I went through a long spell a few years ago of seemingly swallowing alot of air. It seemed so silly, and I would try to swallow, without swallowing air.....but I wasn't sure how to do that! I, too, would try to make myself burp, but I discovered that that actually introduces even more air into your stomach. But it sure makes you feel better for a second or two!
I usually ended up taking alot of gas-x for it. So much of this sensation seemed to go away for me, when I started taking Aciphex. I'm thinking you might not be swallowing air, but it feels like you are, because you get so bloated a little further down. Have you read about carbs potentially causing alot of gas? Perhaps you could try cutting back on your carb consumption.
Is Protonix a proton pump inhibitor? How long have you been on it?
I know that someties when one ppi doesn't work for you, another will, so you might consider trying another, if this one doesn't work after a few weeks.
For me, my worst symptom of GERD was incredible upper GI bloating. I burped 24 hours a day!! Once I got started on the Aciphex, I quit burping!! It was so wonderful!
When you say you feel like you're swallowing air........do you mean you're bloated?? Or might you mean you feel like you have something caught in your throat? I just want to be sure we're talking about the same thing.