Painful Swallowing (Odynophagia)

What is odynophagia?

Odynophagia is also known as painful swallowing, which may be felt high in the neck or lower down behind the breastbone. Usually it is a strong feeling of uncomfortable squeezing or burning, and requires urgent care.

What causes odynophagia?

Swallowing is a complex act that involves the mouth, throat area, and esophagus. While much of swallowing is involuntary, there are many nerves and muscles that control how these parts of your body works.

Swallowing problems may be due to several problems including:

  • Problems with Infections
    • Gum disease such as gingivitis
    • Sore throat
    • Thrush (infection of the mouth)
    • Herpes simplex virus
  • Problems with the Esophagus
    • Inflammation of the esophagus
    • Gastroesophageal reflux disease
    • Ulcer in the esophagus
    • Esophageal spasms
  • Other Problems
    • Mouth or throat ulcers
    • Tooth infection or abscess
    • Something stuck in the throat

When should I see a health care provider for odynophagia?

Seek immediate medical attention if you have painful swallowing along with any of these symptoms:

  • Weight loss
  • Blood in your stools or if your stool appears black or tarry
  • Shortness of breath or wheezing
  • Lightheadedness
  • Abdominal pain
  • Cough
  • Chills
  • Fever
  • Heartburn
  • Nausea or vomiting

Come into your nearest Healthpointe location today to receive immediate medical attention for your odynophagia symptoms.

About Healthpointe:

Healthpointe is a leading multidisciplinary healthcare organization offering a full range of medical services in practice locations throughout Southern California (Los Angeles County, Orange County, San Bernardino County, and Riverside County). Healthpointe has locations situated in over 10 cities in Southern California including La Mirada by Whittier, La Habra, Norwalk, Cerritos, Buena Park, and Santa Fe Springs. As a highly regarded musculoskeletal group, we have a personal investment in the highest level of service, and we are proud of our record of excellence over the last four decades with private patients, injured workers, personal injuries, and professional and non-professional athletes. Leading our organization is a dynamic team of healthcare professionals who continually strive to be at the forefront of medical innovation and healthcare service delivery. For more information, a complete list of services, and Healthpointe locations, visit

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