newbie scared of throat problems/spasms

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coolld
New Member


Date Joined Feb 2010
Total Posts : 5
   Posted 2/21/2010 8:44 AM (GMT -6)   

I have had mild GERD for about 5 years, which was successfully treated with Prevacid and Protonix.  However, I have had trouble swallowing off and on for the past year.  In the last few months, it has become unbearable.  I have been to the ER several times with a choking sensation and in and out of the hospital but no one is able to help me.  The endoscope showed mild gastritis, esphagitis and irritation of the duodenum.  The manometry showed mild peristaltic weakness.   For a while there, I could only consume liquids.  I have been taking 30 mg of Prevacid for 2 months, but still have severe reflux at night.  I sleep on a wedge pillow and eat a small bland meal (when I can swallow) at least 3 hours before going to sleep.  I wake up from sleep with my throat burning, and feeling like my throat is collapsing onto itself, like my esophagus is “fluttering” or like I having tremors in my throat.  And, to make things worse, I have weird spasms during which I swallow involuntarily.  I also become short of breath, have chest pains, and get nauseous when this occurs.  And, it takes forever for the sensation to go away.  This happened again this morning at 1:30.  It is now 7:30 and my throat is still fluttering.  I’ve been crying for two hours because I can’t stand the feeling.  I’m scared and feel so helpless.  My doctor says my GERD is not severe enough to cause these problems.  Does anyone have any ideas on what makes my throat feel that way or what can be done about it?  Thank you.


stkitt
Elite Member


Date Joined Apr 2007
Total Posts : 32602
   Posted 2/21/2010 10:15 AM (GMT -6)   
Hello and welcome to HealingWell. You have come to a great peer support site.

I am sure other members will have some input for you but I am wondering if you have thought of getting a second opinion as you seem to have sx of GERD that I see others have which is often help by surgery? I have not had the surgery or all the tests but others have.

Also do take the time to read through some of the other members threads as there is a ton of info on the site.

Again a warm welcome.

Kitt

couchtater
Elite Member


Date Joined Jul 2009
Total Posts : 14475
   Posted 2/21/2010 11:11 AM (GMT -6)   
I'd change doctors if I was you.
You sound like you have GERD and need a better solution.

Joy

Alcie
Veteran Member


Date Joined Oct 2009
Total Posts : 5028
   Posted 2/21/2010 8:30 PM (GMT -6)   
Cool
Your story sounds like your "fluttering" is not necessarily in your esophagus. Also you might be suffering from food allergies/intolerances.

I used to get a similar feeling quite often. It became worse and was often followed by tachycardia. (Actually tach can feel like fluttering.) My cardiologist and GI doc had no idea, but I started to notice it occurred after eating certain food. All my foods were pretty bland. It could occur even 4 hours after a meal.

I went to an allergist who did some testing and was told I had no food allergies. I went to a highly recommended allergist and she told me when sees this all the time. I was instructed to keep a food log and then when I had identified a meal, I had to do "challenge testing." The challenge consisted of eating a single food - first a tablespoon or so, then wait 20 minutes. If no reaction I ate 2 T, waited, then 4, then 8 and finally 16T.

I came up with a strange list consisting of maple syrup, brown sugar, garlic, pepper, mustard, catsup, most kinds of cookies, anything with corn syrup or corn starch, but not corn itself, gelatin, beet sugar, wine, beer, and lots more. I looked up these words and allergy and found they all contain sulfite. (not sulfate or sulfa!)

On eliminating these "trigger" foods I stopped having reflux and the resulting tachycardia, although I still needed my PPI for a leaky LES. Other people have different "trigger foods."

This problem of esophagus triggering arrhythmias, and vice versa, is not unknown. There are several research papers detailing cardio-esophageal reflex. (That's reflEx, not reflux!)

I would see a cardiologist to see if you are having any problems, although a simple ECG is not going to show anything. Then keep a food log just to see if you notice any connection. At least that doesn't cost anything!

Just because a food is "bland" doesn't mean much if you are sensitive to it! I only figured out that I had a problem after I had a heart attack from eating a bowl of cereal! (also contains sulfite)
Alcie
 
 


coolld
New Member


Date Joined Feb 2010
Total Posts : 5
   Posted 2/21/2010 9:32 PM (GMT -6)   
Alcie-

Thanks for the information.  What is a leaky LES?  I forgot to mention in my post that I also have a small hiatal hernia.  My doctor told me that my LES weakness is mild, but it seems like I feel it constantly gurgling and I have continuous indigestion/heartburn.  I only feel ok if I burp, but that doesn’t last long.  I’ll definitely look into food allergies, though it seems like a long, tedious process to figure which foods might be a problem for me.  I’m considering going to the Mayo clinic since my doctors here don’t seem to know what’s going on.  I see all of these specialists but I feel like no one is looking at the whole picture.  I am still not feeling good and it’s been almost 24 hours since my last “attack.”


coolld
New Member


Date Joined Feb 2010
Total Posts : 5
   Posted 2/21/2010 9:43 PM (GMT -6)   
I should also mention that I definitely feel bubbles or tremors in my throat. I wonder if I also have LPR? I think that acid or bile in my throat is reaching my vocal chords, and that's what causing the spasms, possibly.

Alcie
Veteran Member


Date Joined Oct 2009
Total Posts : 5028
   Posted 2/22/2010 8:47 AM (GMT -6)   
Cool
If the LES stays open, which can happen if you have a paraesophageal hernia or just a weak LES, the acid can leak into the esophagus if you recline or lie down. For 25 years I was able to combat this successfully by simply taking enough PPIs to keep my stomach non-acid. This also serves to keep down irritation and the resulting to the esophagus.

Did your doctor say whay TYPE of hernia you have? Sliders don't usually cause problems all by themselves. Paraesophageals are stuck in the chest and must be surgically brought down to avoid stomach strangulation. My little slider was traumatically pushed into my chest by my seatbelt in a high speed crash, causing me to need surgery, during which I also got a fundoplication which stopped the reflux.

LPR just means the acid is reaching the larynx. The best test for seeing how high the acid goes and to see what kind and size of the hernia is the barium swallow. It's non-invasive, doesn't hurt at all. Docs can't see everything lying down for a scope, and a lot of people need sedation!

The spasms can be caused, without reflux, just by food allergy/intolerance. Just keeping a food log is free, non-invasive, and your GI won't tell you to do it because they mostly don't know about it. But a really top allergist does know about this stuff!! Sure it takes time. I spent two months working on it! But it was the most worthwhile thing I did for myself and stopped the spasms and tachycardia/arrhythmias. You can't depend on doctors to everything for you. Each one is so specialized nowdays that they don't see the whole person. I left this disease go for 25 years, so I had some suspicions about what was triggering the spasms. My GI doc poo-pooed me, didn't believe me even when confronted with the log I kept and the disappearance of the spasms when I avoided my triggers. I even went in with the scientific papers! But my allergist did believe me!!!!!

I had similar symptoms to yours: the spasms relieved by a burp. I let mine go for several years until finally I had a heart attack brought on by eating a bowl of cereal. OK, I certainly had a bit of cholesterol plaque in my coronary arteries, but the trigger was a spot spasm in an artery causing a plaque rupture in just that tiny spot. This is not an unknown happening! I recently read a medical article describing just this thing - although they didn't mention anything about the food trigger, just the esophageal spasm starting the artery spasm.

I spent hundreds of hours scouring the internet reading about spasms and reflux. It was well worth the time!!

Interesting note: Since my fundoplication and ability to allow my stomach to return to its normal acid state, I now tolerate a lot more of my food triggers. I read in a post by another person here that his food intolerances started when he went on PPIs. Mine was so long ago that I don't remember. I only know that I was not born with these food intolerances.
Alcie
 
 


gene919
New Member


Date Joined Feb 2010
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 2/22/2010 9:11 AM (GMT -6)   
For  the  last  couple   of  days  i've   been  getting  painful  spasms   underneath    my  rib  cage  .  They   would  come  every   couple   of  minutes  lasting  up  to   an  hour,  I    would  get  about  seven   painful   spams  every time  they  would  come   that  I  would  double  over  in  pain.  I  went  to  doctor   and  he   thinks they  are  from    bruised   ribs   caused  from  shoveling  snow??

Alcie
Veteran Member


Date Joined Oct 2009
Total Posts : 5028
   Posted 2/22/2010 4:21 PM (GMT -6)   
Gene
Does the pain go away if you don't work on anything hard for a day or two? Does it feel like a rib is sliding over another when you are bending and twisting? All sorts of muscles, tendons and cartileges can get overworked, torn, stretched.

I have very sore ribs from shovelling snow too. I had a couple of broken ribs from a seatbelt in a wreck. My cartileges never did reconnect. Now I have "sliding" or "slipping" rib syndrome. Nothing shows on an X-ray, but initially the breaks did show on CT scan and later the rib ends showed on a whole body bone scan I had for another reason.

Rest seems to be the best cure for me. Spasms can be helped with a very small dose of diazepam. Vicodin works well on the pain.

This doesn't have anything to do with GERD or stomach though unless it feels like it is not the ribs but much deeper.
Alcie
 
 


gene919
New Member


Date Joined Feb 2010
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 2/22/2010 4:40 PM (GMT -6)   
Alcie said...
Gene
Does the pain go away if you don't work on anything hard for a day or two? Does it feel like a rib is sliding over another when you are bending and twisting? All sorts of muscles, tendons and cartileges can get overworked, torn, stretched.

I have very sore ribs from shovelling snow too. I had a couple of broken ribs from a seatbelt in a wreck. My cartileges never did reconnect. Now I have "sliding" or "slipping" rib syndrome. Nothing shows on an X-ray, but initially the breaks did show on CT scan and later the rib ends showed on a whole body bone scan I had for another reason.

Rest seems to be the best cure for me. Spasms can be helped with a very small dose of diazepam. Vicodin works well on the pain.

This doesn't have anything to do with GERD or stomach though unless it feels like it is not the ribs but much deeper.
 
Alice.
 
Pain  started   Tuesday  ,    If  I  was  laying  down  ,  I  would   get  up  from bed   with  excrutiating  stabbing   pain.   This  would  las t  2  hours  .   The  next  day   pain   would  come   back  at  work     with   painful  spams   that  would  occur   everytime  i  took  a  step  .   I  haven't   had  a  spasm    for  the  last  2  days  ,  rib  area  is  very  sore     especially  if  I  try  sleeping  on  one  side 

Alcie
Veteran Member


Date Joined Oct 2009
Total Posts : 5028
   Posted 2/23/2010 8:20 AM (GMT -6)   
Gene
Sounds like a rib problem to me, because it's not constant. I get pain trying to get out of bed too - involves twisting and bending. But I am just a grandma who's been through stuff myself, not a doctor. Does the pain go away if you don't do anything that involves a lot of bending and twisting - like snow shovelling? My sliding ribs hurt less when I take it easy, don't shovel or drive the tractor for plowing.
I got a depomedrol infusion in my lower rib area at my pain clinic. It hurt like blazes for a couple of days, didn't seem to help at al for the next couple of days, but then I started feeling considerably less pain. I think it's still helping. Most pain docs can't do this, but an anesthesiologist will.
As I said, 1mg Valium (diazepam) helps with a lot of spasms. Old drug, but lots better than the so-called antispasmotics prescribed today. Sitting around with a heating pad works, but takes a week.
Alcie
 
 

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