Tightness in your throat or chest while exercising is never normal and should be looked upon as the symptom of an underlying health concern. While it is important to know about the conditions that could cause tightness in your throat, don't take any chances with self diagnosis. Let your physician fully assess the problem. Until you know exactly what is causing your discomfort, the best exercise for you is caution.
If you’re over 40, Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease, or GERD, could cause a feeling of tightness or discomfort in your throat and chest. GERD -- commonly known as heartburn -- occurs after eating and exercising when stomach acid backs up into your throat. The condition is caused by a leaky lower esophageal sphincter valve.
You’re twice as likely to have GERD if you also have asthma. Scientists aren't sure why the two medical conditions are related, but theorize that acid reflux damages sensitive throat and airway tissues, or triggers airways to tighten so that acid cannot enter your respiratory tract.
Asthma and Exercise Induced Bronchospasm
You don’t have to suffer from asthma to experience an asthmatic attack after exercise. Although Exercise Induced Bronchospasm, or EIB, is a frequent problem for people with asthma and allergies, anyone can experience chest tightness, wheezing and sore throat after exercising -- especially in cold, dry weather or when pollen and pollution is high. In EIB, your bronchial tubes constrict, reducing the amount of air flowing into and out of your lungs.
Discomfort in your neck or jaw while exercising or stair climbing may be caused by a reduction in blood flow to your heart. Angina is the name for this type of pain and it is symptomatic of coronary heart disease. Because it feels a lot like indigestion, you should call a doctor if you experience chest, back or neck tightness as you exercise -- even if the feeling goes away within a short time after resting.
There are several ways that you can avoid triggering an attack of indigestion, asthma or angina. For example, don't exercise immediately after eating or drinking. Avoid outdoor activities during peak allergy seasons. During the winter, wear a scarf that covers your mouth while exercising. Monitor your blood pressure and always watch your cholesterol and fat intake.
Rae Casto began writing professionally in 1982. She writes on a variety of topics including health, nutrition, art and culture for various websites. Casto holds a Bachelor of Arts in psychology and art from Guilford College and a Master of Public Administration in health administration from the University of North Carolina at Pembroke.