A cricopharyngeal spasm is a form of muscle spasm involving the throat. It is positioned at the upper part of the esophagus. As a component of the digestive tract, the esophagus aids with the digestion of food and prevents the stomach acid from moving up from the stomach.
The cricopharyngeal muscle normally contracts. It helps the esophagus control the food and water intake. A spasm arises with this muscle if it excessively contracts. Even though the individual can still swallow food and beverages, the spasms can make the throat feel uncomfortable.
What are the signs?
Even if a cricopharyngeal spasm occurs, the individual can still eat and drink. The discomfort is at its peak between meals and beverages.
The usual signs include the following:
- Choking sensation
- Sensation of tightening around the throat
- Sensation of a large object stuck in the throat
- Lump that could not be spitted out or swallowed
The signs might also worsen throughout the day. In addition, anxiety can also aggravate the symptoms.
Management of cricopharyngeal spasm
A cricopharyngeal spasm can be alleviated with simple home measures. The changes in the eating habits might be beneficial. Eating and drinking in small amounts throughout the day can keep the muscle in a relaxed state for longer.
Stress can also intensify the symptoms; thus, it is vital to relax as much as possible. Guided meditation, breathing techniques and other relaxing activities can also help.
If the spasms are persistent, the doctor might prescribe diazepam or another type of muscle relaxant. Physical therapy can also help especially with neck exercises to promote relaxation.
In most cases, the symptoms of cricopharyngeal spasm subsides on their own after 3 weeks. In some instances, the symptoms last longer.