The mouth, throat and oesophagus are all part of your swallowing mechanism. The cricopharyngeus muscle forms part of an area called the pharyngoesophageal segment, a a sling behind your larynx. It normally remains closed, but opens when you swallow or burp. Sometimes the muscle doesn’t relax in the way it should or it can go into spasm. The cricopharyngeus muscle can also become thicker and cause a partial blockage when swallowing. In older patients a sac called a pharyngeal pouch can develop which can collect food. When severe, food and drinks can go down the wrong way. The common tests we use to understand your swallowing problem include: barium swallow, videofluoroscopy, FEES (fibreoptic evaluation of swallow) and manometry. A thorough workup is essential to understand how your throat and oesophagus is functioning.