse symptoms of hypothyroidism.


This condition causes the voice box to inflame. This leads to a hoarse or lost voice.


Tetanus is caused by germs usually found in the soil or manure. It gains access into the body through open wounds or broken skin. Its main symptom is muscle stiffness, including throat muscles.


Esophagitis occurs when the lining of the esophagus becomes irritated and swells. It causes difficulty in swallowing and painful lump in throat.


Most of them are caused by infections. In the throat, an abscess will feel like a painful lump in the throat. It will cause difficulty in swallowing. If left untreated, an abscess will prompt the swelling of one of the lymph nodes which can result in a lump under the armpit, behind the ear, under the jaw or in the throat.

There are a number of other diseases and conditions that may end up causing lump feeling in the throat, especially when swallowing. Medical diagnosis is advised if doubts persist.

Lump in throat when swallowing caused by infections

Bacteria and viruses are responsible for a number of infections that can cause a lump in the throat when swallowing. In fact, common inflammations such as boil and cysts are caused by bacteria. Cysts are common causes of breast lumps. They include:


This is a viral condition that results in pain in the throat when swallowing. It is characterized by symptoms of a cold.

Common cold

A common cold is also caused by viruses. It leads to an infected throat and in some cases an irritated or painful throat. Common cold may also cause fatigue and voice hoarseness.


Mumps is another viral disease that will cause difficulty in swallowing. It is characterized by swollen saliva glands. Mumps is contagious.


Oral herpes may lead to the formation of blisters or sores in the throat. This will result in pain when swallowing. Severe oral herpes or shingles will cause a painful lump behind the ear due to swollen lymph glands.


Tonsillitis refers to inflamed tonsils. Viruses are the main culprits but bacteria can also be responsible. Other than a lump in throat when swallowing, sore throat and fever will be experienced. Tonsillitis can lead to tonsil stones if not treated.

Strep throat

This is a bacterial infection commonly responsible for inflamed and painful white lump in throat. It is common in children and highly contagious. The infection makes the throat feel scratchy and sore.

Bird flu

Bird flu is caused by a virus. As the name suggests, it is spread by birds. Its common symptoms include coughing and sore throat.

Lump in throat due to post nasal drip

Chronic cough, sore throat and the need to keep clearing the throat may be resulting from post nasal drip. It is a condition that leads to mucus accumulating in the throat, especially in the back of the throat.

A number of conditions can be identified in regards to what causes a lump in the throat feeling due to post nasal drip. They include:

  • Common cold
  • Bacterial or viral infections
  • Allergens and irritants
  • Flu
  • Hay fever

Common symptoms include;

  • Itchy and congested
  • Runny nose
  • Frequent sneezing
  • Asthma
  • Sinusitis

Other symptoms include bad breath and difficulty swallowing. Due to the presence of phlegm in the throat, a patient will constantly cough and feel the need to clear their throat.

As to how to get rid of lump in throat when swallowing resulting from post nasal drip, antibiotics or antihistamines can be administered. The former are used to treat bacterial infections while the latter work by reducing symptoms of allergy.

Lump in throat after eating caused by allergic reactions

A sudden appearance of a lump in the throat after eating may be caused by allergens. Allergens are substances that trigger autoimmune reactions in the body. Good examples include:

  • Dust
  • Pets
  • Beauty products
  • Foods such as diary products and soy
  • Some medications and drugs

If the lining of the throat comes into contact with an allergen, it may lead to sudden inflammation which will not only be painful but also cause difficulties in swallowing. Severe inflammation in the throat may extend to the trachea. Inflamed trachea is fatal due to obstructed breathing.

Antihistamines and steroids are commonly used for how to remove symptoms of allergic reactions. It is very important that medical help be sought in case of lump in throat after eating due to allergies. Patients should also make a point of knowing which substances they are allergic to.

How to get rid of lump in throat feeling

The best way to get rid of lump in throat feeling depends on what is causing the same. A lump due to anxiety for example can be removed by eradicating the source of the anxiety. Much the same can be said if allergens, infections, health conditions or acid reflux is the cause.

The best approach to determine the best way on how to remove a lump in the throat is to check the accompanying symptoms. For example, bacterial and viral infections will always be accompanied by symptoms such as fever, fatigue and swollen lymph nodes. Allergic reactions will be accompanied by trouble breathing and inflammation.

Acid reflux, on the other hand, will be accompanied by a burning sensation in the chest or throat. Cancer of the thyroid, esophagus or throat can be accompanied by other symptoms such as breast cancer lump, frequent infections, bleeding in the throat and swollen lymph nodes.

If a lump in throat, whether painless or painful, is to persist for more than 2 days, consult your doctor. Such can be a symptom of a deadly infection or disease.