Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors

"What is the lump in the back of my throat?"

ZocdocAnswersWhat is the lump in the back of my throat?


Today I woke up and there was a lump in the back of my throat. It kind of feels like it is moving down my throat and it hurts when I swallow and even when I burp. What is going on here? Do I have the start of tonsillitis or something?


A feeling of a lump in the throat together with throat pain is usually the start of a throat infection. Typically these minimal throat symptoms worsen over a period of two or three day, and there may be the development of other symptoms, such as cough, runny nose, or congestion. Most throat infections are caused by viruses and are not very serious. They tend to run their course over a week or so and do not generally require medications to clear up. However, there is always the concern that the throat infection may be due to strep throat. Typically with strep throat, there is more throat pain and less congestion or cold symptoms than with viral infections. The distinction is important to make, because strep throat infections require treatment with prescription antibiotics, whereas viral infections do not. I would suggest that you see your primary care doctor, especially if symptoms are persistent or worsening. They will be able to examine your throat and help determine if there is a chance that you might have strep throat. Sometimes, if there is doubt, they may perform a throat culture. Based on these results they will help you determine whether or not you need to take antibiotics.

Zocdoc Answers is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.