Symptoms of odynophagia include chest pain, upper chest pressure, heaviness in the neck and a sensation of food sticking in the throat, according to MedlinePlus. Other symptoms may occur along with odynophagia and include cough, wheezing, abdominal pain and fever. Odynophagia, which may be a sign of an underlying medical condition, is painful swallowing that causes a burning sensation around the breastbone, neck or mouth.
Chills, nausea, vomiting, heartburn and weight loss may also come along with odynophagia, notes MedlinePlus. A person who experiences a sudden weight loss, lightheadedness or shortness of breath should contact his doctor. Medical attention may also be helpful for a person with tarry, black or bloody stools.
Herpes simplex virus, human immunodeficiency virus, gingivitis and sore throat may cause painful swallowing, explains MedlinePlus. Thrush, tooth abscess or infection, and esophageal conditions, such as gastroesophageal reflux disease, may cause the problem as well. Extremely cold or hot foods may worsen the problem, so avoiding them may be helpful. Eating slowly, eating purees and chewing food well may help as well.
A medical and physical examination may help diagnose the problem, according to MedlinePlus. The doctor may perform further tests, including esophagogastroduodenoscopy, throat culture, HIV test, and chest or throat X-rays, to identify the exact cause of the problem and determine the type of treatment needed. Esophageal manometry and esophageal pH monitoring help to measure pressure and acid in the esophagus.