Esophageal spasms

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New Member

Date Joined Jul 2009
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 2/5/2013 2:00 AM (GMT -6)   
I haven't posted on this site for a couple of years but I am a long sufferer of esophageal spasms -- about 25 years. They usually come on episodically and last with varying intensity (either feeling like a ping pong ball is stuck in my throat about the same area as my thyroid gland or having chest pains) for maybe an hour or two multiple times over a 4 or 5-day period. I have even had other complications as the spasms have somehow stimulated my vagus nerve and lowered my blood pressure and heart rate so that I feel exhausted. (I even had a stress test done when my spasms resulted in my resting heart rate hanging in the 40s and was asked if I'm a world class marathoner because after 15 minutes running on the treadmill my pulse wouldn't go above 120.)

Sometimes I can eliminate the spasms with peppermint oil pills, ginger tea (made by boiling pieces of the root for about 15 minutes), magnesia phosphorica (a homeopathic med that should be taken at least 1/2 hr. before or 1 hr. after meals and without any mint the same day), percocet and/or with acupuncture that supposedly adds heat to my small intestine. Other meds did not work for me although Valium helped me sleep when the spasms made me uncomfortable and anxious about tightness in my throat.

I also discovered about a year and a half ago that I suffer from GERD occasionally as I had an esophageal erosion that created stomach area pain that felt totally different from the spasms. But that additional problem made it a bit more difficult to figure out if treating the GERD could help the spasms. Sometimes it did --Zantac or Prilosec actually worked.

Unfortunately, over the past 3 weeks, even with a steady dosage of Prilosec and all the other treatments, I have had the ping pong ball feeling everyday for a good part of my waking hours and occasionally bothersome enough to wake me up at night. I generally change my eating patterns during flare ups -- no rich or fatty foods or alcohol or caffeine or excessive spice or raw vegies --- and have for the most part done so again but with limited results (my symptoms wax and wane each day and some days during this 2 weeks have been worse).

I'm wondering if anyone else has had such a long flare up. If not, then I may go in and have my doc look at my Thyroid to see if it is causing this ping pong feeling.


Veteran Member

Date Joined Mar 2012
Total Posts : 1110
   Posted 2/5/2013 9:12 AM (GMT -6)   
Try Magnesium suppliment, it helped me a lot as well as chewing non mint gum.
GERD Moderator; Diagnosed GERD, no other medical conditions (this one is enough)

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jun 2011
Total Posts : 795
   Posted 2/5/2013 3:01 PM (GMT -6)   
I keep reading more stories about people using low carb diet to get rid of heartburn. I have been able to get off meds by following the Fast Tract diet for heartburn. You could try this. There is a thread here on Fast Tract with more details.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Oct 2009
Total Posts : 5028
   Posted 2/5/2013 8:40 PM (GMT -6)   
Welcome to the forum Steele.

Esophageal spasms affecting the heart are known. Sometimes called Linked angina, or cardioesophageal reflex. (not reflUx) There are loads of papers online.

Are you seeing a gastro doc? You may suffer from silent GERD, which can cause esophageal damage. There are other meds that can help with spasms. Elavil is one. Pain meds don't help. Valium may help you sleep, but my pain doc won't let me take it even though it works well for my back spasms.

Interesting that when your BP goes down your heart rate goes down. Rate should go up to compensate for low BP. What did cardio doc say?

I see you've tried changing your diet. Are you keeping a food log/journal? My allergist got me started on that, and I ended up finding my food triggers that were irritating my esophagus and causing my tachycardia. One of my allergens/intolerances is pork (sulfites). I get tach from gelatin, processed foods, wine, corn starch and lots more. I get symptoms from eating hard things like beef. Raw veggies could trigger with just their texture. Writing your foods, drinks, meds, times, and symptoms in a notebook or desk calendar might help find sensitivities. It's lots easier than elimination diet.

The vagus can also be triggered in the other direction - heart to stomach and esophagus. I've had cardio symptoms when my colon was irritated too (diverticular abscess). Do you have any heart problems or maybe Chron's or diverticulitis?

Are you taking Prilosec in the morning, half an hour before eating? When you take it makes a difference. Skipping breakfast is not an option.
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