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Why Is My Throat Sore When I Swallow?

Andrew Bellingham

Andrew Bellingham

Pharmacist | 20+ Years | BPharm | Dip Clin Pharm

When you swallow with a sore throat, it can sometimes feel like there’s something obstructing your throat or like it’s unusually dry. It might even seem as if there’s a lump you can’t quite clear. 

Though these sensations can be painful and discomforting, they’re usually nothing to worry about and often go away by themselves within a few days.

My Throat Hurts When I Swallow

There could be several reasons why your throat hurts when you swallow:


An infection that causes the tonsils to swell up, usually caused by a viral infection like the common cold or flu. Viral tonsillitis is often less severe than bacterial tonsillitis, doesn’t require antibiotics, and will get better by itself. 

Strep throat: 

Strep throat is a bacterial infection caused by the streptococcus bacteria, it leads to severe inflammation in the back of the throat which makes it difficult to swallow without pain.

Acid reflux (heartburn): 

Acid reflux causes stomach acid to rise into the oesophagus, which irritates the lining of your throat and makes it painful to swallow, and also leads to other symptoms like heartburn. 


Allergies to pollen, dust, pet dander, or certain foods can cause sudden and severe throat irritation and pain when swallowing. If you’re suffering from a severe reaction, you should call 999 immediately


Excessive talking, yelling, or singing can strain the muscles in the throat, leading to soreness, a lost voice and inflammation at the back of the throat that makes it difficult to swallow. 

What Can Help a Sore Throat?

If you’re experiencing pain when swallowing, here are some remedies that can help ease your discomfort:

  • Over-the-counter pain relievers like paracetamol or ibuprofen
  • Throat lozenges or sprays to numb the throat
  • Warm saltwater gargles to reduce inflammation
  • Drinking warm water or herbal teas
  • Humidifiers to add moisture to the air
  • Rest and avoiding irritants like smoking

If you’d like to find out more home remedies you can use to soothe your sore throat, you can visit our blog by clicking

Frequently Asked Questions About Sore Throats

What does it mean if your throat hurts?

If your throat hurts, it could signal an infection like a cold or strep throat, allergies, dry air, acid reflux, or throat strain.

Why does my throat hurt so much?

Throat pain can stem from various causes like infections, allergies, dryness, or vocal strain. Try drinking warm water or herbal teas to soothe the pain. 

Why do I always have a sore throat?

Recurring sore throats could signal underlying problems like allergies, chronic sinusitis, or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Smoking, air pollution, or excessive voice use can also play a part.

Is your throat painful when you swallow?

If you’re currently suffering from a sore throat and experiencing pain when swallowing, you can now have an online consultation with a pharmacist and receive treatment without needing to see your GP. 

For more information on sore throats, and how to book your online consultation, simply click the button below: 

A young man is holding his throat in pain after a cough, he is holding a glass of water.

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What is Pharmacy First?

Pharmacy First is a new NHS-funded scheme that helps you quickly get the advice & treatment you need from a pharmacy, without needing to see a GP.

The conditions covered by Pharmacy First are:

Video consultations & advice are free of charge. If you pay for prescriptions you will be charged the prescription rate of £9.65 per prescription item.