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Re: Throat clicking/GERD/laryngospasm

From: Daphne Townsend
Date: 14 Aug 2004
Time: 20:10:25
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I have seen lots of people talking about this throat-clicking issue, but doctors don't seem to recognize it as a problem.

My theory, backed up by some doctors' replies that I've seen online, is that this clicking (especially when someone wakes up first thing in the morning with it and it doesn't go away) is caused by a nocturnal laryngospasm caused by GERD or by its equally unpleasant sibling, LPR (a form of reflux where instead of lingering in the esophagus the stomach contents head on up into the upper throat and then down the windpipe.) I am not a doctor, but I am a professional voice-user, and I know that I have suffered several laryngospasm episodes over the past few years, one recently coinciding with increasingly painful clicking on swallowing saliva and with some hoarseness while speaking which seems to come from my left vocal cord.

I have been reading articles on spasmodic dysphonia, and it occurred to me that this could be caused by the adductor type of this condition. I also read of a clinical trial ( http://www.clinicaltrials.gov/ct/show/NCT00055549 ) in which dextromethorphan (a common component of over-the-counter cough medicines) was being tried to relieve adductor spasmodic dysphonia.

So on a hunch, I went out and bought some Robitussin DM (it MUST be DM - it has to have guaifenesin and dextromethorphan and NOTHING ELSE - especially no pseudoephedrine) and took the normal dose at the suggested intervals for that day.

Surprisingly, later that day I was doing a Valsalva maneuver to open my eustachean tubes and I felt something go 'plink' in my throat. After that, the hoarseness that I have been having trouble with for months went away. The clicking got worse for about a day, but then I felt a rather large click and since then have felt almost no clicking at all - it's greatly improved. And my voice, about which I'd been very worried, is suddenly much clearer and better projected.

Also on a hunch, having read that it's the hyoid bone clicking against thyroid cartilage that causes this problem, while on the dextromethorphan I stuck my tongue out as far as I could, then moved the muscles of my throat as if I were gagging. This seems to have helped too.

I don't know whether this is a placebo effect or whether I'm on to something, and I definitely don't recommend doing this in lieu of seeing a doctor and getting a real workup (especially for reflux diseases!), but I just wanted to share my experience in hopes that it would help someone else. Good luck!

(Yes, I have an ENT appointment, but they couldn't see me until more than a month from now!)

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