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Suddenly felt pain in throat while swallowing. Feeling uncomfortable. Is there any serious problem?

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Practicing since : 1991
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I am a student and about 6 days from today, I woke up and carried on my regular day with no strenuous activities. However it was a point when I felt a very disturbing pain on the right side of my throat when I tried to swallow. The pain doesn't feel as if it is in my throat, no soreness or anything. But more on the side of my throat near the pulse area. Kind of XXXXXXX in my neck about a half inch above my XXXXXXX XXXXXXX but to the right of it near the pulse area is where i feel some tenderness if i really try to feel for it. These are my symptoms:
When i look straight ahead and swallow, no pain.
when i look or position my head to the right and swallow no pain.
When i look to the left and swallow, I feel a strange very uncomfortable PAIN on the right side of my throat that feels almost like im swallowing a lump or charlies horse of some sort when I try to swallow.
I am kind of thinking that it is a muscular condition and when I felt on the right side of my throat and compared it to the left, there doesnt seem to be any lumps, swelling or redness. I do get acid reflux from time to time but it interferes more with the inside of my throat and it is not where i am having the pain. Also I occasionally smoke. I have seen one post on here that is quite similar to what i am feeling, but no one can seem to come up with a solution and it was posted about 3 years ago by a guest who has not replied to what it was and how long it lasted. I also have to sleep with my head in certain positions to eliminate the nag or interference with w.e it is. It is not as bad as it was on the first day but it still hurts and I also feel that it has not gotten better because I feel that my body is more aware of it now, so I tend to not aggravate it by turning my head left and swallowing or sleeping with my head in certain positions to eliminate the aggravation. The pain is really and only felt when swallowing or if im lying with my head turned to the left.
Has anyone experienced something like this before?? If so how long did it last..?? I am thinking it is a form of "cricopharyngeal spasm" but i am not sure and not in a position to see a doctor right now. I do spend long hours sitting in front of the computer and sitting down, dont know if that contributes as well. And looking it up online is becoming frightening because of a lot of other factors associated with the throat area.Can somebody help, it concerns me a lot and I have never felt this before and its been 6 days, I dont think its cancer or anything but that does too worry me in the worst case, i PRAY its not that.
Posted Sun, 11 Nov 2012 in Ear, Nose and Throat Problems
Answered by Dr. G.Srinivasan 5 hours later

Welcome to XXXXXXX
I appreciate your detailed history to make us understand what is going on.
First I would like to reassure you that having cancer is a remote possibility as
1. It is a recent onset (cancer problems are thee for a long time before it gets noticed)
2. Presence of pain is not a feature of cancer usually – it is inflammation/infection.
It is most likely soreness of the muscle (MUSCLE SPASM) called STERNOCLEIDOMASTOID, which helps to turn the neck (and the head) to the other side. The right side muscle helps turn to the left side and that is why you experience the pain.
Things that would help you are
1.     Adequate rest ( you can use cervical collar if you have one at home)
2.     Warm compresses.
3.     Anti-inflammatory medicines like ibuprofen thrice daily after food for 3 days at-least combined to medicines for acid reflux.
Once you have access to health care, kindly speak to your doc to
1.     Look for thyroid illness and rule out.
2.     Check of the throat for completion.

Get well soon.

Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Suddenly felt pain in throat while swallowing. Feeling uncomfortable. Is there any serious problem? 2 hours later
Thankyou so much for taking the time to answer the biggest question in regard to my health as of right now. I must also say that the pain is usually when I turn my head to left and swallow, it is as if the muscle or muscles associated with swallowing on the right side of my throat that aches/pains everytime my head is positioned to the left and I try to swallow(I dont know if that makes sense but that the best i can describe it) it does like you said seem to be muscular because when Im lying down to go to sleep or rest I can feel minor strains on the right side of my neck in a particular area which does kind of confirm a muscular issue, and I would have to reposition my head to the right to keep the strain off. The pain however seems to be deeper or right before the Sternocleidomastoid muscle (between the throat/adams XXXXXXX and the Sternocleidomastoid muscle almost as if you were checking a pulse, more within that area, I am not saying you are wrong because you are qualified and know more about the anatomy than I do but I just wanted to be specific. I also felt the area and noticed that a gland was a little swollen but not painful to the touch and really not noticeable. Im relieved to eliminate the cancer possibility because everything that I searched seemed to bring up cancer cancer cancer and it had me very worried. I was also able to get some antibiotics (Keflex 500mg) because I also did a follow up with my ENT doctor back at home because he said it was probably an infection. Hopefully by wednesday it should be better, but thanks very much, and please let me know if you have any other concerns..
Answered by Dr. G.Srinivasan 46 minutes later

Welcome back.
One more possibility of lymph node enlargement exists, I did not mention as it does not vary with position and neck movement.
An ENT check will include lymph nodal examination also and we can take it from there.
Cancer is mentioned in order to diagnose early and treat early as late stages have no cure.

Take care and pl. keep me posted of your progress.

Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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