Originally Answered: White spots on tonsils, strep throat or tonsilitis?
I'm not a doctor, but I've raised two children and am also director of a licensed child care center. Seen lots of sore, swollen throats with white spots on them. Some of these were at the child care center, of course, but sometimes it was my own personal children's throats and sometimes it was my own throat.
You have my sympathy. Your description sounds like what I used to call my "razorblades in my throat" feeling. Terrible.
So, for what it's worth: My daughter and I have always been very susceptible to strep throat. Most of the time when the doctor diagnosed this in either of us, we had your symptoms exactly. The doctor called these white spots "pus pockets" (I know; sounds gross). Said this was stuff that had accumulated in the pockets of the swollen tonsils. He would sometimes actually take a very long swab and push around the edges of the spots, "pop" the white matter out and we'd spit it out. He warned that pushing in this part of our throats might activate the gag reflex, which it did. He tried this procedure because, while it didn't heal things, it did often lessen the throat pain quite a bit. My daughter can especially attest to this. Then any time the doctor did diagnose strep, he prescribed antibiotics and we got better over the next few days. It's vital to take ALL the antibiotics and not stop early. Swollen tonsils love to hold onto infection, and if the infection doesn't get completely cleared up by taking the full prescription, the infection can come back in full force in a few days and you may be even sicker this time than you started out being.
I hope you will see a doctor. If this is strep, you don't want to play around with it. Doctors have always told me that strep doesn't go away by itself, and untreated strep can turn into rheumatic fever, which can then damage your heart.
In the meantime, gargling with warm salt water can truly help some with the pain. Popsicles can be a little soothing. They are also good because even when your throat hurts so much you don't want to swallow anything, you still HAVE to get liquids in you or you can get dehydrated and very weak. The infection can make you very weak by itself, but dehydration will only make everything worse. Some over the counter products like Chloraseptic or Sore Throat Sucrets help sometimes. My daughter even rigged up her own long-handled swab (scotch-taped a Q-Tip to a long pencil) and popped out her own white spots in the back of her throat for some pain relief. NONE OF THIS WAS INSTEAD OF BEING TREATED BY A DOCTOR TOO.
This is a long "answer", and it's the first time I've participated in the Yahoo! Answers thing. Again, I am not a doctor, but I've done a lot of personal sore throat research over many years and have had a lot of occasions to talk to doctors about this. I am only telling you what many of them have told me. I'm not suggesting anything that has not been recommended to me personally by trusted physicians.
I didn't have time to write all this(!), but your question touched my heart, and I felt for you. Hope you feel much better soon and that some of this helps. Blessings.