Newbie here w/possible esophageal spasms - ow

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LilacOutMyWindow
New Member


Date Joined Dec 2010
Total Posts : 4
   Posted 12/17/2010 9:08 AM (GMT -6)   
Hey all! Wow, am I glad a Google search turned up some posts on this forum!! I've been reading a few, and thought I'd introduce myself and tell my story so far (hope that is the right protocol here) and ask some questions.

Questions first - has anyone had their pain triggered the first time by a medication - I haven't ever had this type of pain before taking Flexeril (a muscle relaxant)? When do calcium channel blockers start to work, and have you taken diltiazem? When/How do you know to call the dr again if the pain doesn't really stop, but isn't necessarily worse?

Now my story thus far (sorry it's pretty long) - It actually starts with a headache. First, I've had a headache that was coming and going since October, but was nearly every day. Since the beginning of this month, it has been everyday, I even woke up with it still hurting. Last Weds, dh was home from work and I took advantage of that to go see a dr about my headaches. My regular GP was booked, so I saw someone else in his practice. She felt I had a tension headache and Rx'd Flexeril. I took half a pill (5mg) Flexeril Weds (12/8) night, and it didn't help, so I took a full 10mg Thursday night. Then I woke up early Friday morning with chest pain.

The pain that woke me up at 4:20am was right behind my breast bone, and a little to the right. After an hour, I was scared and made dh take me to the ER. ER did blood work, a chest xray and ECG. Finding that I wasn't having a heart attack (really good since I'm too young at 33) they gave me a percocet for the pain. When that didn't really help much, they dx'd me with heart burn (sorry, I've had 3 pregnancies which all involved heart burn, this was NOT any incarnation I've ever felt before) gave an Rx for Pepcid AC (20mg, I just bought it OTC) and sent me on my way with instructions to follow up w/my regular GP - that got scheduled for Weds. I haven't taken any more Flexeril in case it was part of the issue.

Two days ago was my appt w/my GP. Conveniently enough, the chest pain that had been waxing and waning since my ER visit decided to wake me up again, this time 2:45am. I just hung out dealing with it knowing in just a few hours I'd see a dr. I think I have a great dr. He spent a full hour with me, first listening to all my symptoms, reviewing what we'd already tried, and then doing the exam and finally sending me to the in-house lab for blood work (I'd fasted that morning just in case hoping we could get it all done). The only thing of note we found during the exam is that I have a loud second sound to my heart beat, and he called me yesterday with a referral to get an echo-cardiogram (note - I should never have googled that symptom, not reassuring) I called to make that appt but their new patient person hasn't yet called me back to schedule. My GP thinks the headache may have started as a tension headache, but since I've had migraines in the past, it seemed to now have migraine features (like light and sound phobic) and he felt a prednisone burst pack would interrupt the headache, and then wants me to try magnesium supplements to see if it works as a preventative. As for the chest pain, he feels it is likely esophageal spasms. For that, he decided to Rx a novel calcium channel blocker, diltiazem. In my brief looking around the web, it seems diltiazem helps with headache pain - bonus. At first, the pharmacy didn't want to fill the Rx - the pharmacist told me she'd never heard of that med being used for esophageal spasms, and made me wait until she'd spoken directly to my GP before she'd dispense it. I have since read articles on the net that link for that use, but whatever, I got it in the afternoon. If you've taken it or know more about it, I'd love to hear about it - I took one last night, and one so far today, will take a total of 4 pills today.

So far, the pain will wax and wane, but hasn't hit that intense level again yet (finger crossed it stays that way - waking in the middle of the night to that pain is nearly terrifying). I read here about the peppermint oil - I happened to have some peppermint extract for baking and mixed a small capful of it with water to see if it would ease the lower level of pain that kept me tossing and turning last night and continues this morning - so far it's hard to tell if it's doing anything or not, but maybe it won't help since it is not just the oil (extract is water, alcohol and peppermint oil)?

Thanks so much if you made it all the way through that!

stkitt
Elite Member


Date Joined Apr 2007
Total Posts : 32602
   Posted 12/17/2010 9:33 AM (GMT -6)   
Good Morning and Welcome to HealingWell,
 
There are various drugs, both over-the-counter and prescription, that can increase the risk for GERD, and worsen the symptoms in those who already suffer from GERD.
 
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs include aspirin, ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil, Nuprin) and naproxen (Aleve). They are commonly associated with causing peptic ulcers, and also may cause GERD or increase the severity of symptoms in people who already have GERD. Research has shown that long-term NSAID users were twice as likely to have GERD symptoms as non-NSAID users.
 
This list is not an inclusive list of drugs that can cause GERD. Other drugs may also cause or worsen GERD. It is important to consult your doctor if you start experiencing any symptoms.
  • Calcium channel blockers - used to treat high blood pressure and angina.
  • Anticholinergics - used in drugs that treat urinary tract disorders, allergies and glaucoma.
  • Beta adrenergic agonists - used for asthma and obstructive lung diseases.
  • Dopamine - used in Parkinson's disease.
  • Bisphosphonates - used to treat osteoporosis.
  • Sedatives
  • Antibiotics
  • Potassium
  • Iron pills

If everything checks out ok with the cardiologist I would recommend you make an appointment to see a GI specialist for further testing to confirm GERD.

I know you will be hearing from other members.  I am glad you found us and do stick with us.

Kindly,

Kitt


~~Kitt~~
Moderator: Anxiety/Panic, Osteoarthritis, GERD/Heartburn and Heart/Cardiovascular Disease.
www.healingwell.com

"If you can't change the world, change your world"

LilacOutMyWindow
New Member


Date Joined Dec 2010
Total Posts : 4
   Posted 12/17/2010 9:50 AM (GMT -6)   
Thanks for the welcome, Kitt!

Ok, more questions - how are GERD and esophageal spasms related? Can you have spasms and never have GERD? (guess I should google more)

couchtater
Elite Member


Date Joined Jul 2009
Total Posts : 14475
   Posted 12/17/2010 4:53 PM (GMT -6)   
Look up the link between the vegus nerve and gerd. The vegus nerve runs down the back of the esophagus and connects to the stomach and the heart. When your gerd irritates it you can have spasms that feel like a heart attack to some.
Joy

LilacOutMyWindow
New Member


Date Joined Dec 2010
Total Posts : 4
   Posted 12/17/2010 5:13 PM (GMT -6)   
I will look that up, thanks.

But I'm wondering, is it possible to have GERD and not feel it until it causes this type of pain, even if you have felt "regular" heartburn in the past?

I think I'm mostly confused, because I remember heartburn from each of my 3 pregnancies, and I haven't felt that type of pain at all. It's why I was wondering if something like Diffuse Esophageal Spasms were possibly happening without GERD being a factor at all - and I landed on DES because the pain I had woke me up twice, instead of being tied to eating.

I am now wondering, too, if maybe my dr told me one possible gastro diagnosis while treating with a drug (Diltiazem) that would also treat a possible cardiac problem, since he's first sending me for an echocardiogram and hasn't talked about a gastro referral yet.

couchtater
Elite Member


Date Joined Jul 2009
Total Posts : 14475
   Posted 12/17/2010 6:10 PM (GMT -6)   
I never really felt normal heartburn. I had "Silent Gerd". I'd get some terrible spasms at time. One time I thought for sure I was having a heart attack. I chewed some tums and it stopped.

It's best to rule out heart issues first. No one ever died from GERD.
Joy

LilacOutMyWindow
New Member


Date Joined Dec 2010
Total Posts : 4
   Posted 12/17/2010 6:17 PM (GMT -6)   
Tums stopped it for you? I haven't been that lucky yet, but I'll try it again with the next "attack".

I haven't before heard of "silent GERD" good to know.

You're right, it does make sense to rule out the worst stuff first. Guess it'll be a bit before I see a gastro, but if the heart is good I'll certainly be asking for a referral to one!

couchtater
Elite Member


Date Joined Jul 2009
Total Posts : 14475
   Posted 12/17/2010 9:55 PM (GMT -6)   
Silent gerd is very odd. Sometimes you have a slight burn, sometimes spasms, you feel gunk in your throat, sometimes it's in your ears and nose, you cough gunk a lot. You don't get the traditional heartburn that much with it.
Joy
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