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Esophageal spasms?

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Old 09-08-2012, 03:02 PM   #1
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Esophageal spasms?

I,m not new to this board, but I rarely post. I,ve been in misery for a couple of months. I,m a seventy one year old female and have been fairly healthy except for back and thyroid problems. This all seemed to start when I began eating garden tomatoes. I do have an old ulcer which I had under control with meds, but this has torn it up. Not only do I have almost constant stomach pains, but I also have something else that is excruciating. I get these spasms in my throat extending up my eustation tube into my right ear. I also, at the same time will have mild chest pains, which don,t last long. I,m on Prevacid, Zantac and Carafate, but none seem to do much. Only when I take a Lortab, which is prescribed for my back, do I get any relief at all. Included with all this is extreme fatigue, periods of loose stools and lack of appetite. I have made many trips to my doctor and nothing he has done has helped. I,m hoping some of you may have an answer.

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Old 09-09-2012, 06:13 PM   #2
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Re: Esophageal spasms?

I have spasms in my upper esophagus. The muscles don't contract as they should, and it basically creates a very tight feeling in my throat when I dry swallow. From what I've read about spasms, mine are very minor (though incredibly annoying). Esophageal spasms can cause food and sometimes liquid to get stuck and also can cause chest pain.

It seems that the symptoms of these spasms can very greatly from person to person. They can be treated with various medications, such as calcium channel blockers, tricyclic antidepressants, and muscle relaxants. My GI doc seems to think that muscle relaxants work the best, but he won't prescribe them because they are addictive. I wish he had to live with a constantly tight throat!

Some information suggests that botox injections in the esophagus are helpful. In extreme cases, the muscles that are not contracting properly in the esophagus can be cut so that they are weaker; I believe the procedure is called a myotomy and can be performed during an endoscopy.

I've read from other posts that a magnesium supplement can help relieve the symptoms of the spasms, as magnesium helps muscle function, and the esophagus is a smooth muscle. I have had some luck with peppermint; I started with lifesavers, and then tried mixing 5 drops of peppermint oil in 10 mL of water. It relieves the tightness, but only for a few hours, and it tastes terrible! If you are going to try peppermint oil, please be mindful that it can cause heartburn in some people. I have acid reflux but do not suffer from heartburn, so the peppermint doesn't bother me.

I would do some research on these spasms if you haven't already. I started with the Mayo Clinic's website. My suggestion would be to print out the treatment options and take them with you to your next doctor's appointment. Ask your doctor to discuss a full treatment plan with you. (I'm a very anxious person, so I like to know what the next step will be if a particular method of treatment fails.) If your doctor won't discuss all of the options, perhaps it is time to find a new doctor.

Best of luck!

Old 09-09-2012, 06:41 PM   #3
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Re: Esophageal spasms?

I would be extremely careful about assuming these are esophageal spasms. There are people who do have them, but they should be documented by a barium swallow or esophageal test called manometry or a scope to rule out other pathological conditions. Spasms should not cause loss of appetite, constant stomach pain or fatigue. Since your condition is not responding to your ulcer medicines, all of which are good for ulcers, I think you ought to see a gastroenterologist for some diagnostic testing to find out exactly what is wrong. This could be something serious, and if turns out to not be, consider yourself lucky. Your PCP should be referring you for additional testing.

Old 09-09-2012, 09:04 PM   #4
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Re: Esophageal spasms?

My doctor has told me if the prevacid didn,t help he would refer me to a specilist. I have only had a couple of episodes since my last doctors visit.

Old 10-16-2012, 03:13 PM   #5
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Re: Esophageal spasms?

Hi i also have been tould i have this the pain is ever day all day the other night i thought i was having a heart attack i have had a few hert tests the last one being this year i had the test where they inject you with some thing that speeds your heart up then put a ecg on you then they take lots of images of your heart all came back clear so its not my heart i have pain in chest left and right between shoulder blades and shoulders and is sore to touch the last week its been under my ribs and lower right back pain i also get bad heart burn and mythrout is sore and its sore to swallow im sick of going to docs i have seen a gi doc who has done tests i am now waiting to go back to see gi doc again the pain is killing me and i still worry its my heart some one help meeeeeeeeeeee

Old 11-07-2012, 09:20 PM   #6
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Re: Esophageal spasms?

Miine finally quit, but not from anything the doctor gave me. Prilosec actually made it worse. I finally just started flooding my stomach with Maalox and otc Pepcid. It took about a week to ten days. Good luck.

Old 12-16-2012, 06:34 PM   #7
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Re: Esophageal spasms?

I am so glad to hear I am not alone in having these spazms . I recently hadu gallbladder out and had a day where I got In the vehicle ready to go to er ... Every time I swallowed it would feel like a vise grip squeezing all the way down from throat to chest !! I was giving nitro pills to take from one time I did go to er with it , I have been to scared to take them though , also I take Ativan when I feel it start , I am a worrier about everything , but the last time the Ativan did nothing to help ... I am not glad other ppl have to deal with TJIS but glad I'm not alone ...

Old 12-17-2012, 11:03 AM   #8
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Re: Esophageal spasms?

I had this exact same problem after having my gall bladder out. I had pains all around my chest, thought it was my heart.
doc gave me nitro pills too. Here is what I found on my own that worked.
I immediately ate something, this makes it so it cannot go into spasm, and it goes away right away. Hope this works for you.

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