Sharp Pain in Chest When Swallowing

Swallowing pain is any pain or pain while swallowing. You might feel it high in the neck or lower down behind the breastbone. Most often, the pain feels like a strong feeling of squeezing or burning. Swallowing pain may be a symptom of a serious disorder.

Sharp Pain in Chest When Swallowing

Factors to consider

Swallowing involves many nerves and muscles in the mouth, throat area, and esophagus (the tube that moves food to the stomach). Part of swallowing is voluntary, which indicates you are aware of managing the action. Nevertheless, much of swallowing is uncontrolled.

Issues at any point in the swallowing procedure (consisting of chewing, moving food to the back of the mouth, or moving it to the stomach) can result in painful swallowing.

Swallowing problems can cause symptoms such as:


Swallowing problems might be because of infections, such as:

Swallowing issues might be due to an issue with the esophagus, such as:

  • Achalasia
  • Esophageal convulsions
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease
  • Swelling of the esophagus
  • Nutcracker esophagus
  • Ulcer in the esophagus, specifically due to the antibiotic doxycycline

Other causes of swallowing issues consist of:

Home Care

To relieve swallowing pain:

  • Eat slowly and chew food well
  • Eat pureed foods or liquids if solid foods are difficult to swallow
  • Avoid extremely cold or really hot foods if they make your symptoms worse

If someone is choking, right away perform the Heimlich maneuver.

When to Contact a Medical Professional

Call your healthcare company if you have painful swallowing and:

Tell your company about any other symptoms that occur with the painful swallowing, consisting of:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Chills
  • Cough
  • Fever
  • Heartburn
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Sour taste in the mouth
  • Wheezing

What to Expect at Your Office Visit

The company will examine you and ask concerns about your medical history and symptoms, including:

  • Do you have pain when swallowing solids, liquids, or both?
  • Is the pain continuous or does it reoccur?
  • Is the pain worsening?
  • Do you have problem swallowing?
  • Do you have a sore throat?
  • Does it seem like there is a swelling in your throat?
  • Have you inhaled or swallowed any irritating substances?
  • What other symptoms do you have?
  • What other illness do you have?
  • What medications do you take?

The following tests might be done:

  • Barium swallow and upper GI series
  • Chest x-ray
  • Esophageal pH tracking (procedures acid in the esophagus)
  • Esophageal manometry (procedures pressure in the esophagus)
  • Esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD)
  • HIV screening
  • Neck x-ray
  • Throat culture

Last modified: March 31, 2017


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