Relieve ES by stretching mouth or laying down?

I’m still trying to figure out if I have ES or not… Am hoping somebody can confirm whether or not these findings lean towards ES:

  1. Feel like there is something stuck in tbe back right corner of my mouth. Creates a very bothersome choking sensation most of the time and seems to be worse after eating or talking for long periods. If I don’t eat or talk all day it is not as bad but still there. This seems to have become worse after having my tonsil’s out. I can stick a finger in my mouth and basically push on the exact spot where I feel this sensation. Basically as far back as you can go in the corner of your mouth.

  2. This same back right area of my mouth gets sore after talking. Almost as if it’s very dry or something like a regular sore throat you would get with a cold but this is very localized to the exact area where I feel the foreign body sensation.

  3. I seem to be able to at least partially relieve my symptoms by either opening my mouth very wide and then stretching that back right area even more by moving my jaw to the left or by laying down on my stomach with my head straight ahead. Doing either of these things seems to feel like I am “making room” so whatever is there isn’t pushing on things.

  4. No pain ever other than the sore throat thing.

  5. Ear fullness on the right side only when eating. Seems to start very quickly when eating.

I saw a new ENT at the Cleveland Clinic and he reviewed my past CT scans. He showed me on the scan where you can see the styloid on both sides in white and then there is a gap which he said was the ligament, but then the white reappears which he says is the end of the ligament calcifying. Is that what you guys have seen? This was the first time I had heard of there being a gap and the calcification only being on the end. He said the only issue he had was that it is doing this on both sides in the ct scan even though my symptoms are completely on the right side. He did say the right side looking slightly bigger though so maybe it is just that slight difference causing the problem. I was surprised that he said it would be an easy thing to remove if I wanted to.

Sometimes I think I may have multiple issues because I have things like clearing my throat and lots of mucus constantly too but I haven’t been able to find a condition that would also cause the foreign body sensation that seems to be relieved by stretching my mouth or placing my head certain ways while laying down.

Do these items fit the bill for ES? I’ve already had my tonsils and a lymph node removed trying to fix this so of course I’m hesitent to do any more surgeries unless there’s a high probability of it at least fixing something.

Hi ThroatCrazy!

I believe there have been other people on this site who have had situations similar to yours & at least one of them had surgery to fix the pain/sensation problems. As far as your symptoms go, calcification of the ligament as well as elongation of the styloids can cause the symptoms you're experiencing. It makes sense that you could relieve your symptoms by stretching/moving your jaw &/or lying on your stomach w/ your head placed in certain positions because the ligament is somewhat flexible & will move as you change position. This could relieve the pressure the calcified part is putting on nerves thus relieving your symptoms temporarily. I have experienced this w/ my extended styloids. When I move my head into certain positions, I can actually feel & hear the remaining one moving in my head/neck. Some positions are uncomfortable while others leave me asymptomatic.

Having your ear feel full when you eat is also an ES symptom. My ear(s) sometimes get that feeling during or immediately after I exercise & sometimes it's several hours later. It can last for awhile or goes away quickly. I have also had more throat mucus than usual which is annoying. This was especially true after I had my first styloid removed (still awaiting the second surgery).

What you may have may not officially be ES but it is very similar & obviously displays the same symptoms because it's in the same area of the neck that is bothered by extended styloids. I would encourage you to consider surgery if your symptoms are bothersome enough that they effect your daily routine.


Isaiah 40:31

Thanks for the info. It’s definitely causing problems in my daily routine for almost 3 years now and seems to get worse by the day. Is that typical? Maybe it has been longer as time goes on? The main bothersome thing is that I always feel like I am about to start choking. Then I read about things like epiglottis on the Internet and get even more freaked out thinking I have that all the time!

I think I have some combination of hyoid/styloid problem along with something that is causing mucus in the throat at the same time and both conditions are combining for some really annoying throat symptoms.

I forgot to mention also that if I turn my head certain ways it seems to cause a deep aching pain in my right ear. Nothing sharp but just a dull ache.

The ear pain is totally an ES/calcified stylohyoid ligament symptom. I get that too, even on the side I've had removed as I'm still healing (Surgery was in Nov. Was told it's at least 6 months for full recovery).

The excess mucus may just be your body's reaction to the irritation your calicified ligament is causing. I tend not to try to self-diagnose through the internet because there are just too many horrible things out there that have similar symptoms to things that are really nothing to worry about. I like to think & hope for the "best" & not be concerned about the "worst" until that's all that's left to consider (i.e. innocent until proven guilty!). Since I don't know how prolific your mucus is, I can't argue one way or the other regarding what's causing it but can only repeat that I've had extra throat mucus over the last several months which seems to coincide w/ my ES problem.

Intensifying pain as time goes on also makes sense as the calcification is probably progressing which means there's more impingement on your nerves. I'd get a follow-up appointment w/ the doctor who was willing to do the surgery & let him know what's going on. If he does the surgery extra-orally, anticipate about 2 weeks for recovery before stepping back in to your regular life. I'm at 2 months post-op & am finally feeling like "my old self". I've been functional since surgery but not "my old self" until the last week or so.

Isaiah 40:31

I don't get choking sensation at all, but the feeling of something there in the back corner, exactly as you describe it- dry, sore throat, hurts to touch that area etc. and also the ear pain, and the progression of symptoms- mine have got quite quickly worse over the last 6 months, having had the initial symptoms for 3 years.

I read elsewhere that drinking pineapple juice is supposed to really help with throat mucous- why I don't know, but could be worth a try!

If your ligaments are starting to calcify, then it sounds like ES to me!

As I understand it these symptoms are due to compression of the gloosphyarngeal nerve which is near the styloid. But there can be other causes of it the most common one is a blood vessel that laying on the glossopharyngeal nerve. I havea all of you rsymptoms plus additional ones. I also have teh stretching my mouth open make it feel better. My case is a litle complicated so still deciding what to do. good luck!

Thanks everybody. I just saw this new doctor yesterday (the one I mentioned in my original message). His thoughts were to try a sinus rinse several times a day first to see if that helps the symptoms, then look into getting a PH probe done for acid reflux, and if neither of those things seemed to get me anywhere then to look into the surgery for the calcification. My symptoms seem to be both consistent and not consistent so hopefully I can figure something out soon. I wake up every morning with the feeling that the whole right side of my head is clogged up. Ear fullness, ear pain, lots of mucus only in my right nostril, and sore throat on the right side. Then randomly throughout the day it seems that most of my symptoms will be gone for awhile, only to come back later (mainly after eating with the mucus and foreign body feeling).

Your symptoms are very similar to mine. I was constantly clearing my throat and feeling that I was choking on every little bit of food or drink I consumed. I have had one styloid removed and my symptoms are much improved.
My surgery was done in Columbus Ohio at the Wexner Clinic by Dr. Forrest.
I hope you find some relief!

My symptoms were almost exactly as you describe. I had internal surgery on that side but unfortunately it only gave me minor improvement. Don't let that put you off though as I think the outcome is different for each person depending on exactly what structures are being impinged by the calcification and for how long it has been there. Getting a good surgeon is by far the most controllable factor that will give you the best outcome in my opinion.

aussie77 said:

My symptoms were almost exactly as you describe. I had internal surgery on that side but unfortunately it only gave me minor improvement. Don't let that put you off though as I think the outcome is different for each person depending on exactly what structures are being impinged by the calcification and for how long it has been there. Getting a good surgeon is by far the most controllable factor that will give you the best outcome in my opinion.

Hi Aussie,

I have not had any surgery yet because I have some some complicating factors mine is not straight eagles syndrome I have additional stuff maybe even eagles and something else and hoping for just one surgery to take care of whatever this is if possible. I am wondering if you have checked out glossopharyngeal neuralgia. It is also very rare. It can be caused by eagles syndrome and all these ear and tongue symptoms we have are from glossopharyngeal nerve compression by the styloid And eagles people r more prone to other glossopharyngeal problems like having and artery touching at nerve. some people need the styloid out and the artery problem fixed. For the artery problem they do a microvascular decompression surgery or actually kill off that nerve which u can adjust to. This is not vascular eagles. In vascular eagles the stylloid compresses a blood vessel that is one of my problems. Instead here we we r talking about a nerve touching a nearby blood vessel and that causes the nerve to stay "on" hear it's the glo ssopharyngeal and that causes ear and tongue and throat problems. Although this is rare if this is the problem I would bet u have an easier time finding a surgeon for it in Australia than the eagles surgery as microvascular decompression is done on other nerves too for pain relief. It is done a lot anywhere they treat trigeminal neuralgia. I am getting checked for this also. You need an MRI fiesta scan to look for this. There is a glossopharyngeal neuralgia board on bens friends as well for help. Good luck

I get that 'clogged up' feeling first thing too, and sinus aching as well as earache, not every day, but regularly. I've just steamed my head and that helps a little with clearing it. So a sinus rinse might well help. I know not everything can be explained medically, so docs don't believe that all our symptoms are down to ES, but I'm convinced that there's a whole chain of things happening, all down to that styloid! (Plus I've read on one of the discussions recently someone had lots of mucous/ sinus drainage following styloidectomy, so obviously it helped clear a blockage. Sorry, can't remember whose discussion it was!).

Good luck- sorry to hear that you have to keep going through lots of hoops to rule out everything under the sun first before they'll diagnose what's obvious to us!

Yes When I lay down I can breathe better if I push my bottom jaw outward. I told my ENT and he said no that doesnt make sense. lol

Thanks everybody for the replies. I am still puzzled as to how the calcified ligament could cause the mucus in my throat and nose but maybe some how it stimulates the mucus production when it's irritating the surrounding area... at least that's the only thing I can think of.