Throat Pain When Exercising

You may have prepared yourself for the blood, sweat and tears you experience from exercise. You accept minor aches and pains in your muscles as part of the process. What may be surprising you, however is pain in your throat after exercising. This is not uncommon, though, especially for people with asthma.

Exercise Induced Bronchospasm

Exercise induced bronchospasm is an obstruction of transient airflow that usually occurs five to 15 minutes after physical exertion. It is caused by loss of water or heat or both stemming from hyperventilation. Rapid breathing causes your air tubes to dry out, which causes them to become irritated. This causes them to tighten and get smaller, which is called bronchoconstriction. Along with pain your throat you may also experience wheezing, coughing, shortness of breath, and chest pain from EIB.


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You can prevent EIB by warming up at least 15 minutes before any exercise. Also, avoid exercises in climates that are too cold and dry -- wrap a scarf over your mouth and nose if you must work out in the dry cold of a winter's day. Work out in environments that are warm and even humid if possible. Gradually decrease the intensity of your exercise and cool down before stopping exercise altogether.


Usually EIB is treated with inhaled medication prescribed by a doctor. Your doctor can prescribe a short-acting bronchodilator to be taken 15 minutes before exercise which will last four to six hours or a long-acting bronchodilator to be taken 30 minutes before exercise, lasting up to 12 hours.

They may also prescribe a mast cell stabilizer, taken 15 minutes to an hour before exercise, lasting about four hours or an anti-leukotriene. Anti-leukotrienne is taken every day and lasts 24 hours. Always follow your doctor's instructions carefully.


Other Diagnoses

If your doctor does not diagnose you with EIB, you may have vocal cord dysfunction and glottic dysfunction. Pay attention to when you feel the pain in your throat. It may be that you only experience throat pain after exercise when you are sick due to a post nasal drip.

Or it may be the time of the year you have allergies, which can tighten your airways even without exercise. If you're unsure, talk to your doctor and avoid exercise with a sore throat in the meantime.




Is this an emergency? If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, please see the National Library of Medicine’s list of signs you need emergency medical attention or call 911.