Is it painful to swallow food or even water? This is a common problem and people of all ages can experience it.
You may feel the pain high in your neck or lower down behind your breastbone. The pain often feels like a strong sensation of squeezing or burning. The pain is most often triggered or worsened by eating certain foods.
Some of the most common causes of painful swallowing include the common cold, the flu, a chronic throat infection, acid reflux and tonsillitis.
Other causes may include swollen lymph nodes in the neck, some kind of throat injury, an ear infection, swallowing large pills and improper swallowing of food with rough edges, such as chips or crackers.
When it comes to treating pain when swallowing, it is important to determine the cause of the problem. This will allow you to deal with the root cause and soon the pain will be gone.
In the meantime, you can try some simple yet effective home remedies to reduce the pain.
Caution: It is important to consult a doctor if the pain is chronic, severe or interferes with eating, drinking or breathing. This may be an indication of a more serious condition.
Here are the top 10 home remedies to deal with pain when swallowing.
1. Salt Water
The best home remedy to reduce pain when swallowing is gargling with warm salt water. The warm water will have a soothing effect on the throat, and the salt will help kill any virus or bacteria that may be causing a throat infection.
Plus, the salt helps reduce swelling and inflammation in the lymph nodes in the neck.
A 2011 study published in the Journal of Family Practice found that doctors in clinical settings still recommend salt water gargles for throat pain .
- Mix ¼ teaspoon of salt into 1 cup of warm water.
- Gargle with this solution, but do not swallow it.
- Do this a couple of times daily for about 1 week.
2. Apple Cider Vinegar
Whether it is acid reflux, tonsillitis, or a sore throat that is causing the pain you’re having when swallowing, apple cider vinegar is a very effective home remedy.
Apple cider vinegar has natural antimicrobial effects in fighting infections. Because of its acidic nature, it also helps break down mucus in the throat and stop bacteria from spreading.
If you’re dealing with acid reflux, it helps balance acid production in the stomach, which in turn prevents acid reflux.
- Mix 1 to 2 tablespoons of raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar into 1 cup of water and gargle with it. Do this 3 or 4 times a day.
- Also, add 1 teaspoon of raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar and 1 teaspoon of raw honey to a cup of warm water. Drink it slowly. Do this 2 or 3 times a day.
3. Warm Turmeric Milk
Drinking warm turmeric milk can help bring down the swelling of enlarged lymph nodes as well as help treat strep throat and the common cold.
Plus, it has anti-inflammatory as well as analgesic properties that help reduce swelling and pain.
It can also fight infections and boost immunity.
- Mix 1 teaspoon of turmeric powder and a pinch of ground black pepper into a glass of warm milk.
- Optionally, add a little honey.
- Drink it twice daily to speed up the healing process.
4. Lemon and Honey
When it comes to strep throat, the common cold, or tonsillitis causing pain when swallowing, the combination of lemon and honey works well.
The vitamin C in lemon helps combat the growth of bacteria that cause strep throat as well promotes overall health. Honey keeps the throat well-moisturized and relieves soreness and inflammation.
- Mix 1 tablespoon each of honey and lemon juice into a cup of lukewarm water.
- Sip the mixture slowly.
- Drink this as often as needed for several days.
5. Marshmallow Root
Marshmallow root can help with inflammation in the throat related to tonsillitis or strep throat. When mixed with water, it forms a gel-like substance that coats the throat and can reduce the pain.
In addition, it helps deal with acid reflux, thanks to its demulcent and anti-inflammatory properties.
- Add 1 tablespoon of dried marshmallow root to 1½ cup of boiling water.
- Cover and allow it to simmer for 20 minutes.
- Strain the solution, add some honey and drink it.
- You can have 3 cups of this herbal tea a day.
Caution: Marshmallow root is not recommended for pregnant or nursing women, or people who are diabetic.
6. Slippery Elm
Slippery elm contains mucilage, a gel-like substance that can ease soreness, inflammation, and pain in the throat. In fact, slippery elm is a traditional remedy for a sore throat.
Due to its mucilage content, slippery elm is also useful for easing heartburn and acid reflux.
- Add 1 teaspoon of the inner bark of slippery elm to 2 cups of boiling water.
- Cover and allow it to simmer for 5 minutes.
- Strain, add a little honey and drink it slowly while it is still warm.
- Drink it 2 or 3 times a day.
You may also try slippery elm lozenges.