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1554262 tn?1374243601
Severe Chest pain relieved by cold water
I hope I got the right Forum for this...

I'm a 51 year old male and for the past 16 months I have had a strange pain happen to me at random times.  I call it a "severe flash pain" for lack of a better description. It is located in my chest behind the sternum and slightly to the right (not the heart side).  The pain area radiates about the size of a softball and happens very fast with no or little warning.  I have even been raised from sleep with this pain.  I get it at work, at home, pretty much any time of day.  I can’t seem to nail down what triggers the pain like meal time, too much stress, fatty foods, etc. The weird part is this: I get myself to cold water as fast as I can and drink it quickly.  Almost as fast as the pain arrived…it goes away.  The pain is severe and the rush to find cold water is in panic mode to be sure.  I even had to get a cup out of the trash once since there were none around during an attack!  I don’t think it’s a heart issue but I just don’t know.  I do drink coffee in the mornings, don’t exercise much as I should, but I don’t know if that’s it.

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Hey my name is satonia Smith and my husband have the same thing can anyone tell me what is it from so I can help him if you like to get in contact with me please e-mail me at ************ thank you
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547368 tn?1440545385
Please begin a new post or question. This thread is very old and long. Obviously no one has an exact answer.

If you review all the post you'll see that some found a medical diagnosis for their symptoms - others have not been as successful with finding a cause.

My advice to everyone that experiences this cold water relief with stomach or chest pains is to seek medical attention. The results vary. As I said some ppl never find a reason - I think some of those ppl give up too soon - get fatigued with the merry-go-round of doctors and call it quits. I get it.

Others find various reasons - a few have a cardiac problem, some find it's a gastrointestinal issue -  someone here said it was dehydration - one said finally they were diagnosed with  Prinzmetal's Angina AND Esophageal Spasm - for me it was a Hiatal Hernia and Esophageal Spasm.

So there is no easy answer. I encourage you to have you husband evaluated by a good physician - don't just rely on that cold water relief.

Best of Luck,
~Tuck
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thanks, for this info, ive been reading through it all.. im 53 and ive had these pains on and off since i was 28, and just got rushed to hospital yesterday as they thought it was heart, and it isn't.. i have had 3ecgs in past , all fine, as was the one the ambulance did ona rrival..this is the very first time i have EVER found anyone suffering the same symptoms as me in all the years ive searched.. i am seeing cardiologist tomorrow urgently.. but im inclined to go towards it not being related to the heart at all and will be mentioning these posts to the cardiologist.. mine start in the right side of my jaw line, then my neck, like someones gripping a muscle.. then i get pains wham into my chest and back, at the left hand side, and feel like i have been stabbed, the pains are excruciating and on a scale of 1 to 10 are 12!!!  AND like everyone else says, drinking water, or any fluid as fast as possible takes it off immediately, milk doesn't though for some reason.. even mentioned it to ambulance crew and they didn't ahve a clue.. its nice to know im not the only one on this planet who has it!!! many thanks
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I believe eating 3 cloves of garlic a day might help
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I am going to take this thread to my doctor wednesday because 3 weeks ago i was taken to the ER for excruciating pain in my chest and back it radiated throughout my whole torso so bad that when i got there i couldnt even tell them where it hurt they wouldnt give me water my natural instinct was to beg for water even though it was my first attack ive never felt pain like this i am no stranger to pain no amount of pain killers they gave me helped.... The ER removed my gallbladder but said it wasnt inflamed and didnt have any fluid around it i wish i would have came accross this thread sooner i wouldnt be an organ down i have a follow up appointment in 2 days but tonight i woke up with the exact same symptoms it makes me very hot and dizzy i could barely make it to the sink for water there has to be something that is going on to all of us that just hasnt received the medical attention that is deserved here i couldnt imagine going through this for one year after only 2 attacks let alone going for years with it like some of the folks on here i am a 21 year old female smoker in very good health i have lost 85 lbs through a very heathly diet and excersie program in 8 months nothing i eat or drink has been in any way related but like everyone else on here my second attack was combatted quickly with cold water
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547368 tn?1440545385
Hi Lexteen,

I'm sorry to hear that you also suffer from this phenomenon. I was in my very early 40s when I had my first  "attack".  If you've read this entire old thread you'll see the large variety of ppl  - of all ages, sexes and lifestyles - that all have one thing in common - Cold water relieves their very similar symptoms.  

Not many have found a DX (diagnosis). I believe they or their physician's give up too soon. Stumped the physician or patient basically says, "We've R/O (ruled out) all the obvious n life threatening diseases/conditions. If cold water works - keep doing it."

For some the sx occur occasionally and are just a nuisance, for others it's frequently and interferes with their lives. Whatever the case may be it's often puzzling. I see Captain thinks eating garlic may help. Who know?

I wish you luck and more importantly, a great practitioner. Please let us know what you discover.

Take Care,
~Tuck
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I am shocked to have found this site with so many people having the exact same thing I am experiencing.  I had open bypass X2 in October 2009.  It was about 2 1/2 yrs later had severe type chest pain.  Felt like horrible spasm where you just want to hold your breath till it stops I was under a lot of stress and just thought it was  that.  But I had water or someone gave me some and it stopped it.  Never had really any more pain like that until a month ago sitting in dr office waiting on my routine check up.  Everything doing great.  Pain came out of no where so bad.  Finally stopped and came on full force again.  Ask for water and it stops it immediately.  Feels like soreness and constricting almost like shriveling up.  I feel sometimes that heart muscle is so dehydrated if that is possible and when that water hits it stops constriction.  Heart dr. does not think this is heart related but not sure.  Gastro said EGD only shows little esophagitis.  I take Dexilant for stomach for past 6 years.  This time pain has stayed as a sorness in chest and tries to come back everyday.  I drink so much water.  I feels the sore cramping right at top of stomach and bottom of chest, starts there and crescendos up to entire chest.  I drink bottle cold water when first starts and it will not spread.  I take a small water pill each day for blood pressure HTZ and I decided to go off these last 2 days and not one pain.  Maybe heart is getting dehydrated.   Wish there were an answer.  Sis said maybe adhesions.  GI doc said thought maybe it could be due to scar from bypass but no one knows.   Any ideas?
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547368 tn?1440545385
I sure wish I had a definitive answer for you. Anyone of your suppositions could be correct. As you can see by this very old and long thread it seems to be a problem that many ppl experience.

It's my belief that there are various causes among these people that post on this thread. As you note a few have actually become a bit upset that I would even suggest there may be an underlying cause.

I've never heard of the heart becoming dehydrated by itself - obviously dehydration effects the entire body. Cardiovascular Insult occurs when the body becomes dehydrated plunging it into a state of shock. Our body requires between 48 to 64 oz of water every day - this equates to 6 to 8 large glasses - more in warmer climates. So it is important to drink adequate amounts of water.

Dehydration results in depletion of important minerals, eighty plus to be exact and not just sodium and potassium. However in most instances we have to be severely dehydrated before we feel any chest symptoms. Obviously your cardiologist has ruled out a cardiac cause of your chest pain - it not- insist that a few diagnostic tests be run.

You don't need a gastritis or esophagitis to experience Esophageal Spams. I had neither. They can become chronic. They are usually DX (diagnosed) by a physician observing your SX (symptoms), having a good clinical picture and R/O (ruling out) other conditions. Stress can and does bring on an acute attack of Esophageal Spams (ES) - however sometimes it seems totally unprovoked. I was taking multiple RX medications for GERD when my ES first occurred - therefore ER docs were stumped, thinking unjustly so that those meds would have controlled ES. This is not true. ES is usually treated with Valium and Nitro.

I encourage you to have a complete work up by Cardiologist. It has been six years since your by-pass surgery and problems can and do reoccur.

Have you been tested for a Hiatal Hernia? This often requires extensive testing by a Gastroenterologist and not just the usual. Hiatal Hernias can and do cause chest pain/discomfort.

Have you had a thorough physical? If not that's also a good place to look for a reason for your SX. Yes adhesions can and do cause pain. Unfortunately adhesions cannot be "seen" by usual and customary testing or scans. There is a never MRI called a Cine MRI that is able to see most adhesions. Physicians rarely order the expensive scan unless they feel it is warranted and available.

I encourage you and everyone not to just be satisfied with the apparent fact that cold water relieves these SX. Look for a reason, a cause. In my opinion it's very important.

I hope something I've said has been helpful. Please keep us updated. Sharing your tests and results or any DX will help all on this old thread - and future posters.

I hope to hear from you again soon. Take good care of yourself and remember you are your own best health care advocate.

My Best,
~Tuck




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547368 tn?1440545385
I've copied and pasted this from an article by Dr. John A. Amaro, Dr. Debra Richel. I thought it might be a good addition to this very old but popular thread. The article is much longer than what what I have posted here. I tried to take just a few highlights from the article.

Begin Copy
"DEHYDRATION AND HEART ATTACK"
"If you think it can't happen to you, think twice!!!!!

One of the most critical problems of heart disease is "disbelief". Many victims cannot accept the fact that the symptoms encountered are really serious and far too often, just believe that they will 'just go away'.

Even though the symptoms may be intense for one person, another may experience only mild discomfort. Know the signs,
· Moderate or severe indigestion
· Severe or uncomfortable pressure in the center of the chest.
·Pain in the shoulders, neck or arms.
· Weakness or excessive fatigue.
·Heart palpitation.
·Cold sweat, paleness, anxiety...........

One particular heart condition which is seldom discussed yet is responsible for thousands of lives each year in America alone, is Cardiovascular Shock, sometimes known as Cardiovascular Insult but perhaps more popularly known by the name of its primary cause of 'Dehydration'

Dehydration is not a unique condition, but it is a situation that is often ignored especially at the subclinical stage which is just enough dehydration to be a potential problem but not enough to cause severe symptoms. Most often a person will upon feeling thirst, simply drink enough to satisfy the thirst but not necessarily enough to safeguard normal physiology." End Copy

I hope this has been helpful.

Peace,
~Tuck
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547368 tn?1440545385
I should have clarified that the above Article in not the Article in it's entirety.  It was much too long and not all parts were relevant to this discussion.

Sorry I didn't make that more clear.

~Tuck  
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I am 76 years old and had my first experience with this pain when I was in my 30's.  That first pain episode was in the middle of my upper back. I was otherwise very healthy. My primary care physician diagnosed it as esophageal spasms and prescribed a muscle relaxant/pain killer, which worked after several minutes in alleviating the pain.  Nowadays it only happens 3 or 4 times a year and the pain is mostly in the middle of my chest, sometimes radiating to my jaw.  I eventually discovered on my own, that one or 2 big swallows of cold water relieved the pain immediately - much faster than the medication.  My belief has been that the cold water interrupts the spasm in the esophagus that is causing the pain.
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547368 tn?1440545385
Hello and Welcome to our Pain Management Forum.

First of all, I'm delighted you have a DX (diagnosis) and that cold water relieves your ES (Esophageal Spasms). Thanks so much for sharing.

I have ES too. Cold water does not relieve my spasm, in fact it makes them worse. I require the standard treatment, Nitroglycerin and Valium. The Nitro provides a relaxation of vascular smooth muscle and produces dilation of the blood vessels. Before I was DX and the combination of those two medications was given, nothing helped. ES would sometimes last most of the day - until becoming so severe it'd send me to ER.

I have tried cold water which only made the spasms worse. I took everything I could think of and tried multiple liquids (once including ice cold beer) - nothing eased those spams.

Your experience and mine proves that we are all different - what's effective for one is not necessarily effective for another.

Please everyone with these SX seek medical evaluation just as Kathy did.

Peace,
~Tuck
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Hi, I have watched the list growing larger with this awful problem and the difficulties of finding the cause. I started to suffer from this 9 years ago, the first attack was 4 days after major surgery for spinal fusion, I was rushed back into hospital as they thought it was a blood clot, thankfully it wasn't and was sent home with pain killers. I thought it was a one off but it kept coming back so they checked to see if it was related to the surgery possible damage to nerves but all was fine. So to cut a long story short and 9 years later. I moved to the UAE to work three years ago. I had a few attacks grabbed the water and everything was OK,  then suddenly they increased  to every day.I was very lucky that I was given the name of this gastroenterologist. He carried out very test possible he stated that everything was fine except my stomach showed signs of acid damage tissue, he took samples to rule out H pyrio bug this was negative, so then asked did I get heart burn which I did occasionally. So he carried some further tests this showed that during the night I was getting severe silent reflux which I slept through so didn't  know. It was after this that I had the attacks. From this he explained that I needed to try different combinations of Ppi to see which were effective with a herbal solution which is produced by the human body called melatonin. This is produced in the brain and controls your sleep patterns, but also it's Produced in you gut and helps protect your mucosa lining. He explained that as you get older the melatonin reduces that's why older people seem to sleep less and in you gut it can stop altogether. I am 56 so he put me on a Ppi at night along with 3 mg of melatonin. The results were that after one year the attacks have stopped, also what melation in does is relax the muscle around your esophagus sphincter and stops the acid entering your food pipe. Now I'm not saying this is the answer for everyone but it's worth checking out with your doctor to check the melatonin level in your gut, also check out this melatonin on Google some very interesting facts. Now I do not take Ppi just occasionally  melatonin I have no silent reflux my endoscopy showe'd that the lining was in tact no signs of reflux damage at all and that my levels of melatonin  was constantly stable this will be monitored now every 12 months. Like I say and empathise  this worked for me not saying it's a miracle cure, but I found a great doctor in the UAE who tested every possible angle to get to this. Good luck.
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Hello,
I hope that you did not read my previous post as me being a supporter of nicotine to relieve the symptoms listed on this post? I just re-read my post and even though it was an adendum to my previous post, I think I made myself clear that I was suggesting that nicotine was a relaxant, like a lot of "over the counter" drugs and should be avoided by anyone with 'our' symptoms! I want to make it very clear, MUSCLE RELAXANTS might be adding to this problem, including NICOTINE. By the way, I also think that smoking is just asking for trouble in the first place?
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OMG, I am so sorry, you support our theory! I misread your post and cannot apologise enough. Thank you! Blushing here!
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547368 tn?1440545385
Thanks for sharing your story and diagnosis. I'm delighted you were able to find a resolution to this frustrating condition.

I do believe that, like you and I - many of these ppl have a condition that has been over looked. It may not be what you are I have - but in most instances something is going one.

I wonder how many have had Esophageal pH Monitoring? This is a thin plastic catheter (about a sixteenth of an inch in diameter) that is passed through one nostril, down the back of the throat, and into the esophagus - about two inches above the esophageal sphincter. The tip of the catheter contains a sensor that senses acid. The pH probe send a signal to the recorder usually worn on your belt or waistband.

It's not a comfortable test - but it tells a lot about what is happening in the area for a 24 hour period. It's a great diagnostic tool and can only be placed by a Gastroenterologist.

Again thanks for sharing.

~Tuck
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Well, this is somewhat good news.  I am yet another sufferer of this strange illness. I started experiencing this about six weeks ago, the first time was at 4am. So you can imagine, pain in my center leftish part of my chest, never felt anything like it in my life, I am 54 and not in great shape so I am jumping out of bed, first thing I did was grab some water and it went away, took about 45 seconds total between waking and going away. Unlike you smart people, I did not conclude that the water made it stop.  3 days later I get this again, this time the pain goes to my neck and jaw, and felt like a toothache but everything started in my chest.  Once again, I went to the kitchen and grabbed some water it goes away, and I am left with this anxiety and weird feeling like "What just happened?" Then it happened a couple times more.  I decided doctor time!  I still didn't figure out water stopped it, (but always seemed to find some water and it goes away in about 30-45 seconds because of that activity. So I get my heart checked, get x-rays and I get to have a scope check on my throat as well pretty soon.  Since my doctor visit, I found that drinking the water was what made this go away.  I was driving home for lunch and had an attack of this and realized it was not going away.  I hurried to a service station, actually took cuts, and go to buy a water and chugged it before I could pay for it! (People probably thought I was insane) The pain went away instantly.  So I get to go back to my doctor pretty soon, and I am going to give them this link, because most of what everyone is saying sounds just like mine.  Starts somewhere in my lower chest, then moves into my center chest hurts real bad, radiates to random places, somewhat pulsating at times.  It happens standing, sitting, sleeping, full, empty, very random.  I will let you know if they figure anything out.
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547368 tn?1440545385
Thanks for your input. I'm sorry that you too suffer with this strange, often undiagnosed condition. I too find this thread interesting. It's taken on a life of it's own. It says something.

You're following the right path with your medical provider. If you've read this link you'll know that I believe there is an answer - there is a reason that ppl develop this symptom.

For those that search - they seems to find a variety of diagnoses. Some ppl never find a DX (diagnosis) - however it's my contention that either something was missed - or more tests should have been done. I went a few years without a DX. Finally one astute Internal Medicine Doc provided me with one. No more fear or cold water for me.

It's my guess that for most this condition originates in the GI track - or structures closely related to it.  

Ice water will often make Cardiac SX (symptoms) more pronounced. Some studies report a link between very cold drinks and heart attacks

I encourage everyone to r/o (rule out) the possibility that this has a cardiac origin - even though I have serious doubts. Why risk your life? Our SX, (even though all seem to relieved by cold water) may not all even be the same. I - or you may forget to add a SX  - or I may interrupt my body's SX differently that someone else interrupts theirs. We're different.

I'll be very, very interested and am excited to hear your final DX. I'm delighted that you found this thread and that you are sharing your experience and journey.

I wish you well and will watch for further updates.

Take Care,
~Tuck






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I am 61 year old male and have had this for many years. 25 years ago they said angina, then reflux (which I do have) then esophagus spasms. I have had every scope up and down. CT scans, emergency room visits and ambulance.rides. No doctor has ever come up with an answer it just "this test and that test" to the tune of thousands of out of pocket money. I will never bring it up again with a doctor as they only want more tests to cover their rear.
I only get it in the chest. no neck or jaw. No earaches. just severe pain that builds and builds until I drink water. But even then after it subsides it comes back and I have to do this (drink water) over and over for an hour of so.  
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I am 61 year old male and have had this for many years. 25 years ago they said angina, then reflux (which I do have) then esophagus spasms. I have had every scope up and down. CT scans, emergency room visits and ambulance.rides. No doctor has ever come up with an answer it just "this test and that test" to the tune of thousands of out of pocket money. I will never bring it up again with a doctor as they only want more tests to cover their rear.
I only get it in the chest. no neck or jaw. No earaches. just severe pain that builds and builds until I drink water. But even then after it subsides it comes back and I have to do this (drink water) over and over for an hour of so.  
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547368 tn?1440545385
Thanks for your input to this old but very popular thread. I tried to discourage the continuation and encouraged all to begin a new thread. I no longer do that unless someone has new information - or their SX are different.

It is true that this thread does not get read by very many ppl due to it's age, other than those that have an interest in this phenomenon.

I assume in your case one of the DX you were given are correct - it just so happens that cold water relieves your SX. As I have stated before, I have esophagus spasms, GERD and a hiatal hernia. If those conditions are treated it doesn't mean I still don't have them. They are "cured." Cold water may still relieve my SX -  it doesn't mean the diagnoses were wrong or they aren't being treated. It means cold water still helps the SX. Does that make sense?

As I say to every poster - and as you have smartly done - have a thorough medical work-up with top-notch physicians. Be certain you are not dealing with a life threatening issue - again as you have done.

Thanks and don't be a stranger. MedHelp welcomes you to any of our many communities - including this one.

My Best,
~Tuck


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Hey all,

I found this thread because it seems to be the ONLY google hit for "chest pain relieved by drinking cold water".  Seems odd considering how many have written about it here.  Equally odd is on one seems to know definitively what causes it!

Anyway, I first experienced it in my teens, and when I asked my mom she said it's just a nitrogen bubble.  She's the one who told me to drink cold water.  This was many years ago as I'm now 54.  I doubt seriously that it's actually a nitrogen bubble, but who knows?  I didn't have it occur for many years after that, but it started happening occasionally about 5 years ago.  It's comforting to know water always clears it up right away for me, but it can be scary to get caught out without any water.  Interestingly, mine is often initiated by a strong sneeze, but not always.  It's always right in the center of my chest and very sharp.  One time it happened after a sneeze while I was on a flight during a turbulent period, and the seatbelt sign was on.  I still had to get up and ask a flight attendant for water.  I felt a little embarrassed but, as usual, it cleared up right away.

I have family history of heart disease, but never any issues myself.  I lost my brother at 52 when his heart just stopped.  He'd had stents but the cardiologist said he didn't die from congestive failure.  It was simply an arrhythmia.  Needless to say these episodes can still scare me at times, but I'm very fit and active, and they've been going on long enough that I can be reasonably sure they are benign and not heart related.

Just wanted to share my experience with you.  Thank so much for all your stories.  It's very good to know we are not alone!
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547368 tn?1440545385
Thanks for sharing.

I get a painful "bubble" in the middle of my chest -  I think most of us do. I have to belch or move about to relieve it. I doubt that's what you or most are talking about here. That may be the nitrogen bubble your mom was talking about?

I'm sorry to hear about your brother. He was too young.

Thanks for sharing.

~Tuck
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At 75 I have had a similar type of chest pain for 15 years on and off. It's happening more frequently now almost every day, whereas before I've not had it for months at a time. The first doctor I told had no idea what it was and was going to send me to a major hospital by ambulance. I said No, no, no it's not cardiac and with some research I thought it might be oesophageal spasm. i still believe this. The next doctor i told had never heard of esophageal spasm, Last night it started in the L side and radiated to the back . I had to get up and get a cold drink (any cold drink works for me). It then just melts away. At 2am I wanted to avoid getting up but, no, I have to have the drink. It's quite severe but does not interfere with my breathing. I don't get breathless and breathing doesn't make it worse. I'm quite sure it's from the oesophagus and whereas anxiety used to make it worse, I don't get anxious anymore about it. It's not crushing chest pain, doesn't interfere with breathing or make me extremely anxious. That's how I know it's not cardiac. Also I know I have some oesophageal inflammation at the present time, and am taking DGL and calcium citrate for it.
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547368 tn?1440545385
I'm so sorry you are experiencing this strange phenomenon also.

If you've read this long thread - you know it took several physicians and severe episodes before I was DX. It's a long story as I went several years before DX. I'll share with you the details.

During an office visit following several trips to ER for the SX - I consulted my new, astute Internal Medicine Physician - telling her how no one could DX me and I was at the end of my rope. She said I think you have ES. She informed me that the diagnostic "procedure" for ES is Diazepam with Nitroglycerin SL.  Diazepam IV is quicker and more effective but it can also be taken PO as than it can be administered at home - as can the Nitro.

She wrote it out on an RX pad and told me to carry it with me in case the episode reoccurred. Indeed it did - and the Internal Med Doc was correct. I have both meds at home and when I feel an attack becoming extreme I take both meds. I've never been to ER since with an ES.

You might want to consider that treatment - chat with your medical provider. It's like a wonder cure for ES.

I hope this helps. Good luck my friend in pain.

Warm Regards,
~Tuck
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thats interesting.. I have been taking Naproxen once per month for a couple of years.. maybe there is a connection.  Have you heard anything on this?
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To DeBug -  thank you soooooo much for starting this chain!

I've been perplexed about these symptoms for years, and no one in my circle can appreciate how terrible it feels, even my doctor.

It literally just have 1 sip of water for me and the pain and discomfort goes away instantly

What's the summary of how to treat this ?
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547368 tn?1440545385
Sorry my dear. Neither of the ppl that you have addressed your comments/questions to are active on MedHelp at this time. They have been absent for sometime.

If you read this very old thread carefully you'll find a lot of information. If you have questions of me - feel free to ask.

~Tuck
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Five years ago, the medics thought I was having heart attack because of this pain but everything's fine: I still have the same pain as you and everyone else though. I have been woken by it, been driving, anything and water is the only thing which stops it. I have never found out what it is, the medics don't know. I'm so glad I found this forum because I thought it was just me. I'm now 61 and wish I had a definitive answer.
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547368 tn?1440545385
Hello and Welcome.

I'm sorry that you too have this strange symptom. Debug is no longer active in MedHelp but this old thread has lots of ppl that come and go - all with the same calamity.

Have you consulted a Gastroenterologist? Many of us find this is a GI symptom (sx). At the very least make sure you have a thorough diagnostic work-up to rule out disease.

If you've read this long thread you know my story and the story of many others - some find a diagnosis - others have resigned to live with the sx - something I highly discourage.

Feel free to add more here or Post A Question.

Regards,
~Tuck
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So glad I found this discussion.

I'm a 34 year old male who has been experiencing the symptoms many of you have described. I am an otherwise very healthy elite athlete (100m sprinter / CrossFit), non smoker, non drinker.

I started being woken up by pains in my early to mid twenties. I would wake up with mild pain in my abdomen which would radiate into my chest and my back. Additionally I would feel pain through my jaw and mouth. It was always really hard to determine the origin of the pain, and often I'm quite delirious when I am awoken during deep sleep. It originally felt as though I either needed to twist to crack my spine/back or to burp to relieve wind. My wife suggested I take a drink of water to push any wind bubbles through. It helped within about 30 seconds.

I had concerns that it might be cardiac, however as stated I am very healthy, fit and strong and often endure very taxing workouts which would have shown heart issues.

I have experienced these attacks of pain only in the night, waking me from sleep. I have never had the issues while awake during the day. On average I would say I have experienced these issues twice per year for the past ten years or so.

Worth pointing out that every time I have been woken by the pains, I have been sleeping on my back with my head seemingly further up on the pillow than I would otherwise have consciously placed it. Perhaps this posture has affected my oesophagus' normal symmetry and actions during sleep, causing the spasm?

My most recent experience of this was last night, which prompted me to finally look it up. I suffer from anxiety and am currently going through a very stressful time with my mother terminally ill in hospital with cancer. I actually woke up and thought I was having a heart attack until I realised the symptoms and immediately drank water. A minute later I was back in bed feeling no more pain, however somewhat agitated from the fright of it all.

My grandmother does suffer from a hiatus hernia, however I do not suffer any sort of reflux that I am aware of.

Anyway, as I mentioned. I'm quite glad I found this discussion thread as it has eased my mind. I was worried I may have some cardiac issues as I have suffered from some random 'skip a beat' instances, however that's almost certainly due to my anxiety issues.
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547368 tn?1440545385
I'm so sorry to hear about your mom. My heart goes out to you. I lost my mom last year. Horrible!

I think you could benefit from a medical work-up. I encourage you to make an appt and at least get it checked out.

Best of Luck,
~Tuck
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I'm a 28 year old man that's been having these symptoms more and more frequently starting about 5 years or so ago. Mt first in since the first time it happened was to grab some cold water and the pain immediately receded. The pain often radiates around the right side of my chest and I can definitely feel tightening in my esophogous. I've read almost this entire thread. And based on my own personal experience, and seeing what others are going through and their diagnoses', I believe my symptoms are caused by esophageal spasms and that dehydration is a trigger for them. Just last night I had a great time hanging with my friends and drank quite a few beers. I woke up extremely dehydrated and the pains in my chest and esophogous started. Today I've been having them off and on all day. I also think it's interesting that cigarettes are actually a muscle relaxer. I smoke at least half a pack a day but last night, because of my drinking, I probably smoked over a whole pack in around a 10 hour period. Usually these pains don't occur very frequently. But these things had to be contributing factors. I believe that the cold water shocks the nerves and muscles in the esophogous and causes them to relax. This sounds extremely logical to me. Just to be safe, I'm going to schedule a doctors appointment. I need to get a physical anyway. But thank you all for posting your thoughts on the matter and trying to work together to find a solution. I'm glad to hear that it's a good chance that this isn't heart related. Debug syndrome sounds like a great name for this condition. :)
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Hey everyone! I've been having the same problem for a few years now; stabbing chest pain that only cold water could help with. I have noticed that I get these pains when I haven't taken an adequate amount of water for a period of days, so it's to do with dehydration. Smoking will not help, just make sure you're taking your recommended daily intake of water and you'll be fine :)
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547368 tn?1440545385
Welcome. I'm sorry you both suffer from this strange SX (symptom) that seems to be relieved by cold water.

At first glance I thought BeBug was DeBug who began this thread in January of 2011. As I've said earlier this thread seems to have a life of it's own.  

Neither of you talked about consulting a Medical Provider and having a good clinical work-up accompanied by testing. This frightens me.

It's true that GERD (Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease) including Esophageal spasms can mimic Cardiac SX - but it goes both ways.
A MI (Myocardial Infarction) or a Cardiac Event can mimic GERD. One should never assume. It can be deadly. Once - and if your medical provider R/O (rules out) cardiac issues or even Gastroesophageal or Gastrointestinal  and can't offer treatments than you can try self treating. Until you have the a "clean bill of health" please don't self treat or medicate.

Esophageal spasms  (ES) are abnormal contractions of the muscles in the esophagus. They can be Chronic but more often you'll also have an Acute episode. Acute ES is horrid pain - I think I'm dying pain. They have been compared to a bout of Kidney Stones, some think it's worse. I've had both and I think they are about equal - depending on the stone or the severity of the ES episode. There are things that can treat ES. Nitro and muscle relaxers like Diazepam can be very effective. See this thread for more info.

GERD isn't a simple disease either. It can have some very serious complications such as Barret's Disease also called Barrett's Esophagus. This brings an increase the risk of developing esophageal adenocarcinoma, which is a very serious, potentially fatal cancer of the esophagus.

So please don't dismiss your SX simply because you've found a thread that contains a lot of other ppl with your SX. Yes some have had their SX investigated and nothing was found. We have a few that have actually become angry with me for suggesting a medical evaluation - that's okay. I stand form that all who have this SX should consult their physician.

Tobias, Smoking can actually irritate the Gastroesophageal area. I know there are studies that claim nicotine and marijuana help relax or reduce the motion (peristalsis) of the GI track, including the esophagus. I believe those  conclusions - but that fact remains it's also irritating and is thought to precipitate ES. So be cautious. You're heavier smoking along with the irritation of the alcohol to your upper GI could have helped cause the episode you experienced.

I'm glad that cold water helps you both - just make sure you know what you are treating. I wish you both the very best and hope to hear from you again soon.

Take Care,
~Tuck
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I have the same problem. I recently tried drinking two swallows of apple cider vinegar and it worked.  Sometimes after I drink water it comes back but the vinegar solves it until the next episode.
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547368 tn?1440545385
Hello and Welcome.

I am not a medical practitioner - no one on this thread is a medical practitioner. That said, your SX (symptoms) truly sound like a gastrointestinal problem - namely GERD.

Please consult your physician. There are consequences for not treating GERD effectively. I don't want you to suffer them.

Good Luck my dear - and thanks for posting. I hope to hear more from you.

Take Care,
~Tuck
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I am 65 and have had this problem for years. I thought it was gallstone pain as I have had gallstones for years. Over the years the pain has increased in intensity and fequency but I didn't worry too much as I found drinking water immediately relieved the pain. It didn't have to be cold water, just tap water would do it, but I would need a couple of glasses. I foolishly did not consult a doctor til I started to experience some ongoing slight pain and discomfort up behind my right rib. Doctor suggested it was caused by GERD and prescribed beta blockers but I couldn't believe it because I have never had indigestion or reflux at all. Now I have found online there is a thing called Laryngopharyngeal Reflux (Silent Reflux) and that it is possible to have GERD without any heartburn or indigestion symptoms at all. I have discovered also that GERD can lead to oesophagus cancer if left untreated and so I urge anyone who has the pains that have been described in these posts to consult their doctor urgently and get tested. While most people who have these symptoms probably don't have cancer they may have the potential to develop it in the future. So change your eating habits now. I don't smoke but if you do you should stop.
Also give up caffeine and alcohol, greasy foods and check to see what other foods may upset you, some foods can be surprisingly problematic, such as tomatoes for example. Clean up your diet and lifestyle and drink lots of water even when you don't have pain and hopefully your pain will never return and you won't get cancer.
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547368 tn?1440545385
Welcome and thank you for your input.

You are correct. We often think of GERD (Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease) when we think of Reflux Disease. However Laryngopharyngeal reflux (LPR) is similar to GERD in that is it also a reflux disease - you just don't hear as much about it. I have LPR and GERD.  

LPR differes from GERD by structure. This from a trusted website:  "At either end of your esophagus is a ring of muscle (sphincter). Normally, these sphincters keep the contents of your stomach where they belong -- in your stomach. But with LPR, the sphincters don't work right. Stomach acid backs up into the back of your throat (pharynx) or voice box (larynx), or even into the back of your nasal airway. It can cause inflammation in areas that are not protected against gastric acid exposure."

I don't know how many times I have said on this thread - "please consult your medical provider."  I know many have had clinical evaluation, including testing. It doesn't mean that something may have been missed - it also doesn't mean that something was missed - so I don't want to frighten anyone. Second and even third opinions should always be considered.  

GERD and LPR can cause a condition known as Barrett's Esophagus. That is the per-cancerous condition associated with these reflux diseases - and/or the cancer that you spoke about. It's been discussed in this long and very old thread. It is real. Sadly it left untreated, it can lead to cancer of the esophagus. About 3.3 million American adults have Barrett's esophagus. The good news is it can be treated.  No one wants Esophageal Cancer. It's an ugly, painful way to leave this earth!

Thanks for sharing your experience and comments. It is my hope that this thread will be seen by others and they will seek help. Readers and Members - if you have chest pain relieved by water, cold or not - please keep searching until you find a DX.

Take Care,
~Tuck
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I have had this pain for a long time.  First few times I thought I was dying.  Almost in panic mode every time even knowing water helps it.  I also have severe reflux but this is different.   I've been seeing my GI doctor for a few other things and have had very thorough work ups.  My doctor has come to the conclusion after physically witnessing an attack as well as my medical history that it is dehydratiom.  I've since increased my water intake daily and have not suffered another attack....  that's my experience only.  I would recommend seeing your own doctor just to be sure as no two people are exactly alike.   However I would give increasing your daily water intake a try.  always good to stay hydrated anyway right.  
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547368 tn?1440545385
Thanks for sharing your experience and diagnosis with us. I'm very glad that you've had a detailed diagnostic evaluation.

It's not common that dehydration (excluding Heat Stroke or Heat Exhaustion) can cause these SXs without any accompanying symptoms. Anything is possible - and I certainly believe you and your physician. Certainly we know that dehydration can cause a multitude of painful and seemingly strange SXs. It's a good reminder of the importance of remaining well hydrated!

For our readers, Dehydration occurs when our liquid intake is low and we get rid of more fluids than we take in.  Ppl that live in warm climates - or in any type of climate during summer/warm months tend experience dehydration more often.  Once we have had an episode of dehydration we are more prone to having another.

I'm glad you found an answer and are treating it successfully. Stop by any time. :o)  We welcome input and comments in our Pain Management Community - or in any of our MedHelp Forums.

Thanks and Best of Luck,
~Tuck

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I experience this pain also, and yes water helps.  I usually have a severe case of urticaria (hives) when the pain happens.  Just courious if anyone else out there also suffers with hives and has the pain in the esophagus.  Thanks
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547368 tn?1440545385
Hi NettieTop,

Welcome! I'm sorry to read that you are plagued with this anomaly too.

I haven't heard of others having Urticaria. As you know, when you experience Urticaria - it normally has an allergic trigger. Have you consulted your medical provider? If not I highly recommend that you do.

If what you are experiencing is an Allergy reaction than it makes sense that cold water would help relieve your SX.  The cold water will temporarily sooth inflamed mucus membranes and/or GI track linings. The inflammation could be caused by the allergic reaction - hence the hives or Urticaria!

I hope you'll also consult a Allergist. We'll look forward to hearing more from you!

My Best to You,
~Tuck
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I am a 45 year old woman from Norway who have exactly the same chest pain you all describe . Have been to gastroscopy , which was normal . Biopsy: Normal . Have also been to 24h pH and manometry which was also normal , but " hinted synchronous contractions by dry throat, but no pain then ." Think even it must be spasms of the esophagus , since the pain go over with cold water. Wrote down every time I had pain for 2 years to see if I could find out if there was a pattern , but without success. I had 26 episodes of chestpain for one year, sometimes 1-2 times a week , but it can also go two months where I do not have pain . Great to know ( sorry) that I not alone , it 's like reading about myself . I hope we will find this out in future.
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1554262 tn?1374243601
Achalasia of the esophagus. I finally found the reason. It's rare, but explains what has been going on since my first post here all those years ago. Just wanted to pass it along.

DeBug
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1554262 tn?1374243601
Hi Tuck! Thanks for keeping this thread going. I was confused when I saw BeDug in your post as that seems like a play on my nick of DeBug. I was without insurance since 2009 but finally was in a position to join a plan in January of this year. I'm getting caught up on the testing and such. This has been a strange one for me but I'm glad my doc thinks he has found the problem. There is another test coming to measure the pressure during swallowing. As an aside, I had an attack this morning before the test. Of course there was the No food or water before the procedure so that left me in a bind. I always carry water so I took the smallest sips I could and everything went back to normal.

Best regards,

DeBug  
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547368 tn?1440545385
Hello DeBug,

I can't thank you enough for returning and sharing your DX (diagnosis) with us. I'm delighted to see you and more delighted that after all these years you have a DX. Awesome!

BeBug must have been a typo - sorry DeBug! I haven't kept your thread alive - you owe me no thanks - our many members have done so. ;o)  Your SXs are apparently not so rare!

For our members that don't know:  The lower esophageal sphincter (LES) is a valve that closes off the esophagus from the stomach. If you have Achalasia, your LES fails to open up during swallowing, which it’s supposed to do. This leads to a backup of food within your esophagus. This is what has been causing your pain and SX (symptoms).  You're right, it is rare.

Your "story" is a sad, but excellent example of the time it can take to find a DX. Sadly it's not a rare occurrence. Many times ppl have pain - or SX that are not easily explained by the usual and customary testings. Indeed sometimes a testy will  falsely "read" negative when it isn't. Why this occurs is anyone's guess but it does happen. When the one time false negative is found, practitioners move on - dismissing the SX and believing the false test results 100%.

So how do they test for your condition?  Esophageal Manometry is often utilized to diagnose Achalasia - or a Barium Swallow and sometimes Practitioners prefer to perform an Endoscopy. It all depends on the Physician.

I wish you the best with your treatment. A dilation procedure is often used to treat this condition. Whatever treatment your Practitioner determines is right for you I hope your SX will be alleviated.  

Again, thank you so very much for returning and sharing your update. It's taken much to long for you to find answers. I hope you'll continue to keep us updated. As you can see your thread is often active with ppl that have the same or very similar SXs to yours. It has taken on a life of it's own. We'll all be interested in hearing the rest of your story! Your perseverance is admirable!

Warm Regards and Thanks,
~Tuck
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Hi NettieTop,

The first time I had this pain I also had urticaria. My allergist thought it was part of whatever was causing my hives, but I have had the pain since with no hives, so I'm not sure. I do think it could be stress related because, as you probably know, having hives is very stressful. I have also noticed that when I have these episodes now my stress level is higher than normal. Water does help but it does not go away immediately. I have also taken Gas-X and this usually relieves it pretty quick. I am planning to go to the Dr.and have this evaluated because it is happening more frequently. I will post here if I get any new information.
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547368 tn?1440545385
Hello and Welcome to this very old but very interesting thread.

I don't believe that Nettietop is still active in our community. Don't let that stop you from adding information or posting questions, As you can see this thread has a life of it's own.

It's interesting that Gas-X  provides some relief. That fact may indicate that it is GI related. It'll be interesting to hear about your results.

Looking forward to hearing more from you.

Regards,
~Tuck
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Interesting to read this thread. I had my 'first attack' of this 25 years ago.  Seriously, thought I was having a heart attck, because the pain was so severe.  It's happened off and on over the years, and I was basically lucky and smart enough to figure out it's relieved by drinking.  Thankfully, didn't have to endure al of the tests.  I do have reflux and although don't have a confirmed diagnosis of hiatal hernia, I'm pretty sure I have one.  Would be interested to know what other thing might correlate, like physique?
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Hi, so glad to read I am not alone. I am a 24 year old female and I have been having these symptoms since I was about 17. I found out about the water trick early on. For me, the temperature of the water does not matter. I have the pains a little less than once a week, though they were less frequent for the first few years. They happen most often at night while I am sleeping and the pain wakes me up, but they have happened during the day as well. For me, the pain is localized in my chest/lower throat, and is never in my head or ears as some experience. I never thought about it being on the right side until I read some of these posts: it's pretty central, but with just the lingering memory of my most recent attack 20 minutes ago, I would agree that it's slightly located to the right.
Out of fear that one day the water trick will no longer work, I had discussed this with doctors as well. I had a Barium Swallow and an Upper Endoscopy with a Biopsy, and neither one provided any insight, except that the Barium Swallow revealed that the lower part of my throat/esophagus is narrower than normal.
I have long since thought that a few other issues of mine may be linked to the issue: first, when I eat dry food too fast or in an uncomfortable position, it gets stuck in my throat in a pretty scary way until I drink some water. The feeling is a much less and different pain than the attacks, just uncomfortable, and water, with the food-clogged throat, though necessary, is by no means as fast a relief as it is for the sharp pain attacks. Second, when I sit still and quiet after eating a meal or snack, my throat makes lots of rumbly noises occasionally for quite a while, in ways that no one else's does. No pain, just lots of silly gurgling.
I haven't tried super hard, but I haven't found a link to any types of foods. I will try to think about that more, and also any link between dehydration, stress, chocolate, coffee, and alcohol as people have mentioned, though none of those seem probable for me.
I've never thought it relevant, but since people were discussing a possible link to anxiety or panic attacks: I've never had it formally diagnosed (though my parents looked into it when I was younger) but: I have self diagnosed as having a mild form of depersonalization disorder, which I've had symptoms for since I was about 11, though in this case it's gotten slightly better over the years. No other medical conditions for me at this point in my life or in the past.
So glad this forum exits; all my best to all of you, and hopefully we will get some answers soon. -CRA
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