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Painless Esophageal Spasms?
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Painless Esophageal Spasms?

I have been dealing with some spasms that feel like a muscle spasm, like a butterfly fluttering spasm, in my throat behind my collar bone and in the middle of my chest and to the left about an inch for about 6 years.  The spasms can happen together, but its rare if they do (once or twice a year).  Some of the time I will have indigestion the day before I have the spasms.  The spasms are painless and random, but can be linked to what I have ate in my opinion.  I have had pain radiate from my chest to my back and through both of my shoulders before, but never had the spasm along with that pain.  That kind of pain has only happened 3 times in the past 6 years.  I did have bad indigestion and heartburn when I was pregnant, 6 years ago.  It could be coincidental, but the heartburn and indigestion all started when I was about 6 months pregnant.  The spasms didn't start until she was about a year old.  I have looked up everything trying to figured out what these spasms could be.  My mother has painful esophageal spasms, she is being treated for GERD.  My father has some kind of tachycardia in which he has to take medicine everyday or his heart skips beats and beats off-rhythm all day.  I went to the doctor a few days ago and she said "I doubt that its esophageal spasms and I am not convinced that it is esophageal spasms due to you not having any pain.  Since everyone I have treated for GERD or the esophageal issues and spasms they all have had some kind of pain or burning sensation.  I'm not saying that it isn't your esophagus, but it would be very rare if it is."  She put me on Aciphex for acid reflux (which I don't want to take) and did a CBC and a thyroid test, but I have a really bad, junk-food kind of diet and I feel if I can change my diet I wouldn't need the medication.  She didn't ask about my diet and I didn't think to tell her what my horrible junk food diet consists of either.  I would rather change my diet than take medicine.  I do have a fear of taking medicine anyway.  Also, if she thinks it may be my heart why can I get out of breath by exercising on my exercise bike and not have any pain or spasms during or after the exercise.  Now, sometimes I can have the spasms really bad when I am gasping for air from being out of breath and only when my throat starts to get dry from breathing fast.  I also have spasms when I overeat and when I haven't ate for a while or when I eat and then lay down.  I still never get heartburn much or indigestion, maybe once a week or so.  I can eat greasy and/or spicy foods and have the spasms as I'm eating it.  Very few times have I had food get stuck in my throat or somewhere along the esophageal tube.  I have seen some other things like pharyngoesophageal spasms and laryngospasms.  I have been talking several times when I have a spasm in my throat and it sounded like I either had something in my mouth or covering my mouth when I was talking or like I was mumbling or gargling unintentionally.  But either of those wouldn't explain the spasm in the middle of my chest.  Oh and one last note, I have had numerous EKGs and a 24 hr holter monitor to rule out any heart conditions about 8 years ago (from my panic attack episodes).  They all have said I have a strong, clear heart.

I guess my questions are:

What could cause these fluttery spasms in my throat, behind my collar bone and in the middle of my chest but to the left about an inch?  

Could it be possible to have Esophageal Spasms without the pain and burning sensation with it?

Is there anything else that could cause the fluttery spasm in my chest or throat besides Esophageal Spasms or Tachycardia?  

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6 Comments Post a Comment
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Avatar m tn
I have the same spasms with no pain.  Thay used to be rare but now happen more often.  I also have other problems (GERD,hiatal hernia, pain that comes and goes beteen shoulder blades,)  I'm now looking into it being a connection to the vagus nerve.  I've alway felt that some how it's connected to a nerve and will keep doing research and alternative medicine until I find an answer.  It's kind of scary when the spasms started happening. I also went to the hospital and had tests done only to show my heart is fine.  Take care!
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Avatar f tn
I don't know what to do.  If I don't have indigestion or heartburn then it might not be my esophagus and I'm afraid my doctor is going to say it may be just a muscle spasm or "nothing" again.  I always thought if you have a heart palpitation or heart spasms then you would have some sort of pain with it.  I'm just in shock because the numerous doctors I have seen for the spasms in my throat and my chest keep saying it's nothing or just a muscle spasm.  The time I had a holter monitor on it was for 24 hours and that spasm didn't happen during the time I had it on.  I have had that spasm before while taking my blood pressure on one of these miniature home devices and it read an error.  It shows an error everytime I have a spasm while checking my blood pressure.  My father gave me one of his spare blood pressure devices since he has to keep an eye on his blood pressure for his heart spasms or tachycardia.  I'm scared that I might have what he has and I don't want that.  I don't think I could handle having something like that not on top of my panic attacks, fear of taking medication, agoraphobia, and my fear of dying....  I'm driving myself crazy.  I know I'm having spasms in my chest.  I have had them for 6 years.  Every one of the 7 doctors I have seen for this spasm, ONLY 1 has said it could be esophageal spasms and the rest says it's nothing.  

Oh and I wish I didn't read about the vagus nerve....  I have had a fear that I'm going to have a seizure one day and that didn't make me feel any better.  I keep having these feelings like something is wrong and I need to have it found soon, but I don't know what it is.
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Avatar m tn
I had the exact opposite effect, actually! When I found out  about the vagus nerve, it was like "Ohh. Of course." Because its location was making me worried when id get a stomach upset, which made me think of heart problems. It helped me realise that its not fatal, annoying though it may be.

I get the throat spasmy thingies too, totally at random. annoying but, well, I was reading depressing Ted Chiang stories. He likes inevitability. It was about a race of robots dying. or soemthing i dont know. I always make sure to see if anything like that happend before upsetting myself.

Oh, I know youve probably heard stuff..Hm, like "dont google." Im not exactly sure why, but I think people look for the worst possible thing. (stuff like 'ebola' will have "dizzyness, anxiety, fever" as its main symtpoms, like everything else on the planet. well, until you die horribly but we neednt worry about that particular bug.)

If you do find yourself searching for these things, Id reccomend looking for the most common problems. Occam's razor and all that: simplest explination is probably right.

Like, just for clarification, an upset stomach will be caused by pretty much anything. I mean its a sac filled with acid.

About the doctors: I have this issue too. I used to get upset but I thought about it. I think it has much more to due with the extremely difficult nature of their job. Im guessing being told its just in your head would be perfectly logical to a doctor. But to me, it always seems like what they actually mean is "Theres a problem, but you are making it infinitely worse by worrying."

Because worrying makes everything worse, often to the point where it loses all perspective. Ive had fears my heat was going to stop because I had a twitch for a couple seconds..in my foot. I dont think the doctors mean to be condescending, I think they dont realise why it upsets us to hear this, because well, a doctor would know what it means right off the bat pretty much.

It doesnt help that we get offended by it and thus distrusting. Stuff like this causes rifts. Find a doctor who you like, yes, but honestly? Us panicy types tend to have these identical symyptoms over and over. I mean heck, im here because im trying to avoid panic because my hand was cold when i took it out of the bath.

So, keep in mind what i said next time a doctor tells you that. Its not conclusive, you have to judge the person in each case on their attitude and all that. It may become quickly apparent that they just have atrocious bedside manner, and didnt mean to upset you.

Of course thats just my opinion; your mileage may vary. Either way, same rule applies: Try your best to calm down. At all times. I really wish I could follow this advice more closely myself. Would make me feel a lot less stupid after the panic subsides.
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11213404 tn?1416258710
I have those kind of spasm for the past 8 years. I have seen doctors, have done ECG, endoscopy, test where they put tube thru your nose to see the contraction of you esophagus muscles, lung test (breathing test). At this point I am tired to seeing doctors since all of them told me they do not see any problem, but my esophagus spasm is getting bad. It is worst than it was 8 years ago. I have learn to live with it. I hope it is nothing more that that.
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Avatar f tn
I have these exact same symptoms as you! I'm worried it's my heart and also have all your fears with high anxiety! It could be related to anxiety which is what my therapist told me. I'm glad to hear your heart tests are fine. I've had an ekg done as well and it was fine. I wish someone could tell us what it is! I also have chronic belching and when I try to burp sometimes it goes the wrong way and air feels like it's filling my stomach. Also the spasms seem to only happen at night when I get home from work. At work they don't happen, but they also happen when I turn my head like to reverse my car or when I bend or squat my legs. Anyone relate to that?
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Avatar n tn
Ive been having these spasms too. Started a few weeks ago. Ive been to the hospital too, had ekgs and blood tests, all normal. I just had a Halter Monitor on yesterday but won't find out the results till next week. Ive been going out of my mind with this feeling in my chest. My doctor says my heart is fine and prescribed me Adivan (sp) for anxiety. Like you, this happens at night a lot more then the daytime. Im having a hard time sleeping too. I'm constantly checking my heart rate when the spasm is happening but it always seems normal, till I start to freak out and have anxiety. I can totally relate. I hope to have more answers soon. Its hard because I feel my doc thinks its in my head a bit. I do have acid reflux too and get shortness of breath while its happening. scary
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