Very intense chest pain when swallowing / breathing

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I’ve had acid reflux / GERD for many years now, and am on Tecta (ppi) that I was previously taking on and off. I’ve had bad heartburn before, but was generally tolerable / went away after hours / a day.

Friday, I felt by heartburn acting up and generally felt nauseous from eating, but I did not think much of it other than a normal episode.

Starting Saturday, and until now (Monday), I’ve had really bad chest pain whenever I swallow (food/drink/saliva) or breathe too heavy. It doesn’t matter what I eat / drink (usually it does – e.g. milk would normally provide some relief, etc). It’s a very intense pain, meaning I have not drank / ate a lot since Saturday.

I went to a walk-in clinic Sunday, and was told it was just GERD and to just take my Tecta regularly (which I had since Friday anyways).

Sunday was more of the same and I just wanted to eat / drink (was very thirsty) so I went to Emergency at the hospital, and was told the same.

It makes sense that it’d be caused by GERD, but the pain in my chest isn’t really a burning. It’s a very intense sharp pain many levels above what my usual heartburn feels like. Also, I know Tecta takes a while for its effects to become evident, but for almost 3 days it seems I should maybe have some relief if it was from that?

I just wanted to know if anyone here has felt anything like this before? I am getting the feeling of my normal heartburn along with the chest pain, but this chest pain is new and unbelievably painful – like I said I have barely ate and maybe drank 1-2 cups of water a day the past few days and even that has been tough.

Thank you in advance,

Dillon

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7 Replies

  • Posted

    Hi Dillon,  When I first was diagnosed with gerd that is how mine presented itself, with intense squeezing pain in my chest.  I went to ER and heart tests were done immediately, they came back normal, but I was told to follow up with my own doctor.  We did more heart tests and everything was normal.  I had an upper abdominal ultra sound to check everything and again normal.  I have never felt actual heart burn through out my last 8 months of gerd, but I have had the chest Andy upper back,pain.  I would say if you are concerned that it's something more you should go to emergency.  It is possible your meds are no longer strong enough.  Have you had any tests done to check your esophagus?  Are you following a low acid diet?

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    • Posted

      Hi Linda,

      I went to the ER on Sunday and they did heart tests too. I was told it's most likely my GERD and if taking my tecta doesn't clear it up within a week I should get a referral to a gastroenterologist.

      Was the pain you had in your chest close to unbearable? It has made me barely eat since Friday (maybe a bowl of soup and cereal a day) and have only maybe 2 cups of water a day, and even having that is extremely difficult.

      My main worry that it's something else causing this is that I have never had GERD cause me such intense pain - I'm familiar with bad heartburn in the esophagus but that's no where near what this feels like.

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    • Posted

      Mine was intense pain yes!  The best I can describe it is a charlie horse in the chest, I would literally buckle over, sweat and feel sick......Have you had a stress test done?  I had this and this is the best test to see how well your heart is functioning under stress?  I also had a heart echo and wore a 14 day holter.  All came back normal......then we did an ultra sound on my gall bladder, spleen, pancreas, liver, aorta and kidneys, all that was normal too.  I also had a blood test done to check for h-pylori, and a fecal testing to check for blood....all came back normal.   I still get some pains and discomfort, in the way of upper back pain that comes and goes, and a lump sensation in my throat.  I also can get cramping at times.   I am very cautious now of what I eat, when I eat and how much I eat.  I see my doctor in a few weeks after my modified barium swallow test and go from there.  I am beginning to wonder if I have a hital hernia, the more I am learning about it, it can cause a lot of these symptoms.  I would say if you are concerned get more testing done.  Meds can take a while to get working in your system.  I haven't taken anything just have been very careful.   It's an awful disease when it flares up.  I never had any of this prior, not even heart burn, so I was stunned when it happened as I was living a healthy life style, non smoker, non drinker, no caffiene, limited sugars.....not fair!  I am hoping to solve the piece to this on going puzzle....I hope the same for you. 

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    • Posted

      Thank you for sharing your experience, I really hope it works out for you. From what I have been reading over the past couple hours, it seems to be in line with an esophagus ulcer, and in that case there might not be much to do other than take my PPIs and wait. It very likely may not be though, but it is somewhat comforting to know something not so "serious" can cause similar symptoms. 

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    • Posted

      Yes, it is scary, but I have read people have lived like this for years and have tests done and nothing major is going on.  I think the nerves are very sensitive in the esophagus so even a little irritation can have a huge impact.  I may have to go on a trial Ppi to see if it solves my issues, mine come and go....
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  • Posted

    Hi Dillion Yes mine was.  The best I can describe it is a charlie horse in my chest.....it spasmed and it was extremely painful, I would literally buckle over, it made me break out in a sweat and I felt sick, my heart rate was high probably due to anxiety.  Leading up to all of this I never had any GERD symptoms and  in fact living a pretty healthy life style, non smoker, non drinker, limited sugar intake, no caffiene in my diet, and drank alkaline water, I was also juicing every morning so I was stunned when they said I had GERD.....I have had no heart burn....like I said since all of this the only thing that seems to stick around is lump sensation in my throat sometimes, and upper back pain on and off.  I was told that everyone can present symptoms differently, some just get the common heart burn where they feel burning in their chest and acid splashing in the back of the throat and others can present it with intense pains.  I was told by the cardiologist that the reason it can mimic a heart attack is because the esophagus and heart share the same nerves......so even after my heart tests if it gets bad enough I go to the ER.   Have you had a stress test?  I did this as this is the best indicator that your heart is functioning well, I also had a heart echo done and wore a 14 day holter monitor.....Have you had ultra sounds done to check your gall bladder, liver, pancreas, spleen, aorta and kidney's?   There are all tests I have done and everything came back normal, so they are linking mine to GERD.  The only tests I have had on my digestive tract, is an hpylori blood test and fecal test to check for blood....all came back normal.  I see my doctor in three weeks after I go for a modified barium swallow test to see if my muscles are swallowing properly, then I guess we will go from there.   I am starting to wonder if I have a hital hernia, as I feel tenderness at times under my sternum......Tacta should help your symptoms, but sometimes, it can take a few days to get working proper.....I haven't taken anything for mine, just very careful of what I eat and when I eat it and I make sure I eat smaller portions, I also am working on my posture, and trying to relax my tense muscles.  I also sleep on a wedge and sleep on my left side mostly.  The acid watcher diet is the best thing I have read as it gives great recipes for food that it not acid forming in your stomach.  I hope this helps.  It is a horrible disease when it flares up.  It has cost me a lot of worry and anxiety and has robbed me from some joy, but I am hoping to be a step closer every day to healing.  I hope the same for you.

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  • Posted

    Iv suffered from reflux for years a lansoprozol stopped working for me.

    im trying to control it with watching what I eat. But since Sunday iv had tightness in my chest, back pain. It scares me, thinking I’m having a heart attack, iv had ECGs done last year and they said they are fine.

    my tummy seems very bloated. It’s causing my anxiety to go through the roof, which I’m on medication for, 

    it’s a horrible thing to suffer from.

    i feel your pain, a lot of the symptoms you’ve got I have too. 

    Hope we can get some advice on this forum 

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