NeuroOptimization Issue of the Day: Why do I get a lump in my throat?

The Puzzling Issue

I was asked recently by a client, why would he occasionally have difficulty swallowing?  It turns out that during stressful times, he would get a lump in his throat.  He wanted to know:

  • What causes this?
  • Is it something to worry about?
  • It’s annoying, how do I stop it from happening?

Brain Basics

  • The swallowing tube, called the esophagus, is made up of muscle.
  • The downstream part, where it attaches to the stomach, is made up of smooth muscle, which works automatically without having to consciously think about it.
  • But the upper part is made of skeletal muscle, which requires on some level for you to think about swallowing.
  • Usually you’re not too aware of having to swallow, but every time you put something to eat in your mouth, you’re making the conscious decision to eventually swallow it.
  • The brain center that controls that awareness is usually working smoothly, on autopilot, so the it doesn’t take up energy.

The Overloaded Brain

  • BUT, when you are stressed out, guess what happens?
  • The frontal lobes, which are the self-aware, planning and executing part of the brain, start to strain under the workload.
  • If you are feeling pressured to do many things at once, your attention becomes divided.
  • Suddenly, the skeletal muscle control centers of the brain, which also live in the frontal lobes, start to get overloaded with activity.
  • This is a problem, because that area of the brain is just as important for the relaxation of muscle as it is for the activation of muscle.

Muscle Tension

  • It turns out that relaxing the muscles actually takes energy.  And you only have so much energy to go around!
  • When the brain is faced with numerous programs all running fast and hard, it takes away from the relaxation of your muscles.
  • So I’m sure you’ve felt the effects of muscle tension when you don’t get enough rest, or after a hard day’s work.
  • Well, it’s the same situation for your swallowing muscles.
  • The lump in the throat is a sign that your brain is over-amped and over-strained.

The Old way of Looking at This

  • So in the old days, Psychiatrists and other docs would refer to this condition as “Globus Hystericus.”
  • This was a somewhat insulting term, as it usually was applied to “hysterical” women.
  • Valium and a martini sure was effective to relax those skeletal muscles.  But this was not very healthy.
  • Probably many men and women have been labeled as anxious or depressed and stigmatized for the presence of “Globus.”

The Modern Perspective

  • Today, the modern Neuroscientist will understand “Globus” differently.
  • It really is a failure of the frontal lobes to allow proper relaxation and coordination of the swallowing muscles.
  • This is called esophageal spasticity and often goes hand in hand with conditions that effect the health and function of the frontal lobes, such as:
    • Sleep apnea.
    • Inflammation of the brain, as with multiple sclerosis or lupus.
    • Degenerative diseases of the brain.
    • Deficiencies of certain vitamins, such as magnesium, vitamin B12 and vitamin D.
    • Traumatic Brain Injury.
    • Chronic sleep deprivation.
    • Chronic overstress.

Copycat and Related Issues

  • Esophageal spasticity can get so bad that it can mimic a heart attack.
  • Some people lose weight because it interferes so much with eating.
  • Other things can cause a sense of fullness in the throat, such as thyroid gland problems and acid reflux.
  • You should see your doctor if this is a persistent problem.

The NeuroEconomy and your Brain Function

  • We have started the transition of social upheaval into the NeuroEconomy.
  • Today, our wealth depends upon how well we think and how well we manipulate the Exocortex, which is all your data you put into the cloud.
  • So many of us have adjusted by using devices, like smart phones, that give us access to our personal cloud-based information.
  • And we become very, very busy just trying to keep up with cultivating our clouds.
  • When the brain is tasked with so many things to do, and it starts to buckle under the strain.
  • Not only do we suffer from muscle spasticity and a lump in the throat, we also get to deal with:
    • Poor sleep.
    • Memory loss and forgetfulness.
    • Irritability and impatience.
    • Loss of focus, which can lead to accidents or lost opportunities.
    • Damaged relationships.
    • Suffering health from deconditioning due to lack of exercise.
    • Burnout.

Solutions – Brain Hacks

1.  The Basics

  • Eat well.  You need to nourish your brain properly.
  • Exercise.  This builds up your brain’s endurance.
  • Sleep.  This allows you to take out the trash and clear the brain’s debris.

2.  Intermediate

  • Meditate.  This also frees up space in the frontal lobes, like hitting the reset button on your computer.  It gives your very delicate brian circuits some time to catch up and rest.
  • Supplements.  Boosting your magnesium and vitamin B12 may give you more reserve.  Omega-3 Fatty Acids and vitamin D may reduce inflammation, allowing the delicate frontal lobes to work more efficiently.
  • Stimulants.  You have to be careful here.  Caffeine and other Adrenaline-releasing stimulants actually can cause more muscle tightness.  Only do this with your doctor on board.

3.  High-level brain hacks.

  • Biofeedback.  Relaxation techniques can be very helpful.  Hemoencephalography and electroencephalography are coming of age.
  • Transcranial magnetic stimulation and direct current stimulation are looking promising.
  • Manipulation of the sleep cycle to make sure that you are asleep in the early morning boosts your growth hormone output, which is rejuvenating.
  • High-level pharmacological stimulants.  These are part of a more strategic NeuroEnhancement program and should really only be handled through conventional medical Neurological channels.

Optimize Your Brain!

  • Annoyances like tight, spastic muscles and a lump in the throat are really a sign that your brain is not working optimally.
  • My purpose on this planet is to help humans achieve their highest potential through NeuroOptimization.
  • I will teach you about your brain function and show you how to push the edges of your abilities to optimize your performance.
  • Neurocoaching is the fastest way to prepare and align yourself with the NeuroEconomy.  Get on board now!

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