Something in my neck is popping out of place

Posted by devonmwhite @devonmwhite, Sep 13 3:16pm

Hello all,

Over the past, i’d say 4 years i’ve had a very odd thing happen in my neck and it happens when I swallow or move my neck (no specific way). It doesn’t happen often, it could be 3 times a week or once in 3 months. Basically there is something that feels like a tube popping out of place and i have to use my hand to push it back in place. It’s like something is bending. It sounds really odd but it’s really really painful and when it happens a panic feels my body and i have to push it back in right away. It happens just under my left jaw and a bit over from my adam’s apple, sort of where you would check your pulse. I can’t find anything on the internet about this and haven’t decided to go to the doctor because it’s something that happens randomly.

If anyone knows anything on this, that would be great!!

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@devonmwhite Hi Devon. This is Jennifer. I am a cervical spine surgery patient, and my dad had some issues with swallowing. Can you tell me more about how this condition started for you? Did you have an injury that may have caused it? Swallowing is a very complex sequence of events that must happen with precision. It sounds like you are describing the cartilage structures in your throat called the larynx. There are also some bones that run crossways through the throat called the hyoid bones and they can become displaced.

You may want to consult your doctor or possibly a physical therapist. My physical therapist has said to be very careful and not press on anything in the throat when I get tightness in my neck because you don't want to damage something. They can order a swallowing study to see if you are doing that properly. If not, you could be as risk of aspiration or swallowing food or liquid into your lungs which can be very serious for anyone who does not have adequate gag reflexes to stop it. I know my gag reflex seems a bit weaker since my spine surgery because the surgical path was from the front side of my neck, and during the procedure, my trachea and throat was retracted and moved to the side so the surgeon could access my spine behind it. It causes a bad sore throat for a while, and a possible complication of this surgery is dysphagia or the inability to swallow properly. I have to be more careful and not do dumb stuff like drink the last bit of a soda from a can by tilting my head backward. That opens up the pathway to the lungs and I've choked trying to do that. I was a lifeguard, and this is the first thing you do to position a person's head when you need to do CPR.

My dad had a lot of trouble with swallowing because of a head injury when he was in his 60's, and he had to relearn how to do it with a therapist. The swallowing problems returned when he was in his 80's. He was a heart patient, and this did contribute to his death because of aspiration. That was a while ago, and I am OK to talk about it. I'm mentioning it because aspiration is serious particularly for an older person. It leads to aspiration pneumonia or can lead to a fatality when suddenly lung air volume is lost, and the heart tries to compensate. My dad had end stage heart failure and was even aspirating his own saliva. This is what you want to prevent, and to find out if this could be a risk for you. A speech therapist is usually involved in the studies and therapy involving swallowing.

Do you have a physician that you can discuss this with? You have to be proactive about these discussions because you doctor will not know about this unless you ask. Can you tell me more about how this condition started for you? Did you have an injury that may have caused it?

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