Throatburn, Backburn, Food Intolerance, Please Help

Posted , 3 users are following.

This discussion has been locked due to a period of inactivity. Start a new discussion

First off, I have gallstones and liver issues (elevated enzymes but no specific diagnosis), and I don't know if these conditions are affecting what I'm currently going through or not. I am a 29-year-old male, smoker, don't drink, slightly overweight.

About a year ago, I woke up one morning with a severe sore throat. Despite being a smoker, I almost never have a sore throat, so I assumed I had a cold. I had also just had dental work, so I thought maybe that had something to do with it. After a week, the sore throat was still there, but no further symptoms. And so my nightmare began.

I also noticed a taste in my mouth, sometimes sweet, sometimes metallic, and some degree of difficulty swallowing (mostly just an increased awareness of the swallowing process). After researching it (and due to my phobia and mild aversion of doctors), I concluded I had silent reflux. I tried taking Tums, and things got weird.

It was as if the pain in my throat were pushed downward. Now, I was feeling a burning pain in my back (right below the left shoulder blade) and in  the stomach. My stomach also felt bloated and swollen like a balloon (my stomach, not my abdomen). In the coming months, I would add lump in the throat, excessive mucous, shortness of breath, post-nasal drip, and several other odd symptoms to my list.

Fast forward a year. I quit smoking. Lost weight. Cleaned up my few remaining bad habits--and in the process extinguished whatever joy I ever got from life. I eat like a rabbit and drink only water. And my issues still remain.

I took a course of Prilosec that actually got rid of some of the symptoms--that and a wedge pillow. The postnasal drip, lump in throat, and mucous are all, blessedly, gone. But the sore throat and back persist.

Here's what I'm hoping some of you can shed light on. When I sleep on my left side, the pain in back gets much worse--but I wake up with no taste of acid and no sore throat. When I sleep on the right side, the opposite. Relief  from pain in back, but sore throat and taste of acid (it's always the left side of throat, by the way). Now, I've read that left side sleeping keeps acid out of the esophagus--and the taste of acid on right side supports this--but what the hell is hurting when I sleep on my left side? Could it be my stomach? Also, when the back pain is bad, it hurts somewhat to swallow--I can feel the food, or even drink, going over that spot below my left shoulder blade, and there is a twinge of pain. (Absurdly, it feels like my LES itself is having pain when it opens to allow food through. I have the same pain when I burp--I feel the gas build at this exact spot, then relief after I burp).

This swallowing back pain goes away if I consistently sleep on my right side. But one night of left side sleeping. . . This happened a few nights ago, and I woke up in fairly unpleasant pain. It's like reopening a wound. Every few weeks, tired of the throat discomfort, I'll get dumb and try left sleeping again. I'll wake up with a mercifully clear throat--and the unmanageable back pain.

I know I need to see a doctor. I have an appointment scheduled. But in my country, doctors and the medical establishment don't look kindly on people who aren't rich. I was told before, when I mentioned some chest pain I was having (this was well before my current symptoms), that I probably had GERD. That's it. No explanation, no prescription, no guidelines. And I'll probably have to raise a fit this time to even see a gastroenterologist. So I have little hope of being helped by anyone but myself and any of you who might have had similar experiences.

Here is what I've tried: Prilosec, Nexium, Tums, Gaviscon, baking soda, Lily of the Valley potion from Amazon, two different wedge pillows, daily 45 minute walk, ZERO acids in my diet (bland as bland can be) severe reduction of sugars and fats (already was on a low fat diet from gallstones), nothing to eat for at least 4 hours before sleeping, small meals, no caffeine (or any of the other common triggers), no smoking, no drinking, no drugs (a multivitamin that I've tried discontinuing but it doesn't seem to help or hurt). Switched my toothpaste and floss from mint to cinnamon. I try not to stress, but after quitting smoking I'm a ball of nerves and anxiety and no meditation in the world is lessening that.

I also seem to have an issue with protein. I've tried protein powder shakes as a method of getting protein--since my low fat diet make this difficult. These shakes make me feel extremely bloated and full for hours afterward--like my body can't process them. They are plant-based, not whey, and I drink them slowly, but to no avail.

Thank you to anyone who reads this and has any help or info or suggestions to impart.

One last thing, I know I did this to myself. Because of my elevated liver enzymes last year, I looked up things that healed the liver. The list, for anyone who cares to Google it, is almost verbatim the triggers of acid reflux. Very depressed, feel stupid and hopeless.

3 likes, 5 replies

Report

5 Replies

  • Posted

    WOW, you deserve my congratulations and respect for all you have done. ;-)  Now, I believe you did not mention you removed dairy from your diet, right? Or I miss it. ;-(  If not, I suggest you do for a few weeks.  Shakes do create bubbles (gas), so if you use a blender give it a few minutes before you start drinking it .  Plus, you might be using dairy which could be one of the problems. Yes, sleeping on the left side does help control reflux and sleeping on the right helps the heart. Wedge pillow is still your best if you can't sleep on the left side.  You can also have some Gaviscon advance or manuka honey before going to bed which helps. You need to protect that esophagus. ;-)  God Bless!

    Report
    • Posted

      Thank you for responding.

      I have removed dairy from my diet long ago. It was one of the few things that seemed to aggravate my lower GI, which is usually fine as all my issues seem confined to upper GI. As I said, my shakes are plant-based; I mix them with almond milk, though I've also tried soy and just plain water. I agree that the blender could be an issue, and will try just stirring the damn thing. I'm just kind of absurdly afraid to even drink one after how uncomfortably swollen my stomach felt last time. I've tried manuka honey in tea, but not by itself, so I'll try that.

      I'm just still so confused as to why sleeping on my left side causes so much pain. Like, I have to choose between scalding throat and scalding shoulder blade. What's up with that?

      Report
    • Posted

      Can't blame you. ;-)  I don't have that problem but I have read around this forum similar problems.  In my case they found I was sensitive to gluten.  Did go almost 3 months on a  grain free diet and FODMAP diet with no improvement so I just remained gluten free just in case. My pains which are all day, every day is chest muscle, rib-cage pain and lack of air which goes all the way up to my nose (like silent reflux) but ENT cleared me saying I do not have that problem. I do have moderate gastritis and mild barrets with no direct symptoms from it besides occasional bloating.  Hope you get an answer, I'll keep my eyes. ;-)  God Bless!

      Report
  • Posted

    I'm really sorry to hear about your experience. I had similar symptoms. Some were worse, while others were better. Most of my symptoms have disappeared, while some still show up, but not too the same extremes.

    The two things that seemed to help the most is eliminating gluten, sugars, alcohol, and lowering my stress.

    The stress is very difficult to do. So many things you're doing adds to the stress; pain, lack of sleep, change of diet, etc. I needed my faith in God more than ever, and it helped immensely. I also began to see the positive on everything. No more alcohol, so I saved money and was healthier. No more gluten, which meant no more processed foods, and I saved money, and was healthier, and lost weight. Instead of seeing the negatives in this new life, look at all the positives.

    My bloating seemed to be linked directly to stress.

    If you need protein, try almond butter, salmon, home made yogurt from goats milk.

    Try making power green smoothies; almond milk, kiwi, banana, and spinach.

    Try probiotic rich foods, like kimchi and other pickled veggies.

    Above all, keep your? stress down. Go for walks after eating. This lowers stress, and helps digestion.

    Read, volunteer to help others, stay active,find a new hobby, etc.

    Oh, and I had similar burning pain on my left shoulder blade between the blade and spine. I think it is acid reflux. I'm not sure how I fix it, but it seemed to get better when my stress went lower, and I cut gluten and sugar.

    Best of luck....

    Report
  • Posted

    I'm really sorry to hear about your experience. I had similar symptoms. Some were worse, while others were better. Most of my symptoms have disappeared, while some still show up, but not too the same extremes.

    The two things that seemed to help the most is eliminating gluten, sugars, alcohol, and lowering my stress.

    The stress is very difficult to do. So many things you're doing adds to the stress; pain, lack of sleep, change of diet, etc. I needed my faith in God more than ever, and it helped immensely. I also began to see the positive on everything. No more alcohol, so I saved money and was healthier. No more gluten, which meant no more processed foods, and I saved money, and was healthier, and lost weight. Instead of seeing the negatives in this new life, look at all the positives.

    My bloating seemed to be linked directly to stress.

    If you need protein, try almond butter, salmon, home made yogurt from goats milk.

    Try making power green smoothies; almond milk, kiwi, banana, and spinach.

    Try probiotic rich foods, like kimchi and other pickled veggies.

    Above all, keep your? stress down. Go for walks after eating. This lowers stress, and helps digestion.

    Read, volunteer to help others, stay active,find a new hobby, etc.

    Oh, and I had similar burning pain on my left shoulder blade between the blade and spine. I think it is acid reflux. I'm not sure how I fix it, but it seemed to get better when my stress went lower, and I cut gluten and sugar.

    Best of luck....

    Report

Join this discussion or start a new one?

New discussion

Report as inappropriate

Thanks for your help!

We want the forums to be a useful resource for our users but it is important to remember that the forums are not moderated or reviewed by doctors and so you should not rely on opinions or advice given by other users in respect of any healthcare matters. Always speak to your doctor before acting and in cases of emergency seek appropriate medical assistance immediately. Use of the forums is subject to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy and steps will be taken to remove posts identified as being in breach of those terms.

newnav-down newnav-up