If you’ve ever experienced the discomfort of feeling like you have a lump in your throat when there’s nothing there, you may be familiar with the medical term ‘Globus Sensation’ or ‘Globus Pharyngeus’ simply a “lump in the throat”.
It is a common condition that causes the feeling of something stuck in your throat. This sensation can be quite uncomfortable, especially at night when trying to sleep. You are not alone if you are experiencing a Globus sensation and struggling to get a good night’s rest.
This article aims to help you understand Globus Sensation, including its symptoms and causes. More importantly, we provide some practical tips on how to sleep well despite the sensation. We’ve also answered some common questions to address your concerns.
Globus sensation is the feeling of a lump or foreign object in the throat, even without any physical blockage. It is a condition where the esophagus functions abnormally, causing sensations unrelated to physical blockage or illness.
In the past, Globus was mostly seen as a psychological condition. However, recent research suggests that it can be a symptom of both psychological and physical conditions. This was highlighted in a 2017 article published in the journal Frontline Gastroenterology.
According to the National Health Service (NHS) of the United Kingdom, people who experience a Globus sensation may feel a sensation of tightening around their throat.
However, it is important to note that this sensation often comes and goes over time and is typically not indicative of a more serious underlying condition.
Globus can also cause various symptoms, such as:
- A sensation of a lump in the throat
- Throat pain or tenderness
- Swelling of the throat
- Frequent throat-clearing
- Sore throat
- Discomfort while swallowing
- Dry throat
- Unexplained cough
- Feeling of tightness in the throat
- Voice changes
Causes of Globus Sensation
The cause of the Globus sensation is often difficult to determine since it’s usually a mix of physical and psychological factors.
However, high blood stress levels and intense anxiety can result in muscle tension in the throat, leading to the sensation. This feeling frequently occurs when people suppress intense emotions.
Another common cause of the Globus sensation is gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). According to the article, 23-68% of people with the Globus sensation also have GERD. Symptoms like heartburn, associated with GERD, can also cause of feeling of a lump in the throat.
A 2015 study found that a significant majority (up to 96%) of people experiencing Globus reported a worsening of symptoms during times of heightened emotional intensity.
Globus can be caused by various medical conditions, like:
- Hiatus hernia: when a section of the stomach moves up into the chest.
- Sinusitis: inflammation of the sinuses.
- Swollen thyroid gland or goiter.
- Cricopharyngeal spasm: a type of muscle spasm that occurs in the throat.
- Post-nasal drip: continuous production of mucus by the glands in the throat and nose.
In some rare cases, hypopharyngeal cancer may also be a potential cause.
How to Sleep with Globus Sensation
If you’re struggling with sleeping due to Globus sensation, the following tips can help enhance your sleep quality:
6 ways to sleep with Global Sensation
Your sleep position impact greatly on how you feel at night. If you sleep flat on your back, this can worsen symptoms of Globus sensation as it can lead to increased reflux.
Instead, consider sleeping in an inclined position. If possible, raise the head of your bed by 6 to 9 inches.
This can help prevent stomach acid from flowing back up into your throat, reducing discomfort caused by the Globus sensation.
Staying hydrated is also important when dealing with the Globus sensation. It can help to lubricate your throat, which can lessen the sensation of having a lump in your throat.
According to the University of Michigan, it is recommended to consume at least 64 ounces (8 cups or 2 liters) of fluids daily to maintain hydration, thin mucus, and keep your throat moisturized.
It’s super important to stay hydrated, even though it hurts. Try to drink a lot of water throughout the day, and keep a glass of water by your bedside at night.
This way, if you wake up feeling discomfort, you can take a sip of water to help soothe your throat. Warm fluids before bed, such as herbal tea or warm water with honey, can also be beneficial.
Embracing relaxation techniques can provide great relief for those experiencing a Globus sensation. Techniques like deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, and guided imagery can help reduce stress levels, thereby lessening the intensity of the Globus sensation.
For instance, progressive muscle relaxation involves tensing and then relaxing each muscle group in the body, promoting overall relaxation and stress relief.
Guided imagery helps you relax by visualizing calming scenes. By adding these practices into your bedtime routine can prepare your body for sleep and potentially reduce discomfort from the Globus sensation.
Mindfulness meditation is another useful technique. It helps you focus on your breath, bringing your mind’s attention to the present without drifting into concerns about the past or future.
According to some clinical trials published in the Journal of Clinical Psychology, mindfulness shows promise as an intervention to improve sleep quality.
Avoid Spicy Foods and Alcohol
Consuming spicy foods and alcohol can worsen the symptoms of Globus sensation. They can trigger an overproduction of stomach acid, leading to reflux and aggravating the sensation of a lump in the throat.
Spicy foods can also cause inflammation in the throat, further adding to the discomfort. It’s advisable to avoid such triggers, particularly close to bedtime. Alcohol, in contrast, can relax the lower esophageal sphincter, allowing stomach acid to reflux into the esophagus and throat.
It’s best to limit alcohol intake, especially in the evening, to allow your body ample time to digest and reduce the risk of acid reflux during sleep.
Avoid Eating Close to Bedtime
Eating close to bedtime can cause acid reflux, exacerbating Globus sensation symptoms, especially during sleep.
The body needs some time to digest food, and lying down immediately after eating can cause stomach acid to flow back into the esophagus, triggering the sensation of a lump in the throat.
It’s recommended to finish eating at least three hours before going to bed to reduce the risk of acid reflux and resultant discomfort. A light, easily digestible dinner can also help in this regard.
Consult a Healthcare Provider
If the Globus sensation continues to interfere with your sleep despite trying these strategies, it may be time to consult with a doctor.
A medical professional can evaluate your condition, provide an accurate diagnosis, and recommend appropriate treatments based on the underlying cause.
This may include medication, therapy, or in rare cases, surgery. In cases where anxiety or stress is a contributing factor, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) or medication may be prescribed.
It’s important to have open communication with your doctor and express any concerns or difficulties you’re experiencing due to the Globus sensation, including any impact on your sleep quality.
Dealing with a Globus sensation can be challenging, especially when it disrupts your sleep. However, with the right approaches like optimal sleep positioning, maintaining hydration, practicing relaxation techniques, and careful selection of your diet, you can significantly alleviate the discomfort associated with this condition. Remember, if the sensation continues or becomes harder to manage, it’s important to seek professional medical advice.
Does Xanax help with Globus sensation?
Xanax can potentially help with a Globus sensation if the cause of the sensation is linked to anxiety or stress. This is due to the fact that Xanax has a calming effect on the brain and nerves, which can alleviate feelings of anxiety and thus possibly reduce the perception of a lump in the throat. Remember that Xanax treats the symptoms, not the underlying cause. It works best when combined with other therapeutic strategies.
Does gargling salt water help Globus sensation?
Gargling with salt water can help soothe a Globus sensation by reducing inflammation and killing bacteria in the throat. The saline solution can have a calming effect on the throat muscles and help in clearing the mucus. It also relieves the feeling of a lump in the throat. Gargle with salt water for a few seconds and then spit. Repeat this several times a day, especially before bedtime for optimal results.
How to get rid of Globus sensation anxiety?
Addressing anxiety linked with Globus sensation often involves a multi-faceted approach. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) can be particularly helpful as it teaches people to reframe their thought patterns and reactions to anxiety-provoking situations, like the sensation of a lump in the throat.
Mindfulness-based stress reduction techniques and progressive muscle relaxation can also be beneficial in lowering stress levels, thereby reducing the intensity of the Globus sensation. Additionally, some medications, like selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), have shown good results in treating anxiety-related symptoms.