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Diet for Cricopharyngeal Spasms

By Corinna Underwood

Cricopharyngeal spasm occurs when the uppermost valve on the esophagus stops functioning properly and it becomes difficult to swallow. Although no specific diet is recommended for this problem, eating can alleviate the tightness in the throat and make it easier to swallow. If you think you are suffering from cricopharyngeal spasm, you should seek medical advice.


The esophagus is the tube that extends from the throat to the stomach. Two valves in the esophagus contract and relax as you swallow, so that food can pass from the throat to the esophagus and from the esophagus to the stomach. If this normal rhythm becomes a spasm, the valves will not operate properly and swallowing can become difficult. This can be caused by stress and tension.


According to Stanford Hospital and Clinics, cricopharyngeal spasm occurs when the valve at the top of the esophagus is not working properly. Normally, the valve muscles allow it to open properly each time you swallow, letting food or liquid pass through. During a cricopharyngeal spasm, the valve does not function properly and does not fully open. This can cause problems and discomfort when swallowing, and may cause food or liquid to collect in the back of the throat.


According to J. P. Thomas M.D., specialist in laryngology and voice disorders, symptoms of cricopharyngeal spasm include a sensation of having a lump in the throat, difficulty swallowing saliva, a choking feeling, feeling of being strangled and a throat that feels swollen. The symptoms may come and go throughout the day and may feel worse later in the day.


There is no specific diet that can help prevent this type of spasm. To avoid cricopharyngeal spasm, Health and Nutrition Tips recommends chewing food slowly and thoroughly and not rushing your meal. Although the spasms may get worse as the day progresses, eating can often actually help alleviate the problem.


If you continue to experience cricopharyngeal spasm for an extended period of time, your doctor will probably recommend some form of stress relief to help reduce the symptoms. You may find that meditation or progressive relaxations exercise help. Sometimes placing a heated pad on your throat for a few minutes can also help the muscles to relax. If you are having a hard time relieving stress, your doctor may prescribe a low dose of a tranquilizer for a brief period.

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