Anxietycomes with a variety of different symptoms. Many people know that the persistent worry characteristic of the disorder presents with restlessness, trouble sleeping, and even sweating. However, did you know that it’s also possible for anxiety to make you feel like the muscles in your throat are tight?
This sensation, colloquially known as having a lump in your throat, doesn’t present with the same risk as, say, hyperventilation. Whereas hyperventilating can cause you to pass out, a lump in your throat is typically little more than uncomfortable. However, for some, the feeling occurs frequently, or for long periods of time. There’s also the fact that having a tight throat comes with other signs of anxiety or nervousness, which may create a feedback loop.
Learning how to relax your throat muscles when you have anxiety can bring you sweet relief. Plus, by turning your attention to relaxing your throat muscles, you may ease your other symptoms, as well.
Symptoms of a Tight Throat
There are a few ways that a tight throat may present. For instance, a buildup tension in your neck muscles may give you:
- The urge to swallow
- The feeling that there is a lump in your throat
- A strained or tight voice
- The feeling that there is an object in your airway
- The sensation of a band wrapped around your throat
What Causes Tight Throat Muscles?
Anxiety often comes with a feeling of being in danger. This can activate your body’s stress response system, also known as the “fight or flight” response.
One of the effects of stress on the body is that your muscles can become tight. While this prepares your body action and makes your muscles more resilient to damage, it can also cause you to feel like you have a lump in your throat.
Individuals with chronic stress in their lives may notice that the tightness in their throat occurs more frequently or for longer periods of time. This is the result of your body continuously pumping out hormones and activating signals that you’re under duress.
How Do You Relax Your Throat Muscles?
The key to relaxing your throat muscles when you have anxiety is to calm down as much as possible. As you begin to relax your mind, your body will cease sending out stress responses. Within a few minutes, your muscles should begin to relax on their own.
For those with chronic stress in their lives, it’s important to find ways to relax and reduce contact with stressors in their daily lives. This may include avoiding stressors such as certain places or people, as well as introducing relaxing activities in their day. Many therapists also recommend meditation and relaxation exercises.
However, if working on your anxiety doesn’t relieve your symptoms, there are other ways to relax your throat muscles. For instance, you can reduce muscle tension by:
- Giving yourself a gentle throat massage along the affected muscles
- Taking a warm bath or applying a warm compress
- Using neck and shoulder stretches to relieve tightness and tension
- Partaking in light to moderate exercise, such as stretching or speed walking
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