Chief Medical Director at SANESolution | Website

Dr. Matthew Olesiak continues to make a significant impact in the medical field through his work at SANESolution and his dedication to evidence-based practices.

Yawning Throat Pain: 8 Causes, Symptoms, and Home Remedies

If you’ve been experiencing yawning throat pain and are worried that it could signal a severe condition, we’re here to help.

Many instances of throat pain while yawning are not typically a cause for concern. They may be attributed to common illnesses like the flu or a cold. However, it is essential to note that the pain while yawning could be a potential symptom of life-threatening conditions such as throat cancer or epiglottitis in extremely rare cases.

Yawning Throat Pain Solutions

This throat cleaner and throat cleaners blog post delves into the causes, symptoms, and effective home remedies for throat pain when you yawn. If you need more information on other kinds of throat cleaners, check out our Breathing in Danger and How to maintain optimal throat health guides!

Short Summary

  • Yawning does not cause throat pain but can intensify existing pain from an underlying health condition.
  • Throat pain while yawning is usually not a serious issue, as cold viruses typically cause it. However, in rare cases, a sore throat can be a symptom of a potentially fatal illness, such as throat cancer.
  • Treatments for sore throat while yawning depend upon the underlying cause. But home remedies like drinking hot or cold fluids and sucking on medicated lozenges that contain zinc can help soothe the pain.

Does yawning cause throat pain?

No. Yawning does not cause throat pain but can worsen existing pain from an underlying condition.

What does yawning throat pain feel like?

The type of throat pain experienced while yawning can vary based on the underlying cause. If the reason is an injury, the pain may feel sharp and be localized in a particular area. On the other hand, infections can result in a scratchy or itchy feeling on both sides of the throat.

Is throat pain while yawning serious?

Throat pain while yawning is usually not a concern. It may signal inflammation caused by viral infections like the flu or cold or bacterial infections like strep throat.

However, it is important to note that the pain while yawning could be a potential symptom of a life-threatening condition in extremely rare cases.

An image of a woman ill with a viral throat infections putting a medicated lozenge in her mouth.

What causes throat pain while yawning?

Throat pain while yawning can be caused by various conditions, which we will discuss in the following subheadings.

Viral Throat Infections

A viral throat infection is caused by a virus and affects the throat or pharynx. It’s the most common cause of sore throats and colds in children and adults, often involving the voice.

Common viral infections included upper respiratory infections, such as the common cold and influenza (the flu). Other viral infections include the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) or cytomegalovirus (CMV), which can cause infectious mononucleosis or “mono.”

Symptoms of Viral Throat Infections

Below are the main symptoms of a viral throat infection:

  • Sore throat: As noted above, the most common symptom of a viral throat infection is a gradually developing sore throat that lasts for two to seven days. If the sore throat comes on suddenly, it may indicate a bacterial infection.
  • Fever: Some people with a viral throat infection may have a low-grade fever. However, the fever may be high if the infection is caused by Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) or cytomegalovirus (CMV).
  • Fatigue: Viral throat infections caused by CMV or EBV can cause severe fatigue that lasts for weeks.
  • Other symptoms: If a respiratory virus causes your viral throat infection, you may also experience congestion, runny nose, cough, pink eye, or rash.

Bacterial Throat Infections

Several bacterial infections can also cause a sore throat. These infections include the following:

An graphical image of a smiley face with green bacteria in its throat.

  • Strep throat, caused by the streptococcus bacteria, which can spread through the air via droplets, such as when someone coughs, or through contact with surfaces that an infected person has touched. This infection is highly contagious.
  • Bacterial Bronchitis, an inflammation of the bronchial tubes that transport air to and from the lungs. Bacterial bronchitis is a type that causes the lining of these tubes to become inflamed. It often results in the coughing up thickened mucus that may be discolored. Acute bronchitis is a common condition that typically develops after a respiratory infection.
  • Bacterial sinusitis. Sinusitis, commonly referred to as a sinus infection, is the inflammation or swelling of the tissues that line the sinuses in your face. The sinuses are typically filled with air, but bacterial infections can cause irritation and blockage, leading to the accumulation of fluid.

Symptoms of Bacterial Throat Infections

Symptoms of a bacterial throat infection can include:

  • A sore throat
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Fever
  • Stiff neck
  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Reddened tonsils
  • White spots on the back of the throat

You should immediately seek medical attention if you experience extreme trouble swallowing, high fever, trouble breathing, or a stiff neck.

An image of swollen tonsils with pus.


Tonsillitis is an infection and inflammation of the tonsils, two pads of tissue located at the back of the throat, one on each side. The swollen tonsils that occur with this condition can make swallowing food and water or yawning painful.

Viral infections most commonly cause tonsillitis, but bacteria can also cause it.

Symptoms of Tonsillitis

Symptoms of tonsillitis include:

  • A sore throat
  • Swollen, painful tonsils
  • White or yellow areas on the tonsils
  • Painful swallowing
  • Fever
  • Stiff neck
  • A scratchy voice
  • Headache

Injury to the Throat

Swallowing sharp foods like chips or crackers can cause throat tissue damage, resulting in pain while yawning or swallowing due to irritation from food particles and saliva on the sore area.

Oral Thrush

Oral thrush is a condition that is caused by a yeast overgrowth in your mouth. If you notice white or yellow patches in your mouth or experience a cotton-like sensation, you may be experiencing this condition. In addition to these symptoms, oral thrush can also cause a loss of taste.

While rare, you can also develop esophageal thrush in your throat, which can cause pain when swallowing or yawning.

It’s important to note that people with compromised immune systems, such as those undergoing cancer treatment or living with HIV, are at higher risk for developing thrush. If you take antibiotics, you should know that this can increase your risk of developing esophageal thrush.

Throat Irritants

Certain irritants that contact the throat are a common source of throat pain, which may be intensified when yawning.

Irritating factors that can lead to a sore throat include:

  • Smog
  • Cigarette smoke
  • Swallowing hot foods or liquids
  • Chemicals
  • Dry or hot air

Serious Causes of Throat Pain When Yawning

A sore throat can be a symptom of a serious condition, including the following:


Epiglottitis is a serious medical condition that occurs when the epiglottis, a small cartilage “lid” covering the windpipe, becomes swollen. This swelling can hurt your throat, obstruct airflow into the lungs, and even be fatal.

Various factors can lead to epiglottis swelling, such as infections, acid reflux, burns from hot liquids, and injuries to the throat.

Common symptoms include difficulty in swallowing, drooling, and sometimes anxiety. Yawning with epiglottitis may lead to further throat irritation and discomfort.

Throat Cancer

If you have a tumor in your throat, you may experience a painful throat when yawning and swallowing, as well as persistent throat pain, swollen lymph nodes, vocal hoarseness, and chronic cough.

It’s essential to remember that other non-cancerous conditions can also cause these symptoms.

Treatment Options for Throat Pain While Yawning

Treatment will depend upon the underlying cause of the throat pain. Visit an ENT specialist for the identification of the cause of your throat pain and to explore possible treatment options, which may include:

  • Antibiotics for a bacterial infection
  • Antifungal medication for oral thrush
  • Antacids, H2 Receptor Blockers, or Proton Pump Inhibitors to neutralize or reduce stomach acid production for throat pain caused by acid reflux, i.e., Epiglottitis, Esophagitis

Home Remedies to Ease Your Sore Throat Pain

DIY treatments to relieve pain in the throat include the following:

  • Sucking on medicated lozenges that contain zinc
  • Gargling with warm salt water
  • Drinking hot or cold fluids
  • Using a humidifier to add moisture to the air and relieve a dry throat
  • Resting your throat
  • Adding slippery elm powder to your tea
  • Taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen, to reduce throat inflammation.


It’s common to experience throat pain when yawning, talking, or swallowing food and water. This discomfort is usually caused by mild conditions such as the common cold.

However, in rare cases, it could be a sign of something more severe, like epiglottis or throat cancer, which requires immediate medical attention.

You can try simple home remedies for mild cases, but if the pain persists, it’s best to seek medical care.

Frequently Asked Questions

What does it mean if my throat hurts when I yawn?

Yawning itself does not cause throat pain. Instead, it exacerbates the pain that is already there. Viral infections, such as the common cold, cause most sore throats. However, you should see a doctor if your throat pain persists for a few days for diagnosis.

Why does my neck throat cramp when I yawn?

If you feel cramps in your neck while yawning, it could be due to neck spasms. These spasms cause involuntary contractions that tighten and strain the muscles in your neck, resulting in discomfort. Neck spasms are frequently caused by stress, sleeping in awkward positions, and poor posture.

Why does my throat hurt when I yawn but not when I swallow?

When you have a sore throat, yawning can cause pain as air and saliva come into contact with inflamed areas. In this instance, your throat wouldn’t necessarily hurt when you swallow.

Chief Medical Director at SANESolution | Website

Dr. Matthew Olesiak continues to make a significant impact in the medical field through his work at SANESolution and his dedication to evidence-based practices.