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Managing Throat Pain

There Are Several Potential Causes of Throat Pain

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Updated June 10, 2014

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

Throat Pain Caused By Overusing Your Voice

Misusing your voice can lead to hoarseness and voice loss, which is also referred to as laryngitis. This is a common ailment among individuals who use their voice as part of their profession, such as singers, actors, or teachers. It can also be caused by viral infections or exposure to dust, chemicals or other irritants.

The best remedy for laryngitis is resting your voice by not talking or talking very softly. In the case of chronic laryngitis, it is best to consult your doctor to find the underlying cause of this illness.

Throat Pain Caused By Surgery

If you are given general anesthesia, an endotrachial tube is inserted through the throat and in to the lungs to help you breathe. This can irritate the airway and back of the throat, causing a sore throat for about 24 hours after surgery.

Cough drops or anesthetic throat sprays can be helpful. One study cited licorice root as a means to soothe sore throat related to surgery.

Tonsillectomy is a very common throat pain-causing surgery. After this procedure, your surgeon will probably prescribe you a narcotic pain medication such as hydrocodone or oxycodone to ease your pain. It is also helpful to suck on ice pops and consume cold fluids and foods, such as chilled juice and ice cream.

It is common to have pain and hoarseness after a thyroidectomy, as well. The initial sore throat and hoarseness should subside in a couple of days. Again, your surgeon should prescribe you a narcotic pain medication. The severity and length of pain varies widely between individuals.

Throat Pain Caused By Seasonal Allergies

It is not uncommon to get a sore throat when you are allergic to something outside, such as pollen or grass. The sore throat can be due to irritation caused by the allergen (the thing you are allergic to) or other symptoms, like cough and post nasal drip.

In this case, antihistamines such as Benadryl or Claritin are most beneficial. You may wish to consult an allergist in order to find the cause of the problem, as avoidance is key to successful treatment.

Find an Allergist Near You

Throat Pain Caused By Cancer

While very few cases of sore throat are caused by cancer, it is important to note that sore throat and hoarseness -- as well as difficulty breathing or swallowing -- can be signs of laryngeal cancer.

Sources:

American Academy of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery. Fact Sheet: Common Problems That Can Affect Your Voice. Accessed: September 2, 2009 from http://www.entnet.org/content/common-problems-can-affect-your-voice.

MedlinePlus. Herpangina. Accessed: November 17, 2009 from http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000969.htm

MedlinePlus. Sore Throat. Accessed: November 17, 2009 from http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/sorethroat.html.

National Cancer Institute. What You Need To Know About Cancer of the Larynx. Accessed: July 7, 2009 from http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/wyntk/larynx

The College of Family Physicians of Canada. Sore Throat - Easing the Pain of a Sore Throat. Accessed: November 22, 2009 from http://www.cfpc.ca/uploadedFiles/Resources/Resource_Items/Patients/SoreThroat_EN.pdf.

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