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Alternative Names Return to topSwallowing - pain or burning; Odynophagia; Burning feeling when swallowing
Definition Return to top
Swallowing pain refers to a strong feeling of uncomfortable squeezing and burning while swallowing, which may be felt high in the neck or lower down behind the breastbone. Such pain may be a symptom of a serious disorder.
See also: Swallowing difficulty
Considerations Return to top
Swallowing is a complex act that involves the mouth, throat area, and esophagus (the tube that transports food to the stomach).
Problems at any point, from the mouth to the esophagus, can result in burning or intense pain with swallowing.
This may be accompanied by chest pain, the feeling that food is stuck in the throat, or heaviness or pressure in the neck or upper chest.
Causes Return to top
Home Care Return to top
Eat slowly and chew food thoroughly. If a person suddenly shows signs of choking and difficulty breathing, the Heimlich maneuver should be performed immediately.
You may have an easier time swallowing liquids or pureed foods than solids. Avoid very cold or very hot foods if you notice that they worsen the problem.
When to Contact a Medical Professional Return to top
Call your provider if the problem continues, even if the symptoms come and go.
Tell your doctor about any other symptoms that go along with the painful swallowing, including:
What to Expect at Your Office Visit Return to top
The doctor will examine you and ask questions about your medical history and symptoms, including:
The following tests may be done:Update Date: 11/13/2007 Updated by: Christian Stone, M.D., Division of Gastroenterology, Washington University in St. Louis School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.