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What does an esophageal spasm feel like?

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Old 02-22-2008, 03:18 PM   #16
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: San Jose
Posts: 1
jchapp248 HB User
Re: What does an esophageal spasm feel like?

I am so glad I found this board! I am new.

I have esophageal spasms and I am also on Lorazepam for it and Reglan. I was fine just two months ago! Mine are so bad that I start passing out. My doctor said that my esophagus is spasming and hitting my vasovagal nerve. What fun! It sometimes feels like pain in my chest which I attribute to GERD. Sometimes it feels like a lump in my throat. I have also for a very, very long time, felt the fluttering in my throat. I want to get off the meds but don't know how. I can take Lorazepam forever! Two doctors have told me to go to a pscychatrist but I have had no previous problems with panic attack or anything and the fainting spells only last about 15 seconds. I may still go - I haven't decided yet. Well it is good to know I am not alone. I am hoping this will HEAL slowly.

I have had everything checked out and I don't have an ulcer, just GERD. I also have been check for H. Pylori. Nothing. Everything is negative except for the acid reflux. I have been on a bland, boring 5 meal a day diet for 6 weeks now and have lost a few pounds. Thanks everyone for listening. BTW, trigger foods seem to be cheese ( I am allergic to dairy but used to be able to eat it). and soy milk, which I also used to be able to eat. I used to be able to drink like a fish and had to quit cold turkey.

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Old 02-22-2008, 05:26 PM   #17
Senior Veteran
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Diamond, Illinois, USA
Posts: 633
Vanessa74 HB User
Re: What does an esophageal spasm feel like?

Have you tried cutting out dairy to see if that helps?

I am just wondering because I have been keeping a journal for over 4 months now and I am trying to see if maybe there is a connection between certain food groups - or foods that are aggravating my acid or something. It seems that I have some normal triggers (chocolate, too much caffeine, carbonated beverages, citrus, etc.) - but I am willing to try eliminating say 'dairy' or 'nuts' or something to see if that helps.

Have any of you tried that? I hate the spasms they scare me bad.

Thanks everyone!!

Old 03-11-2008, 06:36 PM   #18
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Katoomba, NSW, Australia
Posts: 1
Trish22 HB User
Angry Re: What does an esophageal spasm feel like?

I am new to this site and I feel sad for everyone that has written into this site, surely there must be something that can be done for this???????
I have been having stomach problems for nearly 23 years, it apparently first started with having to have over 120 injections of penicillin after I had my daughter. Due to that Drs told me I had developed Ulcerated Colitis. 3 years ago I was told I had Diverticular Disease, shortly after I had my Gallbladder removed due to a small growth being detected in it – the Gallbladder had been causing me problems for some 5 years before it was removed. It was around this same time that I started to get strange discomfort in my stomach area just near the bottom of my rib cage from left to right. It feels as though I have swelling under there at times and it twists and contracts randomly. Had a number of tests to determine anything and Drs said you have inflammation in the stomach, don’t eat chocolate and take Nexium if the pain gets bad.
After 5 years it has now got to a stage of having severe attacks with strong pain in centre of my breasts, burning in the throat, having bouts of swallowing continuously like there is something in my throat, swelling in the upper stomach and pain through to my back, up to my shoulder and up to my ears. These attacks make me have to lay down until I feel I can function again.
Recently I went to a specialist and he said that I may have Esophagus Spasming and that there wasn’t much could be done except take drugs like Nexium and others that I couldn’t even begin to spell.
Is this like the spasms that you all are having?
From reading everyone else’s, I feel we are all lumped into one area of “well it must be anxiety so take this drug and hopefully you’ll feel better” or “there isn’t anything we can do so live with it”
This is 2008 surely someone can help all these people on this site and me with a better diagnosis than we have all been given. I am at a loss with the medical Drs that I have seen and would like to go onto a path of getting to the bottom of this illness. Since mine has worsened I have restricted my diet even more than it was due to my other illnesses, lost weight, my job has been effected as I can’t function properly and I seem to spent a lot of time lying down or in bed sleeping.
Is there any other solution than this out there?


Old 03-21-2008, 04:54 PM   #19
Junior Member
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Stony Point, NY, USA
Posts: 11
megrandma HB User
Post Re: What does an esophageal spasm feel like?

Hi Trish,
I have edited this 3 times but the original has gone through. I was able to reread your post and be more specific. Hope this post goes through.
I have had esophageal spasms for about 30 years. My spasms only happen when I am eating, usually at the beginning of a meal but not always. My spasms are extremely painful, actually excruiating and are minutes in duration. I do not have reflux. I recently learned that esophageal spasms an irregurarity in the Vagus Nerve. This nerve uses Acetylcholine ( look this up), a neurotransmitter which is also important for memory. I was doing a search when I found this forum so I can't tell you anything more about it. Librax has helped with the frequency of my spasms and if I took it more than 1 time a day I probably wouldn't have them as often.
My sister went to the ER because she has a prolonged spasm like some on this board seem to have. Long story short, her spasms are controled with one of the PPI, not sure which one. She needed an infusion with medication to stop the spasm that brought her to the ER.
You related your problems to antibiotic use. I think you need to look into HEALING your gastrointestinal (GI)tract. Did you know that 80% of our immunity comes from our GI tract? I listen to a renowned nutritionist on a radio program and I have learned SO MUCH about immunity and neutraceuticals. Start by researching Probiotics, which reinnoculate your GI tract with the essential bacteria that the antibiotic wiped out. Lacotobacillus Bifidum is the first of 3 that you need. You may need to first heal your GI tract before taking the Probiotics so do some research or find a nutritionist that comes highly recommended to TREAT the problem not just the symptoms!
This is my 1st post so I don't know if I can say people or product names. In the meantime, I'll continue to search for more info and post what I find.
Hang in there.

Last edited by megrandma; 03-21-2008 at 05:11 PM.

Old 04-12-2008, 08:11 PM   #20
sammy love
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Chicago, Il, usa
Posts: 2
sammy love HB User
Re: What does an esophageal spasm feel like?

Thanks megagrandma,

Your symptoms are most like mine. I am finally going to go to a doctor. I think I will print out your information and bring it with me. Lately (in the last two weeks) the spasms have been triggering unexpectedly...even when I have chewed my food very carefully. They don't get relieved easily by deep breathing or after I've made myself throw up (which is unusual.) The spasming feels more out of control then ever before. I'm thinking the espophagus is more irritated by foods I've eaten lately. Tonight for examply the spasm wouldn't let up for about 10 minutes. I decided to chew and swallow two tums and that did stop it. On occasion I have taken a nitroglycerin tablet under the tongue, (which relaxes smooth muscles), and that has helped but recently in a restaurant, it didn' disappointing.

As you said, this is a spasm which occurs after I've taken some food and not chewed well enough, especially in the first few bites. It is near the lower end of the esophagus. Sometimes I realize I haven't chewed carefully before It constricts and I am thinking.."oh no, it's going to happen"..and it does. Major salivation, retching, pain, tearing occur on particular occasions. I've sometimes thought, "I'm going to die right now because this is taxing my body so much in so many different ways." The vegal connection makes sense considering all the symptoms and the intensity of the symptoms.

So anyway, this is my first posting. I just joined a few minutes ago. I hope this gets to you. I am 68 years old, have a pretty relaxed life with little stress at this time.


Last edited by moderator2; 04-13-2008 at 06:36 AM. Reason: the huge quote!

Old 04-12-2008, 08:22 PM   #21
sammy love
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Chicago, Il, usa
Posts: 2
sammy love HB User
Re: What does an esophageal spasm feel like?

Hi jchapp,

I'm new to the site as of tonight. I will print up your information and take it with me to the doctor. I will also take megrandma's information with me.

Your fainting concerns me. What do the doctor's say about that?


Old 06-27-2008, 10:07 AM   #22
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Austin, Texas
Posts: 1
MarshaB HB User
Re: What does an esophageal spasm feel like?

Hi, all,
I've been reading this board today and decided to register so I can pass on to all of you what worked for me. In a word, magnesium. I was having esophageal spasms that were happening at all times of the day. At the office, at home in bed, in restautants, eating or not eating. A lot of you say yours are fluttery feeling...mine were so painful I thought I was having a heart attack. This all began a few years ago and can probably be traced to my taking a diuretic as one of my blood pressure meds. I'm not saying it will be the answer for all of you, but I'd be willing to bet a lot of you can find relief. I found out by doctor is going to tell you this...mine sure didn't. Google 'esophageal spasms' and 'magnesium' & see for yourself. I started taking magnesium oxide and for a spasms! Then they started up again and I found out about all the different forms of magnesium and that mag oxide is a pretty poor form & you don't absorb much of it. I have found the form & dosage that works for me and am back to enjoying a life without the spasms. Every person is different and will need to find what works best for them. One thing you have to watch out for is that too much magnesium can cause diarrhea, but you experiment until you find what's right for you. There are a lot of good websites out there with loads of info about magnesium. Study up and give it a was a miracle for me.
Good luck to you all.

Old 09-03-2008, 07:12 PM   #23
Junior Member
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Stony Point, NY, USA
Posts: 11
megrandma HB User
Re: What does an esophageal spasm feel like?

I have had esophageal spasms for about 35 years. Mine are as painful as a labor contraction! Not just fluttering: That's for sure! I have been taking Librax with fair control. I have heard it can be caused by a "imbalance" of the Vagus Nerve? I tried accupuncture with poor results. It's funny that you have found that Magnesium works because it also works very well for those horrid leg cramps that I get at night. I'm sure that it has also working on my spasms without even realizing it.
You may be interested in something I found out about these spasms: I had very few when I was the Adkins Diet as did a friend of mine? Can it be too many bad Carbs? Don't know. I do know that I am so grateful that YOU made the connection. How did you make the connection anyway? I Thank you very much!

Old 09-03-2008, 07:32 PM   #24
Junior Member
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Stony Point, NY, USA
Posts: 11
megrandma HB User
Re: What does an esophageal spasm feel like?

Hi Tommy,

Have you seen a doctor yet?
Look for the posting from Marsha. She has had relief of her spasms with Magnesium. I use magnesium for leg cramps-----who knew!After reading your post, however, I think that your prolonged spasms sound so much like my sister's and hers were caused by reflux after eating fatty foods. I had to take her to the ER because it would not let up! She does not get them anymore since her reflux is controlled with one of the reflux medication, an H2 Blocker. They can be purchased over the counter now in lower doses. If one of them works that may give you a clue to the cause. But be sure to follow up with a doctor. Good luck

Old 09-04-2008, 02:44 AM   #25
Senior Member
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Sk, Canada
Posts: 152
PumpkinSeed HB UserPumpkinSeed HB User
Re: What does an esophageal spasm feel like?

i have a nasty nasty digestive system. i mean its almost 4 in the morning, i'm tired as hell and i can't lay down because i will choke and my whatever inside me will push up against my whatever else and i'll feel weird feelings in my sternum area. (meaning i have no idea what's going on in there but it's fricking annoying me and i can't sleep)

anyways, i've been given all kinds of fun pills that don't do ANYTHING and i even take anxiety pills because it all sets off a fun string of adrenalin fun that makes me think i'm going to keel over.

i'm really starting to think that digestive problems (except for structural defects) can only be cured by lowering your stress level and eating really well. getting any kind of supplements you need (probiotics or magnesium or whatever else you are short on) and just believing that you are healing yourself. i've given up on doctors.

i swear to god doctors never suffer from any kind of pain and are so not in tune with what we are going through. so they prescribe a pill and do a few tests and send you on your way.

they should make it mandatory that all gastro docs have to be given an ulcer or gerd or whatever for six months when they are in school so they can feel the bloody pain and discomfort we do.

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