Living with Hiatus hernia and vagus nerve problems for 30 years

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In 1985 I gave myself a hiatus hernia this was caused while lifting weights but was not actually diagnosed until 1994. In 1985 when I injured myself I was in the Royal Air Force up until this point I considered myself to be quite fit, the first symptom I started experiencing was palpitations especially after over exerting myself from exercise. I went to see the RAF doctor at the time and after experiencing extremely bad chest pain was referred to a military medical specialist this was in 1986 in between I kept on getting the palpitations which was starting to worry me. After my appointment with the specialist he said that I was suffering from a chest virus which was more common in older people. He said it would clear up by itself and advised me to carry on training. So I carried on with my running cycling and I carried on with weight training but used lighter weights as well as sit ups skipping and football. The palpitations carried on I stared to experience other things I had pain in my neck shoulder ache headaches and chest pains.


I left the RAF in 1897 but this symptoms carried on I got a job as a furniture lorry driver which meant lifting and carrying a lot, looking back on it I sometimes wonder how I managed and I cycled back and to work for many years but always had an uncomfortable feeling in my stomach especially under the ribcage I was also suffering from acid indigestion and regurgitation. I was now seeing a German Doctor as the chest pains were more frequent he carried out many tests and sent me to a heart specialist I had a barium test but nothing showed up. Then in 1993 we moved to a new area and the problems I was having were not getting any better I was getting more and more neck pain shoulder pain and pain between my shoulder blades. But my stomach was always very acidy so my house doctor sent me to an internist who gave me my first examination with an endoscope and found that I had a small hiatus hernia this was in 1994. This was the first time that I was put on omeprazol 40mg and have been taking this medication since then. 


The past couple of years my back pain has got a lot worse underneath my shoulder blades my neck my left shoulder sometimes my arm goes numb and now my left breast aches like hell and I now have a lot of pain in my left arm pit. I am in continuous pain right between my shoulder blades and now seem to have an itch that I can’t scratch also in the shoulder blade region.


I have been on an internet form which I have recently come across which discusses the vagus nerve and hiatus hernia this forum seems to cover all the symtoms that I have been experiencing over the past 30 years. I have recently had a medical I am now 52 years old and still refuse to stop doing exercise even though I am now at the end of my tether. The doctor told me that I am still keep myself quite fit, but I am finding this quite hard to keep up. I can’t cycle anymore and running and jogging is out of the question, I walk quite often but it’s more of a march than a walk I do not enjoy it I suppose it’s just self disiplin that makes me do it but for how much longer I don’t know. This forum that I came across seems to have answered the question that I have been asking doctors for many years now. The vagus nerve could be the culprit and is it true that the hiatus hernia presses against this nerve and could therefore be causing most of my symptoms, like I said I am now finding this condition very hard to live with, I am looking for help on how to deal with this medical condition as the doctors I have visited won’t listen to me.

Thank You for your time

Richard Jones

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  • Posted

    Hi welshexport

    i have read about your life long problems with hiatus hernia.

    i to was injured in the army as a result from a fall i ended up with a hiatus hernia.and had to undergo surgery to repair the hiatus hernia. and had another 3 ops after my first in 1990 to repair reoccurrent hernia's. what that your doc may not have told you is untreated hernias irrespective of type can only get bigger and as the increase in size more of the stomach pushes through into the chest and causes you to experience more symptoms e.g pain under left ribcage,pain pain iand tingling in your left arm shooting through to left shoulder blade, the feeling of fullness after eating very little amount of food. tightness in the chest  fact you have been lifting heavy items of furniture will increase the possibilty of the tear in your diaphragm bieng bigger as it has been 21 years since you were diagnosed.and 11 years since you had a endoscopy done.

    Acid reflux is a result of the valve at the top of the stomach not closing properly

    and acid flows from the stomach and sometimes partly digested food could end up backing up into your mouth after swallowing.  it would be prudent to speak to your doc and get a mri scan done to find out the true size of your hiatus hernia. e.g 3cm,5cm 10cm. remember 3cm is two and half inches.  a scan will put your mind at rest . didnt say if you had severe heartburn ?you may need an endoscopy to see if you have developed barrets osoephagus which is acid erosion of the lining at the bottom of your osoephagus  which causes chest pain and heartburn,indigestion

    if barrets osoephagus is not detected and treated you could end up with cancer?of the osoephagus so if you not been checked get checked? a.s.a.p  you have to  look after yourself.

    you need to speak to your gp and let him know how this problem is affecting your quality of life . you may want to discuss with youre gp what  regarding the possibility of

    a laproscopic repair of your hernia .which is less invasive than an open op proceedure .

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  • Posted


    It's  been 19 years since they said you had an hiatus hernia. I don't know if they told you what kind of hiatus hernia you have but I think you need to be reassessed if you have a rolling ( paraesophageal hernia) then it more urgent for treatment. I had that kind and had an operation to put my stomach back in its rightful place. 

    Once while I was waiting for surgery I had the Vegas nerve being pressed by my stomach that caused me a terrible headache, nausea and dizziness. I went to emergency that time. It really made me burp continuously , so much so that they couldn't get a temperature by oral method. I didn't have the shoulder pain but used to get a sore chest. Find yourself a new doctor that is willing to send you for another endoscopy. 


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  • Posted

    I had laparoscopic fundoplication surgery two months ago because I had a giant Hiatus Hernia ie my stomach was totally encased in my thorax. I had many trips to the hospital because I thought I was having a Heart Attack. Pain which was in my jaw and teeth and running down my arm and pain in my chest and palpitations and eventually I found it difficult to breathe. My GP sent me to have a multitude of tests for heart lung and I did loads of research until I found that it could be the hernia! IT WAS AND NOW I CAN BREATHE AGAIN! I am soooooo pleased I had this surgery although I have had the expected side effects of the op but happily I am on the mend and have had no palpitations since! Find a good Specialist who deals with Hiatus Hernias and tell your GP to think outside the square!

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  • Posted

    I fully understand what you are talking about. I as a baby my parents were told that they probably would not rear me. I always had sore throats and what the Dr termed tolsilitis and colds. I wad a good athlete and ran like the wind but was sick after. Always had giddy attacks and could not even have a ride on a swing because of the dizziness. As I grew older and married, each time I became pregnant had a bad time. Could not breathe etc. My 2nd son had the same and everytime they had a sports carnival and he did tug of war etc he was vomiting and the Dr always said that he had food poinoning from eating hot dogs for lunch. he suffers badly with back problems and pains under the shoulder blades, as do I. One specialist said that I had a large liver but another one I went to said that it was not my small sliding hiatud hernia at all that it was the bloating from the bowel gas causing my stomach to push up under my rib cage, hence the constant pain. It is a very diversive subject. i do know several people who have been diagnosed with food intolerance. latest relative of mine was told she had fibromalgia but it was in actual fact all pain caused from food intolerance. it is a matter of finding the right Dr that will listen to you and not just give you a hand full of pills and hope you get better. I do have heart palpitatios and break out in hot sweats as soon as I eat something that I cannot tolerate. I could go on and on but hope what I have said here may help you get the right diagnosis. Irritable from food intolerances can actually cause stroke or heart attacks and I have been told that if you don't keep the bowel regulat that it cn actually cause ruptured bowel. Woukd like feed bck from you after you see someone.
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  • Posted

    Well I must say I hope this to be the most informative post on Hiatal Hernai and Barrett's esophagus. I have had both for 9 years all or most of the same pains and issue as all of you I will be very curious what info comes out of it 

    I just want to thanks you all in advance knowledge is power 


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