Pain in Side of Throat: What Could Be the Cause?
I have a pain in my throat, to the right side of my Adam's Apple. I've had it constantly for a few years, at times it's very acute and at other time it dies down, but is still there niggling. For the past couple of months it's been quite acute. I feel it when I swallow. I don't really get a hoarse voice and I don't think it's acid reflux although I used to have an ulcer. I've been given anti-acids by the doctor, but they don't seem to help. There don't appear to be any lumps and I'm not losing weight. I've never smoked. Any ideas?
First of all, it is really important that you go and see your doctor again and insist on a more thorough examination, perhaps even a referral for more tests. Pain does not occur without cause and such long standing pain does warrant more attention. We can only give general advice and observations – there is no substitute for a proper physical examination.
It is important to rule out obvious things – like a chronic infection of the tonsil or gland on the side where the pain is. It would also be a good idea to mention the ulcer – if you are having acid reflux, or have had this in the past, part of your oesophagus, the tube that leads from your throat to the top of your stomach, could have been damaged. Pain can sometimes be caused in one part of the body and felt in another, because of the way the nerves are connected. Nerve damage in the oesophagus can lead to difficulties in swallowing, so problems there could cause pain in the throat.
How long did you take the antacids for and were they effective enough? It is important to treat acid reflux as the oesophagus is very tender and it can be damaged quite easily, even by small amounts of acid. A drug such as ranitidine stops stomach acid being produced, but an antacid, indigestion tablet, just neutralises acid that is produced. If you do have chronic acid over production, you may need long term medication with something that cuts stomach acid practically to zero.One thing that you could do is to keep a food diary and see if the pain comes after you have eaten anything in particular. Does the pain come after eating, before eating? All this information could be very useful to your doctor in trying to discover the problem.
If your GP is not able to help, it would be worth asking for a second opinion, or requesting a referral to a specialist. Only you know how this problem is affecting you but, from your question, the anxiety that not knowing what is at the root of the pain could be causing you more problems that the pain itself.