Random Choking

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Regular Member

Date Joined Jan 2007
Total Posts : 97
   Posted 4/22/2008 10:13 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi all!

Lately I have been experiencing random choking. It happens when I am not chewing or drinking anything. I have nothing in my mouth...I'm not talking or laughing or anything. I just suddenly start to choke. Like, really choke. My airway becomes completely blocked (with what, I don't know....saliva?) and I can not breathe. It's quite scary! I eventually end up being able to start coughing at some point to get air moving again and it's a few minutes before I can breathe normally.

I have read that choking can be a potential problem for people with MS, but everything I've read has always been in reference to eating...which I have never had a problem with. It's just this random choking. On nothing. There have been a few times where I wake up choking in the middle of the night. It's just so random and so weird. And it's beginning to frighten me. The last time it happened, it seemed like forever before I could get air again. I was alone and I didn't know how to help myself. I mean, what is the procedure for choking on nothing? I just tried to relax and inhale hard and cough. I guess it worked!

Has anyone else experienced anything like this? Could I be choking on my own saliva? Perhaps having muscle spasms in my esophagus? I suppose this could also be a completely unrelated issue and I do plan to speak with a doctor (currently in the process of trying to find a new one). Just thought I'd get some input from ya'll.

Thanks a bunch! Sure appreciate everyone here.


Veteran Member

Date Joined Jun 2005
Total Posts : 2135
   Posted 4/23/2008 3:40 AM (GMT -7)   
Yes, a doctor visit certainly is in order.  You say it happens at night? YOu might try sleeping with your head elevated, or the head of your bed elevated (put the bed up on blocks).  It could be esophogeal spasms.  But you do need to get it checked out.

...I am not a doctor, nor health professional, and don't pretend to be one, here.....

Regular Member

Date Joined Oct 2007
Total Posts : 343
   Posted 4/23/2008 4:30 AM (GMT -7)   
Niki, it's scary when that happens! I can't imagine it when you're sleeping except for waking up like I have with GERD... then I've known what happened by the burning sensation.
I have issues with swallowing while eating, not choking unexpectedly (unless it's acid reflux at night but like Uppity suggested sleeping on two pillows plus having seen my doc on that, a prescription has taken care of that for the most part. But when trying to eat, sometimes it's like my body forgets how to swallow or it gets caught in the in between point that hits the gag reflex if I'm not careful... I cope with it by chasing it with a small sip of beverage at that point. But it's freaky because no amount of trying to swallow will make it happen, it just stops until I begin to sip something then it automatically takes over. My husband has begun to recognize my "look" of "uh-oh, oh no" when it might not go well, because if I dont' get it down naturally it's a choking incident and he's ready to apply Heimlich (sometimes all too ready! nono :-) All in good fun!) I just take alot smaller bites, try to eat slower, chew longer etc... hoping it helps it all cooperate.
Not sure if that's helpful or not but like Uppity said, it's a doc call... when they did my GERD testing (Acid Reflux) they did an esophageal study and made sure there wasn't any blockage etc... it's well worth the peace of mind.
Fear knocked ~ Faith Answered ~ No one was there! :)
 ~ Ephesians 6:13 ~  * ~ Psalm 27:1 ~

Regular Member

Date Joined May 2008
Total Posts : 88
   Posted 6/2/2008 12:03 AM (GMT -7)   
This is a bit old, but just taking the time to read through all the great posts on here since I'm still new to the site.
I had the choking thing. Slept on the couch for weeks and would actually dial 9-1- and then wait...trying to decide just the right time to hit the last 1. It was 5 months post diagnosis and followed a bout of walking pneumonia. After many docs (and the usual not feeling well listened to) I saw a pulmanologist. Laryngospams. (sp?) Spasms of the larynx. Someone else mentioned Esophageal spasms, could be that too.
When I told the doctor what I had been doing with the phone, he said not to worry, if I had actually passed out then my muscle spasm would have relaxed immediately letting me breath again. I did not find that comforting really. Hopefully you've seen a doctor by now though.
I think I don't have a muscle left in this body that hasn't 'spazzed' on me since I was diagnosed! Willow

Regular Member

Date Joined Oct 2007
Total Posts : 343
   Posted 6/2/2008 4:31 AM (GMT -7)   
I still deal with the minor choking pretty frequently when eating. It's just become routine to be prepared to have a drink very handy to help it go down. It's as though my throat forgets the next step when the food begins to go pass down and gets caught in the gag reflex zone... I've read now that this is not uncommon and the drink thing is one way to cope with it. If that ever begins to fail, then other means via dr intervention would be in order but so far it's working good like that. Hubby's getting very familiar with the "look" on my face when I may choke which helps, at least he's aware. I'm also very careful not to eat too fast or take too big a bite...which can cause problems too.
Hope this has been further checked, again, the esophageal study is well worth knowing everything else is in order.
Fear knocked ~ Faith Answered ~ No one was there! :)
 ~ Ephesians 6:13 ~  * ~ Psalm 27:1 ~

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