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esophageal spasm?

I have been experiencing what I think is esophageal spasms. Symptoms are excessive spasmodic belching, discomfort in the center to upper chest area, almost like a knot. This becomes most pronounced during periods of stress.  I have been prescribed Prilosec which doesn't seem to relieve my symptoms. However, alprazolam at .5mg eases the feeling and it eventually goes away.  My question is then, is there such a thing as stress-induced spasm of the esophagus?
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Avatar universal
FOR SERVERAL MONTHS I HAVE SUFFERED WITH A FEELING OF SOMETHING STUCK IN MY THROAT ( ABOUT THE SIZE OF AN ASPRIN)  AFTER HAVING ALL KINDS OF TESTING THEY NOW TELL ME THAT I HAVE ACID REFLUX
I NEVER SEAM TO SUFFER FROM "HEARTBURN" SO TO SPEAK I DO BELCH ALOT BUT THE DOCTORS DIDN'T SEAM TO THINK THAT HAD ANY BEARING ON MY COMPLAINTS.  I TWO SUFFER FROM THE SEVERE PAIN IN THE CHEST, RIB CAGE, SHOULDER BLADES, I ALSO SUFFER FROM PANIC ATTACKS NOW-I ALWAYS SEAM TO BE STRUGGLING FOR A DEEP BREATH-I WAS TOLD THIS IS ANXIETY ATTACKS-SOME DAYS ARE BETTER THAN OTHERS.  I WAS GIVEN PREVECID AND ZANTAC - I'VE ONLY BEEN ON THIS FOR 4DAYS AND I WONDER IF ANYONE ELSE HAS EXPERIENCED THIS AWFUL ILLNESS.
Avatar universal
Hi, This is in response to B. Hobbs.  I happened to be at this site because I've been experiencing some major malfunctioning of my upper digestive tract (tentative diagnosis is esophagitis).  B., when I saw your posting, I had to answer you.  I don't really have any info. for you on your digestive problems, but I did want to give you some input on your anxiety, your struggle to catch your breath in particular.  I was diagnosed with panic disorder about ten years ago, and the difficulty I had getting a deep breath was the first symptom I noticed.  It's like one day I woke up and I just couldn't breathe right any more.  My rythmn was all off, and I could no longer catch that deep breath.  I became hyper-aware of my breathing, and it started driving me crazy.  I also started feeling like I was smothering -- literally, like someone was holding a pillow over my face and I was trying to breathe through it.  This made me struggle for breath even more, even further screwing up the situation (though I didn't know that was what was happening at the time).  After a couple of weeks of this, the frustration was unbearable, and it was then that I began having major panic attacks, which set off a whole avalanche of other horrible and frightening symptoms.  Thus began my super-long quest for help, going from one jerk of a dr. who thought I was nuts to another.  Finally I found one who knew what was happening to me, and he literally saved my life, as I felt that, although I didn't want to die, if this was what the quality of my life was going to be, I'd rather just say thanks, but no thanks.  I couldn't stand it, and I planned to kill myself.  The doc. took me off all the junk that had thus far been prescribed (including anti-psychotics -- tells you just what these other docs thought of me, eh?), and put me on 50 mg. of Doxepin at bedtime (it really knocks you out, and I definitely was in need of some sleep by this time -- plus I was in dire need of the anti-depressant effect as well), plus four mg. of Xanax spaced throughout the day.  He also recommended the books written by Claire Weekes, and the result of my reading and the meds. was a true miracle.  As time passed, I got my life back.  As I said, this was ten years ago.  There are times when I still have trouble, and I'll go back on medication for awhile, but thanks to greatly increased understanding and the loss of fear of the symptoms (even though I still hate them), I have gone for tremendous periods of time with no medication at all.
I don't know the extent of your medical problem, but anxiety will mess up anyone's breathing.  I used to know all the technical reasons, but it has something to do with hyperventilation changing the ph levels in the blood.  It's a vicious circle, because the more anxious you are, the faster your breathing becomes, but rather than helping, it makes things worse, and you develop a condition called "air hunger," where you really do feel like you're suffocating, and so struggle all the more.  In addition, the tension in your body causes all your muscles -- including the muscles in your chest -- to clench up, and this not only makes it harder to expand your lungs, it will cause your chest to get sore and ache.  I remember just wishing I could go back to the time in my life when I just breathed and didn't think -- I should say obsess -- about it.  But it's really hard when you can't catch that deep breath.  Out of all the absolutely horrible things I experienced (it's amazing what excessive anxiety can do to your body -- which in turn creates more anxiety), I think that the difficulty breathing was the worst, and that's why I wanted to write to you.  I've been there.  And guess what?  It does get better!  Some people can do it on their own, but I couldn't -- I really needed the medication to break the panic-symptom-panic cycle.  Once I started getting some sleep and my body started calming down and returning to normal, so did my breathing.  It did take time, but eventually, I got to the point where I never had to struggle for breath, and finally, to where I was able to forget about it again.  About 90% of the time now, I just breathe, have no trouble catching my breath, and never even think of it.  On the occasion I do get anxious, I don't let my breathing freak me out -- I know it will eventually return to normal.  But even ten years later, when my breath comes and catches easily, I still say to myself, "Thank you, God," because I well remember how terrible it was when it didn't.  If anxiety is a significant problem for you, I highly recommend checking with your dr. about giving Xanax a try, and also the following books:  HOPE AND HELP FOR YOUR NERVES and PEACE FROM NERVOUS SUFFERING by Claire Weekes, and THE ANXIETY DISEASE by David Sheehan.  These books will help so much to increase your understanding of what's going on with your body, and the understanding will really help lessen your fear, which will help your body relax and return to its normal state (another cycle, but this time a positive one).  Plus, you will feel understood and hopeful, and will be comforted in knowing you are not alone, and you will get better.
Avatar universal
Hi B., it's Reyna again.  I guess they set a space limit on blabbermouths!  I had no idea I had written so much.  I was almost done, though.  I just wanted to tell you that I really wish you well, not only with your anxiety, but any other medical problems you  may have.  If there is anything else I may be able to help you with, please let me know.  You can contact me here -- if you want my e-mail address, just say so.  Plus, if you're interested, I can explain some breathing exercizes that will help -- they won't necessarily make it easier to catch your breath, but they will put your breathing under your control and at the proper rate, which will take your anxiety down.  (If I can remember them, that is!)  God bless.
Avatar universal
I have been diagnosedwith "nutcracker esophagus".  Can anyone help me with finding out more information on this disorder.  I would really appreciate it.  Thanks
Avatar universal
This message is to Reyna-Thanks for the help. Its nice to know that someone understands.  I went to the dr. on Sat. now he has put me on hormone replacement therpy.  Sure hope this works!  The breathing doesn't bother me when sleeping only when I'm awake (aware).  I hate the feeling of choking, it feels like the throat is closing up.  Is this anxiety?  I have also found that when I visit the chiropractor and get adjusted I can BREATHE!!!! But it only last for a very short period of time, I can actually feel the blood flow again.  My chiropractor finds that interesting.  Sometimes the breathing doesn't bother me at all-if I'm busy and not thinking about it I'm fine but as soon as I discover that I haven't  been having trouble I'm right back to the beginning.  I notice that I tend to clear my throat all the time as though something is in it or I will pop my ears (like when on an airplane) just to get a deep breathe. I also noticed that it is worse when I'm driving in morning traffic.  I tend to get very dizzy and it feels like my throat is closing and I can't get enough air is this anxiety or panic.  Any help you have is most appriciated.  I'm so very tired of living like this.  I did suffer from this once before about 17 years ago and if my memory serves me correctly it took about a year to get over it.  Thanks again and I hope things are well for you.
Avatar universal
After reading this board I dont feel so crazy anymore.  One night back in March of 1999, I thought I was having a HEartattack.  Arms Knumb, Something stuck in my throat and difficulty breathing.  I went to the Doctor the next day to be told I have acid reflux.  For months they had me on Prilosec. I would have good days and bad till my interal Doc sent me to a specialist. At this point everyting seemed to be stuck in my throat and had yet to experience burning. This spec. ordered a endoscopy.  Endoscopy was normal, Upper Gi showed mild reflux, Gall bladder tests show'd functioning normall. The Gallbladder Die test gave me excrusiating pains in my lower abs, did anyone else experience this, and what did the Doc say about it?? All Docs have been asking me if I'm depresses?? Depressed they say the only thing that is depressing me is that I have been SUFFERING for almost a year now with no relief.  A cat scan recently done of my abdomen showed that my stomach does not drain.  Doc put me on Propulsid, only been on it a few days, I feel a little relief.  Does this story sound familiar to anyone, anything my Doctors or myself could be missing I just want ot be myself again.  IN 9 months I have gone from a size 8 to a size 4, my 4's are now falling off of me.(it's been about 30 pounds). Anyone know the best place I could go for a second opinion??

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