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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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?
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 ?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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,
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. :)
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 :)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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,
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,
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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
For 3 days, I had a slightly different pain (chest tightness behind my ribcage, almost cramping my breathing), and I did the same thing as you did -- drinking water seemed to make it disappear after a few minutes. Not drinking, or being even slightly thirsty would bring it on. I did this for 3 days, and then suffered a heart attack despite drinking water!!!
My heart attack was a STEMI (ST Elevated Myocardiac Infarct) caused by a 95% blockage in my proximal LAD artery. It needed an emergency stent placed in.
As I got to the emergency room, I was given asprin and nitroglycerin which relieved the problem. Soon after I peed 500 ml. (this was into a bottle, so that's how I know). Half an hour later, after the stent was in, I urinated another 600 ml. That's 1.1 litres in less than an hour -- that's how much excess water my body was holding down. I haven't felt as thirsty since the stent went in. :)
A nurse at the hospital theorised that the excess water increased my blood volume and mitigated the artery blockage. I had visited my GP the day before my attack but he had not given me a ECG. I visited him again today, and told him about this.
What iknowmorenow said is interesting and maybe a revelation to me. I began suffering this same thing about a year ago. Started like everyone else... Happened occasionally and sometimes more often. In the beginning of September it began happening almost every morning. A couple weeks later it was happening in the morning and mid day. By the end of September it was happening in the morning, during the day and at night. Then one day I ended up drinking so much water trying to make it stop, I ended up throwing up the water. I felt different and not right that night, and asked my girlfriend to drive me to the emergency. I didn't make it. I had a massive heart attack. Complete shut down. They had to put me in an induced thermal coma to save my brain cells. Luckily I pulled through without any major damage. I was a heavy drinker and smoker. When I got out of the hospital, I continued to not drink or smoke. I still don't smoke. But the kidney specialist gave me the ok to enjoy a glass of wine with dinner if I chose to as long as I don't over drink or abuse alcohol. I drank 3 glasses of wine one night and the next morning I woke up running to the kitchen for a glass of cold water with that pain again. The reason I said what "iknowmorenow" said was interesting, is because I'm thinking that although I still don't know what causes the frantic rush for cold water, I am convinced that if it gets to a point where the condition gets worse and requires more water to get relief, it may be possible that excess water could cause a system overload that could lead to a heart attack. (what the nurse theorized) Also, the fact that I had no symptoms after getting out of the hospital, but as soon as I drink some alcohol, the symptom returns makes me wonder... hhmmm??
(btw.. I'm 52)
Enjoying my 75th trip around the sun. Have similar symptoms as posted by Debug in 2011 that I have had for past 10-15 yrs. Sudden onset of crushing chest pain usually while sleeping that feels like a prelude to heart attack. Also stumbled upon the cold water solution which provides almost immediate relief. Frequency of episodes has been fairly consistent over the years at 5-10 per year. Did mention the symptoms/solution to primary care physician who discounted it as something he never heard of.
I have always thought this was and is a dehydration issue in my case. I'm a former marathoner (1978-1989) but recently walked the 2015 Boston marathon. I'm familiar with what dehydration can do with regard to my own personal fatigue as I commonly don't drink enough water for my level of activity. But, for me at least, it is hard not to conclude that the chest pains/cold water are just another extension of problems that dehydration can cause. One sure, quick, and cheap way to determine proper hydration levels is to check the color of your urine. If it is anything but clear or a slight tint of yellow you might need a drink of water.
Hydration levels maybe a solution for some folks on this thread, but for those with other symptoms or perhaps more than just dehydration going on then finding that miracle of a medical professional may be the path to relief.
I have had these exact same symptoms going on now for about the last 10 years. I have found that it's not so much the water (or any drink at any temperature) that relieves the pain as it is the tiny, almost imperceptible burp that follows the sip. There have been a few times when the attack came on when I could not get to anything to drink - like travelling on a train. In these situations I have found that forcing myself to burp by "swallowing air" will also make the attack go away, although taking a little drink of something seems to do it faster.
I have had the same symptoms for about 14 years. My pains usually start with a headache around my temples & ears radiating down my neck into my chest & back. The pains are very severe. It feels like my chest & back are so tight that they are caving into each other, including the head & neck pains. It lasts anywhere from 15-20 minutes very severely. My only relief was for me to Lie Down On My Back on a Hard Surface ie: the floor or ground until it is tolerable to move! Sometimes it comes & goes all day, or for several days!
Then I discovered that drinking water made the pains go away almost as fast as they had appeared! Now I immediately reach for water. I make sure to always carry a bottle of water to sip during these times.
I wish that I knew the real reasons & causes.
Hello everyone , iam facing the same issue since three years . Cold water or a small bite is the only solution till now , i had many tests including the akalasia thing and came back negative . After endoscopy i was diagonized with metaplasia and barret syndrome . Also iam facing some anxiety symptoms and not sure if that came before or after the chest pain , for the last 6 months a new thing happened to me , iam not able to burp and food is getting stuck in my throat soemtimes .
More tests this week , i will keep you posted .
Gosh it's in my ears, too. So glad I found this thread, makes me feel better. It's hurting as we speak. Off to find some cold water....
I’m so glad I found this thread! I have so many of the same symptoms that others have mentioned, I’ve been taking notes as I read – there are so many things I want to mention. Thanks Tuck for all of the thoughtful responses!
I’m a 36 year old female, I’ve been having these chest pains since I was in high school. I just recently discovered that cold water helps, so I’ve been dealing with the pain for a long time. Whenever I feel the pain starting, I’m in a panic to get cold water, so I now carry water with me at all times. If I don’t drink cold water (or before I discovered the cold water trick), the pain usually lasts for a couple hours, and it is incredibly painful to deal with – it feels like a heart attack. Cold water works better, although room-temperature water is usually ok. The drink can’t be hot, and carbonated beverages don’t help. There’s no regularity to the pains, I used to go months without them bothering me, but they usually happen several times a week, or even multiple times a day.
The pain can hit at any time of the day, whether I’m lying down or standing/sitting, it’s not related to exercise or anything I eat. It can wake me up out of a dead sleep. Sometimes I’m sleeping perfectly still when it happens, but I have found that it frequently happens when I switch positions, especially turning onto my left side. The pain is usually in the center of my chest, maybe a bit more on the right side, and sometimes extends to my right jaw if I don’t get cold water fast enough. I don’t smoke, and I rarely drink caffeine or carbonated beverages. I’m a bit overweight now, but when they started bothering me, I was in very good shape and exercised regularly. I don’t have any anxiety or depression. I’m not dehydrated. I have normal blood pressure. I do have gallstones, but my doctor doesn’t think the pains are related.
A few random things: I get gurgling in my throat every time I eat or drink anything. It’s not painful, or even really uncomfortable, just extremely embarrassing if I’m eating somewhere quiet. Also, and I haven’t seen anyone else mention this, but I have a really hard time burping – not just during the chest pains, but I pretty much never burp, even when I drink something carbonated. I always try to force a burp when I get the chest pain, in an effort to relieve the pressure, but even when I can get one out, it doesn’t seem to help at all.
I’ve had an endoscopy, and the doctor didn’t find any problems or any evidence of acid reflux. He diagnosed the pains as esophageal spasms. I’ve tried a couple different medications: I take ranitidine and omeprazole daily, although I’m not sure they help. I take Maalox and/or Tums when the pain hits, with no effect. I’m currently taking diltiazem, and didn’t think it made a difference – but when I went off the medication and switched to a low level of an antidepressant, I found that the pains were a lot worse and cold water didn’t help anymore. I’m not sure if it was a negative reaction to the antidepressant or if the diltiazem helped more than I realized, but I quickly switched back to diltiazem and the cold water helps again. I didn’t discover the cold water trick until after I’d started the diltiazem, so I’m not sure if cold water would work if I were off the medication, and I’m not about to find out.
My doctor has diagnosed me with esophageal spasms, but I also get a different pain when I eat that I think is a true esophageal spasm – pretty much every time I eat a meal (but especially if I eat quickly), the food gets stuck and I’m in horrible pain. I have to step away from the table pretty much every meal, and it often takes me an hour or more to eat a meal. The pain is different than the previously described chest pains, and not only does water not help these, it makes it exponentially worse. In fact, I can’t drink anything at all when I eat. I’m not sure if these two different types of “esophageal spasms” are related, since they react completely differently to drinking water. I’ve only had this pain for the past couple years, and it’s definitely getting worse as time goes on.
I’m so glad to find that I’m not alone in this! I’ve found some good ideas to ask my doctor about at my next appointment, hopefully we can find something that helps, but just finding out that cold water helps is a huge relief.
I am very sorry to tell you that it realy seems to be a prinzmetal angina. I am 37 years old. I have all this symptoms an I had an heart attack in 2015 and a s-icd implanted because a had a Torsade de Pointes with reanimation the same night. I also have a cardial bridge that will make the attacks worse when I laying on my left side. I'm on Diltiazem and ISDN and I don't have so many attacks any more and when I have one it's doesn't hurt anymore like the devil is inside of me and I try to relief it with a nitro spray. I often call the ambulance to be sure, that it get's better or sometimes when the spray doesn't work. Then they make an ecg but most of the time they don't see anything and this is normal for prinzmetal. When I had my heart attack the have seen nothing since they got in with a catheter. Then the doctor said: oh, look there you have a spasm! It's a little heart attack.
Please, when you have the attack, call the ambulance to take you with them. Maybe they catch the St-elevation.
The only thing I know to get out If you have prinzmetal, is to find a hospital that makes a test with acetylcholine.
As well I have spasm in my fingers, toes and arms like raynaud's without getting blue but very painful.The doctor saw it making a oscillography.
I hoped it would be another diagnosis but after 2 years I am hopeless.
Drinking water or eating a bite activates your vagus nerve ( like vasalva). So you can handle bradycardia and high blood pressure. That it seems to be why it works.
Sometimes I think I have also roemheld syndrome. But I 've sure had a cardiac spasm. I have it on DVD.
Antidepressants will make it worse because of the symapticus nerve. It is a trigger like very cold air, very hot air, choline and amphetamines.
I wanted to leave another update as to my progress and symptoms. It's been over a year since I had surgery for Achalasia. The surgery helped and I now have those chest pains much less. When I do have them, they are not as severe. I still have water bottles placed all over the house and in my truck just in case. Cold water is still my best way to knock back the pain both before and after the surgery. I have taken on a dry coughs from time to time which can last for a few weeks or a few months. Not sure if that is related to the Achalasia or the surgery. I simply noticed that I started having them after recovering from the surgery.
I hope that each and every one of you finds relief in one way or another. I doubt that all of you have Achalasia, but be sure to rule that out if no other diagnosis pans out.
Treadmill test doesn't show anything if it is Prinzmetal angina. This is a rest-angina.
Hi DeBug - Thanks for the update! I just wanted to say thanks to you (and everyone else on here) for documenting their symptoms, because I don't think I would have been diagnosed otherwise. I was just diagnosed with Achalasia - thanks to a barium swallow that I wouldn't have known to request if it weren't for the comments here, and a subsequent manometry test. I'm planning my surgery for next summer. The sphincter muscle at the bottom of my esophagus isn't working very well, but for me, the main issue is that my esophagus isn't contracting correctly and is EXTREMELY stretched out - it looked like a balloon on the imaging. So hopefully the surgery will help fix this. We decided Botox probably wasn't worth it.
To address Pulpo above, I have been taking diltiazem (120 and 180 mg) with no effect, so I stopped taking that and am also in the process of cutting out the ranitidine and omeprazole, none of which seem to do anything since I don't actually have GERD.
Oh, also, the Doctor said she frequently heard from people with achalasia that water (cold for some people, warm for others) helps the pain go away, so we're certainly not alone in that. I'm just glad I have a diagnosis and a possible plan forward!
Thanks again, and good luck!
I have been also getting this weird pain usually when I lay down and sleep I wake up with a crushing pain in my chest that feels like a chip is stuck in my esophagus and scraping. I found on my own that taking a drink of cold water immediately makes the pain stop and go away. Does this sound at all familiar?
I have had similar problems in the past. It was all part of having GERD, where your stomach contents rise up past the sphincter muscle at the bottom of the esophagus and top of the stomach. When this happens, you can get some really intense pain in the chest, behind the sternum. My problem is that it can get so bad that my teeth on the right side start to hurt. When I first started getting it, usually a shot of Mylanta or something to stop the burn would help, but then that stopped working, so I had to graduate to baking soda, and when that failed to help, aspirin (much to my doctor's ire). If I wake up in the middle of the night feeling the burn, I just pop a couple of aspirin and go back to sleep.
"Sudden onset of crushing chest pain usually while sleeping that feels like a prelude to heart attack. Also stumbled upon the cold water solution which provides almost immediate relief"
That is exactly what I have and have experienced. All of a sudden about 10 years ago I had this chest pain sitting in my office. I was mortified, because it was on the chest and so severe. I was afraid to move thinking I am having a heart attack. I work for Hopkins so had the privilege of walking over to the hospital. While waiting in ER, the pain gradually went away, I decided to go back to office. Following that, yes, tons of tests, nobody seems to know. I think I am the only one said cramp spasm... One day I 'stumbled' on cold water solution, worked like a charm. Like many of you, first sip of cold water, the pain 'melts' away. Amazing.
I get it about 3-5 times a year, I think, for the last 10 years... and 'looking forward' to many years of this accompanying me. Thanks all for sharing.
I've been following this thread for quite some time now without ever sharing my story in hopes of getting more information about what is going on with all of us. I hope I can help some of you going through this excruciating discomfort. Some of your situations are practically identical to mine, others not so much. My "chest" pain doesn't come at night or during sleep like a lot of people in this post; it is COMPLETELY RANDOM. Now that I think about it actually, I have never gotten it during sleep. I would, however, get it some times just before or after I wake up. Im a 27 year old male. The first time I had an attack I was 14 and sleeping over a friend's house. We went to bed and as I was trying to fall asleep I started feeling this kind of slow pinch [flowing-poison] inside of my chest and neck. I thought I was having a heart attack but a few minutes later the pain went away. It literally felt like my nerves or veins were filled with poison/bad blood? It starts out in the side of the neck, goes all the way to the center of the chest, through my upper back/shoulders, around my jaws and teeth. I'll even hear some type of sparkling under the back of my tongue; as if the poison or liquid had reached its destination and bubbled off. I didn't get another attack for a couple of years after that but at a certain point, attacks were more and more frequent. That's that for the how and when. Now the interesting part...
I visited, in all, 7 doctors ( 1 family doctor, 6 emergency practitioners). My family doctor brushed it off as muscular spasms at first. I wasn't satisfied with his diagnosis hence the emergency. Out of the 6 doctors I saw, 5 of them had no idea what I was talking about and recommended I speak to my family doctor about it (they probably thought I was out of my mind and this was psychological). Which is fair right? We do sound over dramatic with no apparent signs of disease. One day, a couple of years ago, I got an attack so severe, it went on for 5 hours, throbbing and aching. I started tasting iron in my mouth (BLOOD?!). It was blood. Not thick red blood but my saliva was pinkish. I drank cold water and TADAAA! Pain gone instantly. That's the first time I discovered the oh-so-simple remedy. I was relieved but I was scare ******** nevertheless (excuse my language). As i share this new discovery with my FamDoc, he recommends an esophageal and neck X-Ray theorizing it is either GERD, Esophageal Spasms or neck sprain. I'm sorry to be the bearer of bad news guys; RESULTS CAME BACK NORMAL. Nothing wrong with my esophagus or my neck. At this point the doctor looks at me with humble confusion and says "I have no idea where to send you or what kind of specialist to recommend". This obviously worries me but he had one final trick up his sleeve to try; Domperidone.
Domperidone, sold under the brand name Motilium among others, is a peripherally selective dopamine D2 receptor antagonist that was developed by Janssen Pharmaceutica and is used as an antiemetic, gastroprokinetic agent, and galactagogue. It may be administered orally or rectally, and is available in the form of tablets, orally disintegrating tablets (based on Zydis technology), suspension, and suppositories. The drug is used to relieve nausea and vomiting; to increase the transit of food through the stomach (by increasing gastrointestinal peristalsis); and to promote lactation (breast milk production) by release of prolactin.
I know what you're thinking. Dopamine? Gastroprokinetic? Basically, this stuff makes your stomach better at digesting and speeds up the process of digestion. It is acutally mainly used to help pregnant women produce breast milk. To my wonderful surprise, after now 1 month of taking 3 tablets a day (1 before each meal), attacks have vanished. I got one LITTLE attack at some point a couple of weeks ago and drank water, I was good. Nothing since. I am still not absolutely sure this is the solution to the problem but it is definitely helping and may help find the cause at the roots of all this.
Sorry for the rambling but I've been patiently waiting to be able to share something worth a damn and there it is. Thank you for bearing through this text. I hope this has shed some light on the issue for some of you. For the ones that dont relate to this; hang in there! The solution is out there you just need to keep drinking your cold water and dont be scared to try things that might not make sense.