Swallowing hundreds of times in a day is an act we don’t need to focus on, unless one has Cricopharyngeal Spasms. Even this simple act, generally performed unconsciously makes one feel like a foreign lump is stuck in the throat. The esophagus valve does not function properly if you are suffering from Cricopharyngeal spasm and the symptoms can affect at any time of the day. Patients often wonder how long does Cricopharyngeal Spasm last. At times, these symptoms last for just a few minutes and in some cases they might even last for hours. In most cases one might not suffer greatly however, choking and swelling sensations can be severe, making it necessary to take prescription medicines. Discussed below are some simple home remedies to get rid of the spasms and reduce the swelling and choking sensations.
Causes of Cricopharyngeal Spasm
Some of the most common causes of Cricopharyngeal Spasm:
- It is a physical response to unbearable amounts of mental stress which one’s body undergoes.
- Negative and positive emotions are direct causes for this condition. In cases when it might not be the cause directly it might aggravate one’s condition.
- High level of anxiety is a trigger, especially when it cannot be controlled easily and occurs frequently(1).
- Certain food items are also capable of triggering these spasms and peanut is one of them.
- Some seeds also cause allergic reactions with pumpkin seeds being the primary cause.
- Weight gain or loss might trigger Cricopharyngeal spasm in some individuals.
- Severe headache may lead to the esophagus being affected and form a lump known as Cricopharyngeal spasm.
Symptoms of Cricopharyngeal Spasm
Some of the most common symptoms of Cricopharyngeal Spasm are:
- A continuous sensation of having a lump in the throat.
- The sensation is similar to having a foreign body lodged in one’s throat, making the patient quite uncomfortable. This sensation might not be present at all times.
- The lump is often considered as phlegm or golf ball and is present at the cricoid cartilage level.
- In spite of trying constantly, the lump cannot be eliminated without prescription medicines or effective home remedies.
- Constricting sensation, similar to choking along with chest pain.
- Individuals suffering from this condition tend to experience swollen throats.
- The occasional or constant lump in the throat sensation might be accompanied by pain.
- These symptoms are mostly aggravated during the night.
- Swallowing food is very easy however; swallowing saliva is not at all easy. Moreover, swallowing food considerably reduces the effects of these symptoms.
Listed below are some home-made remedies and treatment procedures which can be used for effectively reducing your pain and suffering:
It is commonly known as the ‘depression herb’, since it has strong anti-depressant and anti-aging properties. Rhodiola rosea is commonly found around sea cliffs and mountains and is known for boosting mental sharpness alongside physical performance. It has strong impact both physically and mentally to fight stress and anxiety therefore, it is the ideal solution to get relief from Cricopharyngeal Spasm. It boosts serotonin levels and improves mood. Therefore, it is the ideal solution for reducing impact of stress and anxiety thereby significantly decreasing the uncomfortable sensation in one’s throat.
2. Herbal teas
Tightness in throat is the most common sign of Cricopharyngeal spasm and it can be relieved by drinking fluids. Natural juices, water and warm teas are all effective, since they soothe the throat and reduce the ache. Herbal teas are the best option since; the warmth of water is combined with the calming properties of plants. You must regularly sip on any tea of your choice however, it is necessary to avoid highly caffeinated drinks right before going to bed. It will keep you awake and the tight restricted sensation will only increase.
Avoid too hot or too cold tea, as it might damage your esophagus. Put in three tablespoons of fresh leaves or herbs and steep for about 10 minutes. In case you are using dried leaves, you can add one tablespoon to one sup of steaming water making it one of the easiest home hacks to cure Cricopharyngeal Spasm.
3. B Vitamins
Vitamin B Complex is an essential nutrient required by our bodies for boosting the performance of red blood cells and assist with energy production. This group of vitamins is known for supporting general wellness and health of the body, and reduces the chances of mood swings. Brain chemistry is regulated and it assists with producing serotonin, thus treating depression, fatigue and anxiety. By consuming food rich in Vitamin B complex, significant results can be noticed. The results do not kick in immediately and patients need to consume these complex vitamins for extended periods to observe the results.
4. Stress and anxiety reduction
Stress, anxiety and negative emotions are the major causes of Cricopharyngeal muscle spasm therefore; it can be remedied by fixing or improving these disorders. The process is not simple and you will not observe any significant improvement overnight. This home remedy to get rid of Cricopharyngeal Spasm is one of the best as it changes several aspects in one’s routine. The simplest way to start this process is to identify the most common stress factors and anxiety triggers. It can be done by maintaining a journal if one is hesitant to approach a therapist. Start by jotting down incidents which make you nervous or trigger anxiety episodes or panic attacks.
5. Muscle relaxation
Breathing techniques can be implemented to relieve the pressure and discomfort of having a lump in the throat. Patience is required otherwise, results must not be expected. Also, the technique is not complicated therefore, anyone can practice it easily. Some home remedies to get rid of Cricopharyngeal Spasm are to take a warm shower and avoid sudden neck movements. Massage your neck and throat by wrapping ice cubes in a towel, as it relaxes muscles and eliminates pain.
6. Chew well
Chewing food well before swallowing helps greatly, especially when it is aching, since, it does not pressurize your throat.
Heat applications are known for assuaging discomfort for assistance with swallowing. You can place traditional or electric heat pads on your aching throat, relaxing muscles and assist with irritating symptoms. Similar to sipping on warm fluids, heated pads when put on throats assist both physically and therapeutically. Heat, when applied to any area helps in reducing muscle spasms as ligaments relax with the warmth. You can now make your own heat pad at home using rice in a sock or wet towels in a zip lock bag and use this this simple home solution to get alleviate the pain from Cricopharyngeal Spasm.
5-HTP or 5-Hydroxytryptophan is created using a West African shrub, which raises production of serotonin in nervous system and brain. Serotonin is responsible for keeping one’s mood balanced, therefore, taking you away from depressing feelings.
9. Physical therapy
Visit a physiotherapist who specializes in these problems and learn exercises for relaxing neck muscles. When muscles are relaxed, the constricting tight feeling is reduced and this is one of the ideal remedies for help with Cricopharyngeal Spasm. Botulinum toxin therapy has shown great results in combating cricopharyngeal spasm. Administration of botulinum toxin into bilateral cricopharyngeal muscles restores the natural swallowing activity within a week, and sustains for 5+ years.
10. Fluid drinking
Consuming any fluid reduces the intensity of all aforementioned symptoms, by keeping throat tissues well hydrated.
Precautions to Prevent Cricopharyngeal Spasm
Some of the well practiced precautions, which have helped several patients over time for achieving relief from this condition, are listed below:
- Analyze and seek the reasons for increase in stress.
- Avoid stressful situations, or find means of reducing stress. In case stressful situations cannot be removed completely from your life, find an effective method for reducing stress through yoga, exercise or any other sport.
- Find solutions to panic attacks and avoid all situations which result in you panicking.
- Maintain a journal for analyzing your response to situations and try to remove the need for panic.
- Consult a therapist if no other precaution is effective, to find an effective solution.
The aforementioned home remedies are effective; however, if pain and irritation increase or persist for more than two to three weeks consult your general physician without any delay.