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Chaos

Tight Band Around Throat

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Over the past several years I've had episodes of feeling like I have a tight band around my throat...kind of at the "adam's apple" level, or near the thyroid area. It comes and goes and I've never been able to identify what causes it or what it was related to. However, with all the MCAD questions floating around these days, it's made me start wondering if it could be a "mild" form of anaphylaxis? Anybody else have anything like this? It does make it a bit harder to swallow and breathe, but I don't feel wheezy like an asthma attack. I keep finding myself reaching up to try pulling a tight turtle neck sweater away from my throat....but I'm not wearing one! Nothing touching me anywhere near my throat. Don't think it's anxiety as it's happened during yoga classes when I'm very relaxed and calm and I'm not a particularly anxious person in general.

Any ideas??

(I have suspected an MCAD type reaction associated with my POTS, but don't think it's the cause of my POTS. Rather, when the POTS is uncontrolled, I have nearly all the symptoms on the list for MCAD. I'm supposed to see a mast cell specialist at Mayo in a couple of months.)

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I am assuming that you've had your thyroid checked? I was hypothyroid after my second child, but it resolved and my TSH and T4 are normal now, but I have a "globally enlarged, firm, rubbery thyroid." I can feel it, I can see it and so can all my docs. I get the same tight feeling and absolutely cannot wear collared shirts or turtlenecks.

I wouldn't be surprised if it is found that we all have some kind of mast cell reaction though.

I just read that you also have GERD, do you also have a "slow swallow?" My Dad had severe GERD and he would get a tight throat feeling as well.

Edited by firewatcher

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Why not see if an antihistamine helps?

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I have that exact same feeling, and also wonder about it. Just to complicate matters, Dr. Francomano tells me that many EDS patients also have swallowing issues due (they think) to brain stem compression or occult tethered cord. As sugartwin says, I think we have lots of doctors out there looking at the same elephant from different angles.

It does get worse when I have distinct anaphylactic episodes, but I think when that happens I may actually be layering one throat constiction feeling over the other. The ongoing annoying one may be due to chronic low-grade anaphylaxis, a rubbery thyroid, GERD, EDS-related brain stem issues...but it definitely gets worse when the throat constriction due to anaphylactic-type MCAS stuff kicks in (clear as mud, eh?). So Julie's right, it might be worth seeing if and how much anti-histamines help you - they seem to help me with the worsening of the throat constriction during flare ups, but I still have the ongoing annoying tight turtle-neck feeling, especially when I lie flat on my back.

I know what you mean about it seeming like bad POTS leads to mast cell reactions. I keep wondering about that too and we have discussed it on the MSC thread as well. It's possible that POTS is caused by something else and it often accompanies JHS, but then when it gets really bad it causes mast cell activation symptoms. On the other hand, we my have excessive mast cell activation going on all the time that is only expressed as POTS symptoms, except when it gets really bad and is clearly seen as flushing, anaphylactic symptoms, etc. A third option would be POTS caused by some unexplained source interacting with a separate but co-existent mast cell disorder, causing a snowball effect and really bad POTS.

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Thank you for this post. I couldn't believe what I was reading. I have the exact same symptom and it has been bothering me off and on for years but recently it seems worse. I have had two prior EGDs and I have been on Armour thyroid for a year, but structurally I am told there is no problem. I haven't mentioned it to my new PCP yet because I am just SICK :angry: of seeing doctors right now. I am seriuosly considering the possibility of MCAD as well.

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Well, I'll give you my thyroid perspective. I had Hashimoto's for many years, probably 15. My thyroid got to the point that it wasn't huge, but rubbery, as some of you mention. I would have off/on times of feeling like I was being choked--my old GP(he was in his 70s, so he was old), told me it was "globus hystericus" or something like that. I looked it up later and was fuming! It implies that we are just creating this problem because of anxiety! Anyway, I would find myself sleeping on my back and waking up feeling like my neck was being choked. I ended up having surgery to remove it, and I don't have that issue anymore. :D So much for the globus hystericus(or whatever it was called!). I tell you, doctors want to blame more stuff on anxiety or female hormones. :angry:

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For as long as I can remember I have referred to this as a 'Charlie Horse in my Neck'. When it presents it is slightly visible and it is palpable. My kids used to think it was 'cool', but it can be very uncomfortable. I've mentioned it to several Docs but I get that blank stare :ph34r: Imagine that....

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I wonder if it isn't some kind of muscle spasm?

Oh I should say I get it too and it is very uncomfortable.

Eating often sets mine off.

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http://www.mat.or.th/journal/files/Vol92_No.4_531_4456.pdf

Another name for globus hystericus is globus phayngeus. Regardless of the name, this is a very real medical condition. After I miscarried (almost 20 years ago), I remember a lump in my throat for weeks. Perhaps the grief stirs up the mast cells and causes this phenomenon. The latest research points to an allergic response. Symptoms typically reverse with antihistamines.

This is also another manifestation of my "low grade anaphylaxis." I have gone for weeks and months with this phenomenon. Antihistamines reverse it for me.

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Oh, no! if you really want answers "Go ask Sarah." If there's something she doesn't know, she will research it, find others with the same questions, learn all that they know, find the world's leading experts, engage their input, and end up educating them over a lovely dinner :rolleyes:

Have you shared the work you are doing, Sarah?

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It has a lot of attachments and is mainly mast cell related, so I posted in on Mastocytosis Society Canada. I'm also tired, but if anyone wants to check it out there, I'd be happy to answer any questions.

And I'd still be wondering what in the world was even going on if you hadn't pointed me in this direction, Julie.

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WOW! Thanks for all the responses. Interesting article Julie!

I have had my thyroid checked. I do have some nodules and have had a biopsy but nothing serious was found. My thyroid function has always been good according to the tests.

For me, it isn't so much a feeling of a lump in my throat as it is a sense that there is a tight band right around the esophagus and trachea area. It doesn't extend around the whole neck, just around the center portion. From the article Julie posted it looks like there are several "possible causes" that I have. I seem to have several issues with the esophagus (GERD, LPR, and esophageal spasms) so maybe it's another form of esophageal abnormality.

I've tried all kinds of stretches and positions to try to relieve it and it doesn't seem to respond to any of those kinds of treatment so doubt it's muscular in nature.

I did take a couple Benadryl last night which helped relieve it somewhat but it worsened again after a couple hours. I was really tempted to "borrow" my husband's epi pen but figured I should really check with a doc before going that route.

Sue- I hear you about how often they want to blame things on psych problems in women. I had 2 of my kids have horrible problems with episodes of dizziness. They both were referred at different times to the same ENT who specializes in vestibular issues. When my son saw him and didn't have a vestibular problem, the doc thought he needed a brain scan as he might have a serious neurological issue. When my daughter saw him with the same results, he said she was depressed!!!ARGHHH

Sarah- interesting about you feeling it when you lie flat on your back. That was when I first noticed it years ago- when I was lying in "corpse pose" at the end of a yoga class, relaxing. I would be totally relaxed but kept feeling like a finger was gently pressing over the thyroid area. Now it's gotten much less "gentle" and feels like 3-4 fingers squeezing tightly. I'll have to check out your work on the MSC site.

Once again, it's really nice to know I'm not the only one with a symptom that is sure to get weird looks from any doctor I mention it to.

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