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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?
118 Responses
Avatar universal
I have been diagnoised with gerd recently when I went to my MD because I could hardly swallow solid food. I had the problem for about 2yrs. and it got progressively worse. He prescribed prevacid for 8 weeks which helped but the condition has not gone away. I have been on norvasc(calcium channel blocker) for about 3yrs. now for high blood pressure. I have read that there is a relation between GERD and norvasc as the med. slows stomach emptying. Does anyone know a solution to this problem? Thank You.
Avatar universal
Hello all

Its comforting to know that I'm not alone.

34 years old and fit.  I am a Network Manager, and the run up to Y2K was so stressful that I am now suffering from reflux, the doc prescribed losec 20mg.  This has eased things, but the worst thing is the tight feeling in my throat, does anyone know how I can get rid of it.  On a return visit to the doc I was told to take 40mg of losec but this makes me feel fuzzy so I dropped back to 20mg.  From the comments I have read anti depressants might seem an option, is there an alternative.  Do I have to suffer this for ever?.  Despite the NHS I still had to pay for a GI.

Many Thanks
Avatar universal
Hi, fellow esphogeal spasm sufferers. Can anybody tell me what's causing my trouble, which is not so much constant belching, but constantly WANTING to belch. It drives me nuts day and night, wakes me up around 2 or 3 am with this awful pressure under my breastbone or deep in my stomach and a tormenting urge to belch. I walk around for an hour or so, go outside for fresh air, swallow a slice of bread, try alka seltza or baking soda (which sometimes works but often doesn't), go out in the garage and mess around opening and closing drawers of nails and screws etc. on the workbench - anything to take my mind off the need to belch. Eventually, it WILL come up, but oh, the agony of waiting! It used to be that once I had belched I felt tremendous relief and could go back to sleep. But over the last few years the condition has become progressively worse. One belch is not sufficient. It brings relief for but a short while. Then I feel the flatulence returning and I need to belch again. And so it goes on, daytime as well. Docs I've seen hv no answer. "We've reached the end of the road," one gastroenterologist told me after trying me on Propulsid, Prilosec. Reglan, Zantac and various antacids and other medications, performing endoscopies, ordering motility studies, sticking tubes up my nose and down my esophagus into my stomach, and then a tube directly into my stomach. I agree so much with ejay (Jan 30) about the doc and his "swallowing air" diagnosis. I was told that too, and like ejay, I thought: "How come I suddenly start swallowing air at this stage of my life?" In any case, my trouble was NEEDING to belch. I must conclude by mentioning that I had my left lung removed back in l987. Of course, everybody seizes on that as the answer. It's true everything has shifted over as a result and my esophagus is bent. The only trouble, I have to tell people,is that the need-to-belch problem came a year BEFORE my lung surgery. It started in 1986, following a heart attack, when I underwent an angioplasty. A couple of weeks later, I was writing in my diary: "Hard to belch," and a few days later: "Still having difficulty belching. That's when it started. Anybody out there got any answers? At least, are there any fellow sufferers? I'd love to know.
Avatar universal
Oh My Gosh, it seems every one of these messages fits me....I thought I was the only one out there with the need to burp, a feeling of a food stuck in my esphogus and chest pain.....I am currently on Prilosec, which doesn't seem to do much....and prozac...which I wish would kick in soon.   Has anyone found out for sure if this is esphogus spasms?  If so, can be done?
can email me at ***@****
Avatar universal
A year ago march I suffered from a bad cold which left me fighting with acid reflux. I had sinus drainage for a while which
caused my eyes to dry up from all of the sinus medicine. For the reflux they tried me on Prevacid ,that seemed to work a little but didn't relieve my heartburn,so I asked my doctor to put me on
prilosec to relieve my heartburn! But after a year of being oon this medicine I started having severe headaches and didn't seem to be helping. They even put me on a double dose for three months.
After that I was told to play with it!Well I started to feel good and decided to put myself on one prilosec a day! Well my symptoms became worse,since I have been putting up with a terrible swelling in my throat and glands that doesnt seem to want to leave me. Well now I was told that I have a Globus sensation in my neck and Iam afraid it won't leave me. Because other wise Iam
a very bubbly person. I'am now taking Prevacid in the Morning for
my acid reflux and Desyrel at night for my supposed globus sensation.Can anyone tell me if I stay on the desyrel any certain lenght of time that I will feel better! Thank you for listening.
Avatar universal
Incredible. I've been to other sites like this, and can't believe the numbers of people with the same or similar problems. Is there a new disease state, as yet unnamed, emerging here? I too have had the belching/spasms/weight loss/debilitation/arrhythmias so many have talked about. I can say this. The arrythmias seem to be caused by gas pressure on the paracardium. Either through the upward pressure exerted on the diaphragm, or by abdominal cavity gas (air) passing through the hiatus into the chest. I've had all the tests, over 2 years of this...after literally waking up with it one day, after a bout of food poisoiong. hPylori, c.Difficil, parasites, liver/ galbladder (Dishida/CCK), CT Scan, panic tests followed ad nauseum. Many doctors, much money. Swallowing air is so common, or panic, as a diagnosis and seems absurd. Never the less I had a swallow test by a Speech therapist that showed no (or little) air going down. They did see food getting stuck in the esophagus, but they said..."oh we see that all the time now...don't know why it happens". I know how you all feel. I went through the massage/chiro/herbal/accupuncture/homeopathic routes as well...not much help. Finally I decided to pursue the hernia repair, as a hernia showed up on a manometry/ph test/endoscopy. Just had it done last week so the jury is still out. So far I feel worse. But in order to affect the repair they fill you with air to make space for their instruments (laproscopic)...and so now I have all this air in me and it can take weeks to dissipate. I found the CFS distention idea intriguing. I may look into that as I hadn't heard of it before..if this doesn't work. As the hernia was the only thing ever diagnosed...I figured as a process of elimination (so to speak) I better give it a try. For nausea...I would suggest a homeopathic remedy called Carbo Veg. 6X. Seems to help a lot...which the reglan never did. I'll keep checking in. See if anything new comes up...and let you know how the repair is doing...helping. I did, by the way, also do hormone therapy. It did seem to help for a bit and then stopped...but was very expensive. Though it may have helped me put back 15 lbs. after losing 40. rHGH and a transdermal pre-curser cream set me back $400 week. Was also on Cortef for adrenal therapy...which I wouldn't recommend, unless you've had an adrenal insufficency diagnosis. But I'd recommend a complete hormone work up. Generally when the body is under so much 'inescapable' physical/(and emotional) stress from these ongoing problems...the endocrine system can start to be affected adversely. It's a cascade effect. Final thought...I haven't yet seen anyone mention the idea of the vagal nerve action being compromised by mercury leaching into the bdy through dental fillings. This was a popular idea for a while...but very difficult to prove, over at Dr. Stoll's site. I have many fillings...and some are very old. But I haven't felt up to getting them taken care of...soon I hope. And keep in mind...even if a tropic system problem isn't responsible. The effects of the strain this puts on the body definately means it could come into play later as a secondary effect. Stress of all kind is stored in the hypocampus...and needs to be relieved through adequate rest and exercise...if possible. A multi-angular approach may be needed by us all at this point. Addressing a single issue will probably not get it done.

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