Coughing is a natural response that helps protect your airway when you are sick or when food or liquid goes down the wrong way. However, coughing frequently when you are not sick, especially if the cough is dry and non-productive, may indicate a chronic cough. This can be caused by a dry or irritated throat, certain medications, medical conditions (such as acid reflux or allergies), or hypersensitivity in the throat after an acute upper respiratory infection like a common cold. Coughing (and throat clearing) irritates the delicate tissues of the voice box and can cause more coughing or throat clearing. Once the body is in a chronic cough pattern, it is difficult to break the cycle.
Throat Irritation (Chronic Throat Clearing, Pain, Tightness, and/or Hypersensitivity)
Throat irritation -- including frequent throat clearing, pain, tightness, or a sense that there is a constant lump or fullness in your throat -- can also occur when the throat is “stuck” in a pattern of hypersensitivity. It can be caused by coughing, vocal injury, or muscle tension. Sometimes, throat irritation can cause near-constant throat clearing, coughing, hoarseness, or painful swallowing, and it can disrupt daily life.