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May 29, 2013

How Does Neuropathy Lead to Lump in Throat or Phlegmy Throat Sensation?

To preface, have you ever been to the dentist and received a novacaine injection prior to a dental procedure? Did you notice that where the injection is performed, it feels as if the area feels really swollen and also you feel like you are drooling... but than when you look in the mirror, there's no drooling and there's no swelling either?

In this dental situation where novacaine got injected leading to a temporary induced neuropathy...  a similar phenomenon can also occur in the throat region due to neuropathy most commonly triggered by a virus or throat-level reflux (LPR). This condition is called laryngeal sensory neuropathy (LSN).

And because the neuropathy occurs in the throat region... a sensation of swollen or lump feeling in the throat (globus) may occur just like the sensation in the face/jaw after getting numbed up for a dental procedure.

Similarly, a mucus phlegmy throat sensation may also occur just like a drooling sensation of the face/jaw after being injected with novacaine.

Such a swollen throat or phlegmy throat sensation can also be temporarily induced in normal patients when the throat gets numbed up with lidocaine or other anesthetic for a surgical procedure.

How is this condition treated?

First and foremost, other non-neurologic etiologies must first be ruled out with medications and extensive testing. Also, triggers that may have led to this neuropathy must be thoroughly addressed as well. Such testing may include allergy testing, specific food avoidance, 24 hour multichannel pH impedance, manometry, etc, etc.

SELSAP is a promising test to evaluate for laryngeal sensory neuropathy.

Once laryngeal sensory neuropathy is confirmed, medications like amitriptyline, neurontin, and tramadol can be tried.

For more information, click here for globus and here for phlegmy throat.

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