[Skip to Navigation]
August 1959

The Clinical Significance of a Lump in the Throat

AMA Arch Otolaryngol. 1959;70(2):157-165. doi:10.1001/archotol.1959.00730040163002

At the present time there is a tendency on the part of laryngologists in general to consider any complaint of a lump in the throat by a patient to be functional in origin. The very term globus hystericus itself suggests an anxiety state. According to Weiss and English,1 "The hysterical symptom of swallowing over a lump is one of the most widely recognized indications of nervous illness." Jacobson2 demonstrated with x-ray studies that the sensation of a lump is produced by an esophageal spasm, This spasm, which is the motor expression of an underlying emotional disturbance, may also cause gagging and choking.

Since the war, unsettled world conditions are undoubtedly reflected on individual persons, and more patients seek advice for indefinite aches and pains than ever before. The growing tensions of every day living are often shown, in our field, by abnormal sensations in the pharynx, such as