Strange symptoms during heartburn flare up.

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Regular Member

Date Joined Feb 2013
Total Posts : 48
   Posted 2/22/2013 5:16 PM (GMT -6)   
I have been dealing with stomach issues for the past 3 months.  Ive been self medicating with OTC PPIs starting when symptoms got bad, stopping when I felt better, then starting again when I felt bad. To date, my symptoms have progressivly gotten worse.  One weekend I had the worse heartburn that lasted for 2 days straight.  The pain was so bad it brought me to tears. It was a burning, crushing pain that could be felt in my chest, back and arms.  The burn was intense.  Nothing like I have ever felt before.  Went to ER and they did the EKG, blood work and Xray.  In the end I was told it wasn't my heart but GI related.  I started taking Prilosec OTC, Zantac and tums.  That evening I slept in a recliner.  The next day I took my medication and felt somewhat ok during the day.  That evening the heartburn hits me again, just as strong as the night before.  This time, I didn't go to ER.  I just loaded up on meds taking gaviscon, tums, Zantac.  I was up until 3:00 in the morining until the pain and burn subsided.  One strange thing to mention is, when I was having the heartburn attack, I was laying down.  I felt the burn in my chest, back, arms and my ears even felt full.  When I sat up, I instantly felt all the acid rush back down.  It was the strangest feeling.  I've already seen a cardiologist and heart tests done, EKG, nuclear stress, CT scan or heart and lungs.  But yet, I am still puzzled why the burn can be felt in my back and arms.  Has anyone else experienced this????

New Member

Date Joined Feb 2013
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 2/23/2013 4:37 AM (GMT -6)   

I felt the same thing last January, it was the very "attack" that I experienced, I thought I was going to die already. Having trouble breathing and my BP went up for the first time, I was rushed to the hospital. At the E.R., I was on a panic and was asking the nurses to give me medication for the heart or anything to help ease what I was feeling, I thought I was having a heart attack or something. They asked me to relax (which was hard) and gave me oxygen to help me breath, they took ECG and constantly checked my high BP (160/100), the ECG result was normal, but my BP was still high, I told them that I was drinking excessively for about a week (during Christmas and New Year's week), the Doctor gave me Nexium, less than an hour the pain subsided and my BP went back to normal. So the culprit was a severe acidity or acid reflux.

After there I went to our family physician to get advised and be consulted, I was prescribed 3 weeks PPI once a day (Pantroprazole) and Neupatilin 3x a day (coating for the stomach lining), after finishing my medications, I was feeling well for a week and thought that everything was going smoothly.

One night, I had a very painful toothache, kept me up till 4am, annoyed and tired, I decided to take 1 Mefenamic acid (pain killer) to relieve me, less did I know that it would have a very bad effect for my condition. The next day, I felt my acidity soaring high again, it was really bad that, again I thought It was a heart related problem/emergency, I can't breath, my chest was in severe pain connecting to my back and both my arms felt limp, left ear felt like popping, stomach bloated and felt like it was so full, I tried to relax myself to the best I can, the very next day I went back to our family doctor and told him what i experienced. He took test for the heart again, checked my BP, it was all normal, so he explained that what I was experiencing was a severe acid reflux triggered again by the pain killer I took, but made it worst at the same time, so back to square 1, I was prescribed another 5 days of PPI and 3 x day Normix (antibiotic for the intestine) to help for my bloating and to protect my intestine (pain killers can cut your stomach and intestines if you are not in a good condition, as to my case, my stomach was sensitive at the time).

Took the Doctors advise, after 5 days and went back for a follow up check, the bloating was gone but the acid was still there, so the Doctor said it would be best to go to a specialist.

I went to a new Doctor, a gastrologist to have my stomach and condition checked. I was given another week of medication, upgraded to Prazole plus once a day (PPI with Motillum) and 3x a day Mucosta (for stomach lining), after 1 week I felt some improvement, and was advised to continue the Prazole plus for another month, which I'm taking up to date.

I advise that you see a GI as well, and read the articles about GERD and LPR so you will have an idea. This, as I've known also based on online research and talk with my Doctor can be a long term process. Complete lifestyle change. GERD or acid reflux is a case to case basis, some medications, remedies can work for others but sometimes can worsen others condition. Take note of the things that can trigger your acidity, learn from every experience.

I still have heart burn attacks and stuff but now I am more aware if it's about to start, when my acid levels go up again. Try not to panic (do your best), wear loose shorts/pants, don't put pressure on you stomach, elevate your head rest for 6 or 8 inches to avoid acid from flowing back to your esophagus, after eating give atleast 3 hours before sleeping.

Read a lot about this for awareness, knowledge and prevention. I know it can be VERY scary, but we have to be strong to overcome this. Try to handle this in a positive manner to avoid being depressed and frustrated. I felt like that before, which was not good as it worsened my case and added up more stress.


New Member

Date Joined Apr 2012
Total Posts : 14
   Posted 3/1/2013 11:51 AM (GMT -6)   
I have had this "attack" a few times. The first time I woke up in the middle of the night and feared I was having a heart attack. It was a violent pounding stabbing chest pain that emanated through my back. That was probably the worst pain I experienced in my life. I suspected it was a bad case of heartburn and I did not go to ER, I just vomited several times, tried to sit upright, and it was gone by the morning. Ever since then I made sure to lie with at least three pillows under my head to keep myself elevated. If you are presenting with symptoms like this, your doctor should be a lot more thorough than to just prescribe you Zantac and Tums and send you on your way. Really they should be doing an endoscopy to see if there is any hernia or damage to the esophagus, and they should consider prescribing PPIs like Somac or Nexium. In cases of severe reflux, antacids do little unless they're given with something else. If the heartburn persists even with the suggested meds I would go back to your doctor and ask about being put on Somac or Nexium which decreases acid in the stomach and can help ease some of these symptoms. Until then I'd sleep on two pillows, make sure not to go to bed on a full stomach, and avoid eating foods that are known to trigger reflux (alcohol, cigarettes, spicy or hot foods, onions, tomatoes, citrus products, caffeine, and carbonated drinks). Also as a natural remedy apples or milk can sometimes work too. Hope you feel better soon!

New Member

Date Joined Mar 2013
Total Posts : 6
   Posted 3/3/2013 8:30 AM (GMT -6)   
Thanks for your post. I too had the panic, however when I had my attack, I was told I had SVT or rapid heart rate and that was the cause of my palpitations, even though all along I thought the discomfort was epigastric. That was in Feb 2011, and fast forward to today, GERD and Hiatal Hernia have finally been diagnosed. Remaining calm is very, very difficult. Can someone tell me if when your endoscopy was performed, was the biopsy taken automatically checked for H. Pylori? Please advise.

Regular Member

Date Joined Feb 2013
Total Posts : 48
   Posted 3/5/2013 7:10 PM (GMT -6)   
I had my endoscopy done and the diagnosis is gastritis and gerd. Biopsy negative for H. Pylori. Been on Nexium 40 mg 1x per day and Famitide 40 mg before bed for 8 days now. The Nexium really does keep the acid away all day. However, I'm still experiencing Gastritis pain. I feel pain and nausea whenever I eat. As for the Gerd, it's been under control ever since I started the Nexium with the exception of today. No acid/heartburn but my back aches terribly, just like the time I went to ER with the heartburn attack. I already had a scan of my gallbladder, so I know that can't be the reason. Everyday is a challenge. Sometimes it makes me no want to get out of bed becaused I never knowhow I'm going to feel from one day to the next.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Mar 2012
Total Posts : 1110
   Posted 3/6/2013 9:02 AM (GMT -6)   
I have the back pain as well, that is the GERD. Sometimes instead of the acid heartburn it is the pressure like pain. It does vary from day to day which makes it really frustrating. I also had an ultrasound of my gall bladder so I am pretty sure it is not that.
GERD Moderator; Diagnosed GERD, no other medical conditions (this one is enough)
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