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What Is Throat Pain ?

What Is Throat Pain ?

Throat pain is a common problem that most individuals will experience from time to time. In most cases, it is caused by the mild viruses that cause common ailments such as the common cold or the flu. In these cases, throat pain will usually subside on its own without medical treatment. Sometimes, however, throat pain may occur as the result of something more serious. Whether it is felt in the form of a general sore throat or specific pain to a structure within the throat such as the tonsils or voice box, chronic or severe throat pain may be a sign of a more significant underlying problem and should be evaluated by a medical professional.

Causes of Throat Pain

There are numerous disorders and infectious diseases that can cause pain in the throat. While viral infections are the most common, bacterial infections like strep throat also occur relatively frequently. Inflammation is a common source of throat pain that develops as the result of bacterial and viral infections. Other possible causes of throat pain include tonsillitis, pharyngitis, and throat cancer. Patients may also feel pain in the throat as the result of allergies, vomiting, gastric reflux (GERD), or excessive voice straining. When your throat pain does not improve within a few days or is accompanied by other symptoms such as a fever, swelling of the tongue, or difficulty breathing, patients should seek prompt medical attention.

Diagnosing Throat Pain

When evaluating a case of throat pain, doctors usually begin by obtaining the patient's complete medical history including a history of the symptom. He or she may ask when the pain started, how severe it is, and where precisely it is located. The doctor may also ask about anything that seems to improve or worsen the condition. A physical examination is performed and includes looking in the throat and nasal passages using a lighted device. The doctor will also feel the glands in the neck to check for swelling that can serve as a sign of infection. When an exact cause cannot be determined, additional testing such as blood tests or allergy testing may be required.

Treatment Of Throat Pain Options

The treatment for throat pain varies depending upon the cause. Bacterial infections usually need to be treated with antibiotics while viral infections tend to clear up on their own. Patients may need to take other medications for certain problems. When smoking or exposure to certain irritants causes throat pain, lifestyle changes may be required to alleviate symptoms.

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