Mild Spasms below rib cage

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Veteran Member

Date Joined May 2006
Total Posts : 1177
   Posted 4/2/2013 6:05 PM (GMT -6)   
Sorry, long post.

I went to my primary care physician a couple of weeks ago for a spasm that I started feeling right below my rib cage near the xyphoid process in the middle of my abdomen that was waking me up around 3 am or so. I remembered feeling something similar a couple of years ago, and since it woke me up at night for almost 3 days in a row this time, I decided to see a doctor.

My spasms were pretty mild - it didn't even make me wince really. It just felt like a mild squeezing right below my sternum that would come and go. On for about 5 seconds, returning like every 30 seconds for a varying period of time, sometimes an hour, sometimes just a couple of minutes. Drinking some water seemed to calm things down and I could go back to sleep. It is worse at night than during the day - I hardly feel any squeezing during the day.

The PCP thought it was my gall bladder and ordered an ultrasound. The ultrasound report came clear for gall bladder and gall stones, but said my pancreas had an abnormal appearance! They tested my pancreatic enzyme levels 14 days after onset of symptoms, and it was normal. The PCP asked me if I had a history of pancreatitis, which I do not.

So, all this scared me enough into visiting my husband's GI. I saw him today, and he thinks the ultrasound was just wrong. He said the ultrasound cannot image the pancreas well enough. His opinion is that I am suffering from acid reflux spasms. He gave me a script for levsin and told me to come back and see him in 6 weeks. He also scheduled me for a CT with contrast to look at my pancreas to make sure there are no abnormalities.

I don't have normal symptoms of acid reflux - I do have some burping and belching, but no burn. Also, I don't get aches after eating. It seems to happen mostly at night when I'm asleep around 3 am. The spasms are not in my chest area, it is below the rib cage in the upper part of my abdomen along the center line.

Does this sound like it could be acid reflux? Are there others who have experienced this? What do you do to alleviate it?

Thanks for your help.


Forum Moderator

Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 7188
   Posted 4/5/2013 12:24 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi PV,
Sorry to hear you're struggling with spasms.  While I've never experienced those, I can tell you that you can have reflux with out knowing it.  Silent reflux is very common, and often people stop by with reflux related problems but no heartburn symptoms.
It's good to hear that you've seen a GI doc.  That's always wise.  Glad to hear you've having some additional testing.  Hopefully someone who's had similar symptoms will be by soon to share their experiences and support.
Best wishes!
GERD/Heartburn Moderator
Nissen Fundoplication 2/09

"Whatever you fight, you strengthen, and what you resist, persists.”

“Worry pretends to be necessary but serves no useful purpose”

“Accept - then act. Whatever the present moment contains, accept it as if you had chosen it. Always work with it, not against it.”
Eckhart Tolle
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