The exact cause of a feeling of a lump in the throat, or globus sensation is basically unknown. Some specialists believe that it is due to a problem with the coordination of the muscles involved in swallowing. Many muscles are involved in swallowing and they need to tense and relax in the correct sequence for swallowing to occur normally. In someone with globus sensation, when they try to swallow saliva, some of the swallowing muscles may not relax fully and so there is a sensation of a lump in the throat. It is thought that reflux of acid from the stomach affects the relaxation of the muscles around the throat. In many people, stress can trigger globus sensation or make the symptoms worse.
Excessive mucus running from the nose down into the back of the throat (known as postnasal drip) may also make the symptoms of globus sensation worse.
Sometimes it can be very difficult to tell the difference between globus sensation and dysphagia. Unlike someone with dysphagia, someone with globus sensation does not usually have any problems eating or drinking. Also, dysphagia can be constant and may become gradually worse over time, whereas globus sensation symptoms tend to come and go.