Throat pain / foreign body sensation in the upper anterior neck/throat for 18 months

Hi everyone. I have been dealing with a strange pain in the throat for the last 18 months. My symptoms are mainly pain in the front of the throat that comes and goes for days to weeks at a time. The pain can be described as a poking pain that hurts a lot in the area between the Adam’s apple and the hyoid bone, near the vertical center of the throat but on either the left or right sides. At all times, it feels as if my throat is extremely tight and someone is putting pressure on my throat. Most of the time, it feels like a horizontal fish bone laying in my throat. When I begin the “swallowing” motion, it feels like something is moving slightly upwards in my throat.

When I wake up, it is guaranteed to be relatively painless but it feels like something is stuck there. Swallowing more throughout the day seems to make the problem worse, but is not the cause of the pain.

Swollen lymph nodes and pressing externally on the area seems to make the pain a lot worse. Flare ups come when I get canker sores, when I drink or eat something acidic, and when I get sick and lymph nodes swell. Sometimes it is painless and I only feel a painless foreign body.

When all of this started, I had two horrible canker sores (and presumably swollen lymph nodes to match). I thought I had swallowed a fish bone, and had an upper endoscopy done and two laryngoscopies done to find a foreign body but everything came up clear.

Has anyone had these symptoms? Currently I am suspecting hyoid bone syndrome, Eagle’s syndrome, tendonitis, severe GERD/LPR, and/or undiagnosed foreign body. Planning to get a CT scan without contrast soon.

If anyone has any comments to add please feel free to, I’m lost as to what this could be. :frowning:

If you have a recent or not very recent panoramic x-ray from your dentist, post it here! It might hold some clues


@patstricks - Your symptoms sound like they align w/ those of ES or hyoid bone syndrome. ES symptoms are notorious for being inconsistent i.e. coming & going, being severe then tolerable or disappearing & reappearing days later. Some symptoms can remain constant as you’ve noted w/ the foreign body sensation.

Below are a couple of links to posts that will help educate you regarding the symptoms ES can cause. Your plan to get a CT scan (of the area from skull base to hyoid bone) is perfect. Ask if you can get some 3D images along w/ your CT slices as that will help you better see what’s going on in your neck as well.


The symptoms sound loke they could be ES or from the hyoid as @Isaiah_40_31 says; we have had members with similar symptoms whose stylo-hyoid ligaments have calcified from the hyoid up which have caused similar symptoms as well. (That’s more uncommon, usually the stylo-hyoid ligaments calcify from the styloid down)
Swollen lymph nodes can be common, & lots of members have tried Gerd symptoms too. The feeling of something stuck in the throat is a classic & the most well-known symptom of ES. You can search the site for any symptoms & will probably find plenty of discussions mentioning them!
Good that you’re getting a CT; make sure it’s requested that it’s evaluated for ES, & covers the base of the skull down to the hyoid bone. If you can get a copy of the scan that would be good for your records. Let us know how you get on, & you can always post your scan pics on here for an amateur opinion!


@Jules @Isaiah_40_31 @vdm Thank you all so much taking the time to read and respond. I’ll try to get the CT scan and will definitely update this post when more info is uncovered.


Just wanna keep this post updated and detailed: NO CT YET, but symptom wise, recently I have been feeling more strange sensations to the sides of the neck, about 1 inch under the jaw. Most of the symptoms are still near the center but I do feel twinges of movement and a bit of sharp poking more towards the jaw and the sides of the neck. Symptoms are also becoming more apparent when sleeping at night and lying to the sides.

Few questions if anyone has time to answer:

  • can stress make ES/HBS worse
  • could inflammation or tendonitis cause the same symptoms?
  • is ES/HBS dangerous on its own (considering the proximity of essential arteries ??)

Hello and welcome, friend!

I can relate to some of your symptoms and, regarding your questions:

  1. Stress makes everything worse, no exceptions.

  2. Inflammation can cause some of these symptoms, as the tissues get really sensitive and hurt, but the feeling of something moving along, I don’t think so. As for tendonitis, can’t tell.

  3. If the sharp bones hit or stay near some principal veins or arteries, specially the carotid, it can be dangerous as you can make some neck movements that can make the bone poke them. Sometimes the bones presses them and make the blood flow change, causing lots of symptoms too (search for vascular eagle in the forum).

Wish you well.


I agree with @caiocarv that stress makes things worse- in addition to tense muscles which can trap nerves & cause pain, especially noticeable with areas like the neck & shoulders, chronic stress can cause hormonal imbalances, affects organ systems, affects the immune system, & the inflammatory response can exacerbate pre-existing medical conditions.
In the Newbies Guide Section there’s a list of other conditions with similar conditions;
ES Information: What Else Could It Be? - Welcome / Newbies Guide to Eagle Syndrome - Living with Eagle
For example one condition which has come up quite often is Ernest Syndrome, which is an injury to the stylomandibular ligament.
As @caiocarv says, the styloids or calcified ligaments can sometimes compress the blood vessels in the neck, this causes different symptoms which you can find in the Newbies Guide Section in the links @Isaiah_40_31 posted above. Obviously this is not ideal & can pose risks, this can be seen from a CT with contrast, especially if the CT’s done in a head position which causes symptoms.


I had ES for 8 years before I had surgeries. I had some pain but I could deal with it. After spine surgery and 3 new discs, everything got worse with my ES. The doctors think it changed the direction of the styloid bones. Before the spine surgery, I could not sleep on my left side because it felt like my throat was closing up and was so tight. After the spine surgery I could not bend over and breathe, my carotid was pressed. I was dizzy, pulsative tinnitus, losing my vision after bending over, coughing and clearing throat constantly, poking in neck, foreign object in throat, pain when coughing or sneezing, weak voice and voice would stop working, and etc.
I finally found a head and neck cancer ENT that would remove the styloids. I had one in May removed (8.2 cm) and 9 weeks later the other side (6 cm), this past Aug. So many things have improved. I am still having a little problem not breathing for a long period of time when bending down, but SOOOOOO much better. No more poking in neck and most pains gone.
I had ENTs tell me, “this is too rare, so you don’t have ES”, “I don’t know what that is”, I know 90% that the pains are not from ES". It is such an uphill battle.
Get a CT, find a good doctor that will try to help and they know what ES is (they are hard to find because not everyone knows what this is and don’t believe the symptoms), and good luck to you on this long journey.


I am SO glad you are in such a much better place! I’m sorry for all the battles you have been through but it sounds like you are winning the race now. I appreciate you sharing your story with us. I wish you nothing but the best in recovery and health going forward.