What to know about tightness in the front of the neck


Below, we list five potential causes of tightness in the front of the neck, along with their associated treatments.

Allergic reaction

Allergies are common, affecting more than 50 million people in the United States each year. According to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, many people do not realize they have an allergy until they experience a severe allergic reaction known as anaphylaxis.

One potential symptom of anaphylaxis is a feeling of tightness in the throat. Other possible symptoms include:

Some of the common allergy triggers are:

  • insect stings, including:
  • medications, such as antibiotics
  • latex
  • Treatment

    Anyone who experiences anaphylaxis should seek emergency medical attention. Without prompt treatment, the condition can be life threatening.

    Long-term allergy treatment depends partly on the severity of the allergy and the likelihood of the person coming into contact with the allergen in the future.

    In some cases, a doctor may refer the person to an allergist, who will carry out diagnostic tests to determine the cause of the allergic reaction.

    What to know about tightness in the front of the neck

    Possible treatment options may include:

    Globus pharyngeus

    Globus pharyngeus (GP) is a typically painless sensation of a lump in the throat. While researchers do not know what causes this condition, the following factors may play a role:

    Besides a sensation of a lump in the throat, other possible symptoms of GP include:


    The treatment for GP will depend partly on whether there is an identificable cause. For example, a person who has regular heartburn may receive medication to control their heartburn.

    If a doctor is unable to identify the cause of GP, they may simply recommend avoiding possible triggers. Examples include:

    In some cases, a person may receive a referral for speech and language therapies. According to a 2015 review, such therapies may help alleviate some symptoms of GP.


    A goiter is the medical term for a swelling of the thyroid gland. This butterfly-shaped gland sits at the front of the neck and produces hormones that help regulate metabolism.

    A goiter does not always cause symptoms. However, possible symptoms include:

    The following are some of the potential causes of a goiter:


    Some goiters can disappear by themselves. If a person’s symptoms are not severe, their doctor may recommend a period of monitoring, or watchful waiting.

    A doctor may recommend surgery for a goiter that causes severe symptoms, such as difficulty swallowing or breathing. In cases where surgery is not a suitable option, a doctor may offer radioiodine therapy to shrink or destroy the thyroid cells to reduce the level of hormones the thyroid produces.


    Heartburn refers to a burning sensation in the chest or throat. It is a result of stomach acid leaking out of the stomach and back up into the esophagus.

    Other symptoms of heartburn include:

    GERD is the medical term for frequent heartburn. It is a common condition affecting millions of people worldwide. Risk factors for GERD include:


    Some methods for treating heartburn at home include:

    If home treatments are not effective, a person should talk with their doctor. The doctor may recommend medications to neutralize stomach acid or slow its production. Examples include:

    In some cases, a doctor may recommend surgery to control GERD. However, around 50% of people who undergo such surgery will require repeat surgery in the future.


    Tonsillitis is the medical term for infection and inflammation of the tonsils. The most common causes of tonsillitis are the common cold virus and a type of bacterial infection called a streptococcus infection.

    Symptoms of tonsillitis include:


    Most of the time, tonsillitis will resolve on its own. However, people may take nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs to reduce swelling and manage pain.

    If necessary, doctors may prescribe corticosteroids to reduce inflammation, or antibiotics to clear up a bacterial infection. In rare cases, doctors may recommend surgery to remove the tonsils.