Sore Throat

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Latest Edit: Hector 2014-04-10 (EDT)

Sore throats are a major cause of medical visits and are a significant cost to the healthcare system each year. The majority of cases are due to benign causes, but have a significant impact on school and work attendance and productivity.[1]

Sore Throat
Sore throat.jpg

Sore Throat
Causes Smoking, Environmental Toxins, Infections, Alcohol
See Also Respiratory Conditions, Viral Infections, Influenza, Bacterial Infections, Sinusitis, Fungal Infections, Allergic Rhinitis
Books Books on Head, Ears, Nose and Throat Conditions
Articles Articles on Head, Ears, Eyes, Nose and Throat Conditions

Naturopathic Assessment

Causal Factors

In order to stimulate the innate ability of the body to heal the causes of disease must be identified and addressed. A sore throat is often a symptom of another underlying condition. Some specific factors that can cause a sore throat include:


  • Excessive Talking
  • A sore throat may be more common in occupations where a person needs to talk a lot or needs to talk for long periods of time.


  • Airborne Irritants
  • Smog, dust, and other airborne irritants may irritate the throat and cause sore throat symptoms.[2]


  • Smoking is associated with increased risk of sore throat.

Medical Interventions

  • Prescription Medications
  • Immunosuppressive medications can increase an individual's risk of contracting viral pharyngitis.[2]
  • Other prescription mediciation that can cause a sore throat include: Antibiotics
  • Surgery
  • Sore throat is common following endotracheal intubation during surgery.[3]

Diagnostic Testing

The list of possible causes of sore throat is extensive, so a thorough physical examination and history taking is required to narrow down a list of possible causes. Information such as timing, frequency, duration, type of pain, and associated signs and symptoms are important in diagnosis. The following testing may be used to assist in confirming a diagnosis:[4]

Laboratory Studies

  • Throat culture is often used to confirm diagnosis of GABHS. A rapid antigen detection test is available for GABHs and is almost as sensitive as a throat culture.
  • The monospot test for Epstein Barr virus can confirm a diagnosis of infectious mononucleosis.
  • Culture for Neisseria gonorrhoeae is used if Gonococcal pharyngitis is suspected.


  • Laryngoscopy may be used in chronic sore throat to investigate non-infectious causes of sore throat including foreign body or neoplasms.

Related Symptoms and Conditions

The following conditions commonly have sore throat as a symptom:[1][4][5]

  • Viral pharyngitis
  • Infectious mononucleosis
  • Influenza
  • Bacterial pharyngitis
  • Tonsilitis
  • Sinusitis
  • Peritonsillar abscess
  • Group A hemolytic streptococcus
  • Gonorrhea
  • Tuberculosis
  • Thrush


Common Symptoms

Common signs and symptoms accompanying a sore throat include:[2]

Naturopathic Treatment

The goal of naturopathic treatment is to support and work in tandem with the healing power of the body and to address the causal factors of disease with individual treatment strategies. Because of the vast number of conditions associated with a sore throat the specific naturopathic treatment is based on treating the other underlying conditions. Some specific therapies for sore throat include:

The prescribing of naturopathic therapies requires the guidance of a naturopathic doctor as it depends on a number of factors including the causal factors, a person's age, prescription medications, other conditions and symptoms and overall health. It is always advisable to work with a naturopathic doctor prior to taking any natural therapies.

Naturopathic Therapies for sore throat include:[6]

Traditional Chinese Medicine recognizes the varied presentations of sore throat, and treatment is dependent on detailed assessment. Treatment principles utilized in Traditional Chinese Medicine to address sore throat include:[9]
  • Expel Wind Toxic Heat
  • Tonify Lung and Kidney
  • Tonify Spleen
  • Gargling with salt water is recommended in cases of bacterial pharyngitis.[6]


Reviewed by Iva Lloyd, BScH, RPE, ND [1]

  1. 1.0 1.1 Chan TV (2010) The Patient with Sore Throat Med Clin North Am 94(5):923-43
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Dains JE, Baumann LC, Scheibel (2007) Advanced Health Assessment and Clinical Diagnosis in Primary Care third ed Chap 3 Sore Throat Mosby
  3. Jaensson M (2010) Endotracheal tube size and sore throat following surgery: a randomized controlled study Acta Anaesthesiol Scand 54(2):147-53
  4. 4.0 4.1 Vincent MT, Celestin N, Hussain AN (2004) Pharyngitis Am Fam Physician 69(6):1465-70
  5. Nussenbaum B, Bradford CR (2010) Flint: Cummings Otolaryngology: Head and Neck Surgery 5th ed Chap 13 Pharyngitis in Adults Mosby
  6. 6.0 6.1 Murray MT, Bongiorno PB (2006) Pizzorno Textbook of Natural Medicine 3rd ed Chap 211 Benign Streptococcal Pharyngitis Elsevier.
  7. Lu Henry (1986) Chinese System of Food Cures, prevention and remedies Sterling Publishing Co. New York.
  8. Godfrey Anthony, Saunders Paul Richard, Barlow Kerry, Gilbert Cyndi, Gowan Matthew, Smith Fraser (2010) Principles and Practices of Naturopathic Botanical Medicine, Vol 1: Botanical Medicine Monographs, CCNM Press, Toronto
  9. Kuoch DJ (2007) Acupuncture Desk Reference 2nd ed Acumedwest.