Tightness in the throat is a common symptom for many people and can cause the feeling of a lump in the throat, difficulties speaking clearly or even sickness. The most common cause is a build-up of stress and anxiety throughout the body, but by following a program of easy exercises to reduce tension in the neck, shoulders and face, many of the unpleasant symptoms can be reduced or alleviated.
Sit in a comfortable chair or stand with a straight back. Place the palms of your open hands on your stomach, so that the fingertips are just touching. Breathe in deeply through your mouth and push your stomach out as you are doing so. Your fingertips should separate. Be careful not to raise your shoulders. Slowly breathe out through your nose and draw in your stomach muscles. Your fingertips should now touch again. Repeat five times.
Breathe in slowly, while counting silently to a count of four. Hold your breath for a further count of four and slowly exhale for a final count of four. Repeat and, gradually over a period of time, extend the count to 10 if possible.
Breathe in deeply then slowly exhale while making a long "s" sound. Make the sound for as long as possible. Time yourself using a stopwatch and try to extend the exhalation over a period of time.
Shrug your shoulders up to your ears, then push them down as far as they will go. Relax for a few seconds and then repeat five times.
Hold your arms out in front of you and imagine you are trying to push something away. Maintain this position for a few seconds, then let your arms fall quickly to your sides. Relax for a few seconds and repeat twice more.
Make a large circle in the air using one shoulder. Try to make the circles as large and as smooth as possible. Repeat ten times then continue with the other shoulder.
Let your head fall onto your chest then lift it slowly into its normal position. Repeat five times.
Keep your chin horizontal and slowly move your head from side to side, as far as possible. Repeat five times on each side.
Let your head fall onto your chest. Roll it slowly and smoothly in a large circular movement, first to one shoulder and then the other. Repeat five times each side.
Find the hollow that is made by the jaw joint, just in front of your ears. Massage gently in small circular movements, about the size of a penny. Open and close your mouth wide as you massage the joint. Repeat five times.
Raise your eyebrows as far as possible, hold for a few seconds and then relax. Repeat five times.
Frown as hard as possible, hold and then relax. Repeat five times.
Bite your teeth together and feel the tension. Hold for a few seconds and then relax. Repeat five times.
Push your tongue hard against the roof of your mouth, feel the tension for a few seconds then relax. Repeat five times.
If you are concerned about your throat, voice or have any illness, always consult your health care professional or Speech-Language Pathologist.