Spasms in your throat may stem from contractions in the neck muscles, but this sensation may also occur from a spasm in your vocal cords. In either case, you may experience discomfort and have difficulty talking or breathing. An occasional episode will not typically indicate a problem, but if you experience recurring throat spasms, you may have an underlying condition such as low magnesium levels. Knowing possible causes and the role of magnesium will help you discuss your condition with your doctor.
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Magnesium plays important roles in many systems of your body, and you need a certain intake each day to maintain the necessary levels. On average, adult males require between 400 mg and 420 mg daily, and women require between 310 mg and 320 mg. Your needs may vary depending on health, pregnancy or lactation.
If you have low magnesium intake over a long period of time, this can result in a deficiency, causing symptoms such as fatigue and weakness. In more serious cases, you could begin to feel tingling sensations or have muscle spasms in locations such as your neck. You could also experience a change in your heart rhythm, spasms in your heart or seizures.
In addition to a magnesium deficiency, throat spasms could result from gastroesophageal reflux disease, also known as GERD. This results when food or stomach acid and bile backs up into the throat. You may have an increased risk for this condition if you are overweight, smoke or drink alcohol. The backflow of stomach acid into the throat may come in contact with the vocal cords, and this may cause the throat spasm, explains Dr. Edward C. Rosenow III.
Eating a diet rich in magnesium will help restore your magnesium levels. You can eat foods such as almonds, milk, spinach and potatoes, all of which provide a good magnesium source. Your doctor may recommend that you take a daily magnesium supplement to ensure that you have the appropriate intake to reduce your deficiency symptoms and prevent complications. Initially, your doctor may recommend that you take more than the daily recommendations to help boost your body’s magnesium content, and as your blood magnesium levels reach normal, your doctor will have you reduce your intake.
If GERD caused your throat spasms, you may need to avoid foods that trigger your condition. These typically include spicy foods, citrus, caffeine and tomatoes. Your doctor may also recommend medications to help keep your symptoms under control. In severe cases that do not respond to dietary changes, your doctor may recommend a surgical procedure to prevent reflux.
Inform your doctor if you have frequent or recurring spasms in your throat. You should not wait to tell your doctor since prompt treatment of medical conditions could prevent complications. She will perform blood work and other tests to help determine the cause, but, in some cases, she may not know the cause for your condition.
Do not begin taking magnesium supplements without first consulting your doctor since high, unnecessary intakes could result in side effects or interfere with medical conditions.