Cricopharyngeal Spasm
Natural Remedies

Natural Cures for Cricopharyngeal Spasm

| Modified on Jan 07, 2017

Every day, we all swallow about 600 times and don’t usually give the process a second thought; once the food is in the mouth, the rest of it just happens.  That’s how it works for most of us, at least.  For those who have Cricopharyngeal Spasms, the simple act of swallowing has become a problem – one that is experienced over and over each day.

Natural Remedies for Cricopharyngeal Spasm

The most common cause of Cricopharyngeal Spasm is anxiety and stress.  We all experience some degree of stress, but this problem usually appears when the stress is greater than normal.  Eating nuts or seeds seems to trigger the spasms for some people, but stress is the primary cause for most of those with this condition.

In time, Cricopharyngeal Spasm will disappear, but there are many natural remedies that will make the condition much easier to live with in the meantime.  Earth Clinic readers have told us about many of their favorite ways to relieve the stress and discomfort of Cricopharyngeal Spasm. 

Rhodiola - A Potent Antidote to Stress

Rhodiola has long been used as an energy-booster and a treatment for mental fatigue by those living in the arctic regions of Asia and Europe.  In more recent years, Rhodiola has become widely used in the west to relieve the effects of stress and enhance the health of the nervous system.  Rhodiola is widely available as a capsule, extract or tea.

Herbal Teas – Soothing and Delicious

Sipping any warm tea can be helpful in relieving the ‘tight throat’ feeling, but some teas are particularly calming.  Some good choices are valerian, chamomile, lemon balm, passionflower, Siberian ginseng (Eleutheroccus senticosus) and Indian ginseng (Ashwagandha).

Brewing Herbal Teas

  • Teabags are convenient and many herbal teas are available in this form.
  • For dried herbs, the general rule of thumb is 1 teaspoon of dried herb to 1 cup of water.  Of course, check the package for specific recommendations for that herb.
  • If choosing fresh herbs, use about 3 tablespoons to 1 cup of water.
  • Steep most herb teas for 5-10 minutes.  Experiment to find the amount of herb and steeping time that works best for you. 

5-HTP – Effective for Many Problems, Including Stress and Anxiety

5-HTP (5-Hydroxytryptophan) is produced from the seeds of a West African shrub; it increases the production of serotonin in the brain and nervous system.  Some researchers believe that serotonin is the chemical that balances our moods and that too little serotonin leads to depression.  In addition to anxiety, some of the other ailments treated with 5-HTP are tension headaches, sleep problems, PMS, binge eating and ADHD.

B Vitamins Help to Regulate Mood and Reduce Stress

B vitamins work with brain chemistry to regulate the body by balancing neurotransmitters and producing serotonin.  These vitamins contain specific mood-boosting properties that help to reduce stress.

What is Cricopharyngeal Spasm?

People with Cricopharyngeal Spasm often feel as though they have a lump in the back of their throat.  This may lead them to believe that they have cancer (a cancerous lump is not normally discovered until it is quite large).  Fortunately, Cricopharyngeal Spasm is annoying and uncomfortable, but ultimately harmless and responds to natural remedies.

The problem is caused when the valves in the esophagus which normally contract and relax during the swallowing process begin to spasm instead.  The spasms cause the following symptoms:

  • The throat feels swollen and as if there is a ‘lump’ in the throat.
  • The ‘lump’ may come and go or may remain for several months.
  • It is easier to swallow food than it is to swallow saliva.
  • The symptoms are often worse during the evening.

It is important to get a definitive diagnosis in order to rule out other possibilities, such as throat cancer.  In fact, simply learning that one has a harmless, albeit uncomfortable, problem can help to reduce anxiety.  Natural remedies can be very helpful in relieving stress and minimizing symptoms.

Keep reading below to discover remedies that worked for our readers to relieve this condition. If you have a remedy that worked for Cricopharyngeal Spasm, please let us know!

Additional Pages of Interest:

Discover a Natural Cure for Anxiety
Stress Remedies

Rhodiola and Valerian

1 User Review
5 star (1) 

Posted by Mama To Many (Tennessee, Us) on 03/20/2015

A Cricopharygeal Spasm is a spasm of the cricopharyngeal muscle, which controls two valves in the esophogus. A spasm in this muscle causes a tight feeling in the throat. This problem is usually caused by anxiety. It is often worse as the day progresses and symptoms may come and go.

I was having an uncomfortable sensation in my throat. It was the same feeling I might get if I was about to cry, but I was having it even when I was not about to cry, and I was having this feeling all day long. It was accompanied by hoarseness and was generally worse in the evening. I would lean my head back to try and stretch out my neck as I almost felt as if I were being strangled. At first I thought it was a cyst or tumor so I used a castor oil pack on it. That was nearly unbearable as I already felt as if I were being strangled and having something around my neck made me feel worse.

After some research, I realized I probably was experiencing Cricopharyngeal Spasm, which is usually caused by anxiety. The pieces began to fall into place. I remembered two other times in my life, times of very great stress, that I had the same problem. While I wasn't feeling anxious, I realized that I have been under great stress for a while with the recent terminal illness and death of my mother, and now my father's serious health problems.

The only natural solutions I could find online for Cricopharyngeal Spasm - (tightness in throat) were to reduce stress (not always possible! ) and sip on warm water or tea. Apparently some find relief when eating or drinking.

Since the cause appeared to be anxiety, I began to research natural cures for anxiety. I began taking the herb Rhodiola and it worked very well for me. I would take one capsule in the morning. If symptoms were present, I would take another capsule in the afternoon. Some people find that Rhodiola helps them sleep, while others find it makes it harder to sleep. For this reason, I avoided it at bedtime, but always made sure to take my magnesium at bedtime, which does seem to relax me and help me to sleep.

Valerian is another great herb for anxiety. If symptoms begin to pick up in the evening, I put a dropper full (15-20 drops) of Valerian Tincture into 2 ounces of water and this again alleviates the symptoms.

Because occasionally a tight feeling in the throat could be caused by a thyroid disorder or tumor, it is wise to get a medical opinion to verify a diagnosis of cricopharyngeal spasm, especially if self-help remedies for anxiety do not give relief.

Earth Clinic has other stories of anxiety remedies on this page:

Replied by John
(Albuquerque, New Mexico)

I read your post and I am writing to ask if your throat discomfort also includes an odd sound made in the throat?

Replied by Mama To Many

Dear John,

I did not have an odd sound in my throat. I think it was a muscle contraction. Rhodiola helped me for a long time and then stopped helping. I started to take Motherwort instead and that has helped for a long time, even if I skip a day or two of taking it. I saw your post to someone else about this issue and you mentioned throat clearing and mucous in the throat. Many years ago one of my children was clearing his throat very often. I thought it was a nervous tic as he did this while reading. I did some research and found it could be an allergy. I took him off dairy for 6 months and the problem was completely solved. Taking a dairy break seemed to help him permanently. He is an adult now and the problem has not re occurred.

So, it could be an allergy causing the mucous causing the throat clearing. Eliminating an offending food could help. Or taking vitamin C or nettle, both natural anti-histamines. Even a daily dose of apple cider vinegar has helped many people with this issue.

You are kind to look for an answer for your friend! Vitamin C, nettle and apple cider vinegar are all things that help multiple conditions and would be something to consider!

~Mama to Many~

Replied by Shubham
(Delhi India)

hello John from sister is suffering from same problem with throat muscles contract and a odd sound always come when she breath..are you facing same problem??