pain between shoulders, feeling like esophagus. Any help appreciated.

Posted , 6 users are following.

I am a 37 year old female with a normal weight BMI. I have been on 40 mg Nexium since 5/2017 for GERD and LPR. I started slowly cutting down November 2017. I am currently on 30 mg Nexium and really struggling. I don’t have heartburn or voice issues again, but I have a dull ache between my shoulder blades. It has gotten worse and worse the more I cut down on the Nexium. Sometimes it is almost debillitating and I feel scared of esophagus issues. Sometimes the pain goes up to my neck and down my back. I am currently taking mastic gum between meals, 75 mg ranitidine, chewing DGL licorice, taking digestive enzymes, and drinking aloe vera juice before meals. I am on a probiotic and drinking apple cider vinegar in water twice per day. I have tried dietary changes and have recently given up sugary sweets.

My question is, should I be worried about the nearly constant dull ache between my shoulder blades or is this a normal part of acid rebound? If it’s normal, I can persevere through the pain and keep cutting down on that horrid PPI. Has anyone else dealt with this? I am considering making an appointment with my PCP, but they always say I should increase my PPI as high as possible. I am tired of drugs. I am only 37 years old. I have tried getting off PPIs before in 2016 and it worked for awhile, but then I had shooting pain in my back and chest. I got scared at that point and started up again and increased from 20 mg to 40 mg per my PCP’s instructions. I am grateful for any help.

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  • Posted

    Hi havnt had shoulder pain. Have you had a gastroscopy done. It could be none erosive reflux . You have to have reflux for a long time to get esophagus. Pain in shoulders dosnt seem to sound like reflux ,could be from the tablets themselves. I would get a gastroscopy done. If you have osophagus you would be finding it hard to swallow and Im sure a few other symptoms hope this helps
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  • Posted

    Yes, sounds like reflux pain.  Now, why are you taking ACV?  Do you have low acid levels?  If not, I suggest you drop it ASAP because is just increasing your acid levels.  I have reflux with low acid levels, in my case I can use ACV but not you if your levels are already high or normal.  I suggest you go to 30mg and stay at 30 until you have an endoscopy to play it safe.  Just dropping the ACV might do the trick for you.  You probably already know this but eat some oatmeal with are reflux diet, eat smaller meals ,do not eat within 3 hours of bed, use a wedge pillow. and no water with foods and 45 minutes before bed.  
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    • Posted

      Thank you!  I have already had endoscopies in 2015 and 2017 that determined GERD, hiatal hernia, etc in 2015, 2017 looked better, so I was trying to avoid having another one.  But now that I've been trying to taper off the PPI, this shoulder blade pain is more intense and scaring me a bit, so I've been considering having another endoscopy.  

      How did you determine that you have low acid levels?  I have been wanting to test for that.  


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    • Posted

      If you had one less than a year ago I see no use for another, this back pain is normal for people with reflux.  I took the Heidelberg reflux test and it showed low acid levels.  So they put me on Betaine/Pepsin plus enzymes.  Now, I do have gastritis as well so first I have to deal with the gastritis because betaine can irritate my stomach even more when you have gastritis. So this is not an easy 1-2-3 answer because we are all difrerent and we have different pre-conditions that changes everything.  


      God Bless!

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    • Posted

      Thank you.  I really want to do the Heidelberg reflux test, but I live in a rural area and have no idea where I could have it done.  I'll research for sure.  

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    • Posted

      They found a small hiatal hernia with my 2015 endoscopy, but with my 2017 endoscopy the surgeon didn't see one.  I hope this lets me off the hook for needing meds forever! 

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  • Posted

    Hi Jenga21,

    I’m also having pain  which alternates between  my shoulder blades and in my chest, I also get a heavy/ weird feeling in my left hand and throbbing along my sternum. I think it’s a couple of hours after food. I’m also on Omeprazole 20 mgs twice a day and due to have an endoscopy soon. My GP said that I have to stop taking the Omeprazole 2 weeks prior to the endoscopy ( because it would affect a biopsy result) and I’m dreading it. However, I’m going to ask my GP if there’s an alternative I can take instead. 

    I agree with the advice about stopping the apple cider vinegar. It’s a strong acid and would aggravate any sore area inside your oesophagus, so you should stop taking it immediately in my opinion. 

    Are you eating a completely normal diet?

    I have drastically changed to an alkaline diet and I’m eating salads and chicken and lots of fruit ( not citrus) and veg and drinking decaf green tea sweetened with honey, I’m sure this is helping me. 

    Keep a food diary to see if there’s something that exacerbates your symptoms. I ate a hot cross bun but I really suffered after it!! 

    I have been greatly reassured by reading other people’s symtoms and knowing that I’m not alone and I’m not going crazy is better than any medicine.. Until you’ve suffered from this I don’t think anyone knows just how debilitating it is. I look OK and  I don’t look ill. I’ve lost a stone in the last few weeks but I think that just makes me look a bit healthier so people aren’t really aware of how much it’s hurting inside. 

    There aren’t enough articles in newspapers or magazines discussing hiatal hernia and GORD symptoms, and it is so frightening when it’s really severe. I really thought I was going to die and I’ve been so anxious about it that I’m sure my GP after my fifth visit in two weeks just thought I was having panic attacks............

    Good luck and take care

    We’re all rooting for each other. I’d love to hear some success stories!! 

    How do we defeat this horrible thing! 

    Kind regards


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    • Posted


      Thank you so much for your response.  I'd love to hear success stories too, especially for those with hiatal hernias and LPR.  I am currently eating a normal diet, but will try gluten free, dairy free, refined sugar free and eliminating acidic foods soon.  I am working on eating slowly and chewing my food more thoroughly.  My worst food is pepperoni pizza, but that is easy to avoid.  The hardest one for me is giving up coffee.  I am down to 1

      cup per day mixed with coffee tamer powder that I got off Amazon.  I mix Folgers simply smooth coffee with a regular keurig pod.  I tried giving up coffee in 2016, but didn't notice any improvement in my symptoms and had low grade depression, so I went back to 1-2 cups daily.   I will try stopping the apple cider vinegar.  I do dilute it with water though.  Thanks again and good luck preparing for your endoscopy.  I know it's brutal.  I want off the PPIs so badly.    

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