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Acid Reflux / GERD Message Board


Acid Reflux / GERD Board Index


I have been taking Prevacid for 3 years. I had an endoscopy last month and still have slight irritation. I follow most of the rules and have my bed raised. I know when I eat chocolate and the other offenders, it acts up. However, even when I am eating correctly sometimes I get a lot of burping...nothing comes up but the pain is worse in my upper back between the shoulder blades. When I burp it improves so I am almost sure it's from gas. I also get the gas pains in my face and jaw. SO uncomfortable. I'd like to know if anyone else gets this awful back pain and what you do for it and if you are on any medications, if so, which one. Thanks.
I'm having horrible deep back pains... I'm not on anything.. my PCP want's me to try muscle relaxers.. but I hate those things.
I also have the burping and what feels like heartburn/indegestion. I can feel it in my throat alot. I have been having horrible jaw pains the last few days along with the heartburn feeling. Tums dont seem to be helping though i actually have been worrying that it is something with my heart. I went to the ER a few months ago with the pain between the shoulder blades, i still get that also but today it seems to be in my left shoulder and jaw its really annyoing me.
I have the pain in my back, too. Mostly by my right shoulder blade. That's why the doctor was first looking at my gallbladder. It's not as bad since I'm taking the Prilosec 2x/day, but I still get it at times. Sometimes it feels like something is stabbing me and actually takes my breath away and stops me dead in my tracks. I also have the burning pain in my back when I eat something I shouldn't.

I get twinges of pain in my jaw and had no idea it was from the reflux.
I have back right lung area pain every day. It heps a bit if I press my back into something like the back of a chair or a pillow. I gave up on painkillers because I dont want to take extra strong stuff and normal painkillers dont work. I just put up with it. Must admit it gets worse if I am hunched over so I am getting a better supporting chair for using the pc!!!

Benzos
Yesterday.....I had severe pain (indigestion) in my stomach and went to my back.....I couldnt sit, stand or do anything.....finally after hours is subsided....Im still now waiting for my dr. to call me back.....Ive had indgestion for a long time and never expierenced that in my life...it scared me to death....I was going to go to the ER if it didnt ease up......Now Im afraid to eat......what is it
I get this too...in fact it started before the bad indigestion..it felt almost muscular but it sure was painful :confused:
I also get the terrible back pain everyday starting about midday and usually have the burning in the sternum directly across. I'm wondering though when does everyone seem to have these back pain?

For me when I first get up in the morning for about 2-3 hours everything is great, no GERD no back pain. As the day wears on I develop both, every day. I'm not sure if the GERD is causing the back or the back is causing the GERD (not sure how that would work but...) by the end of the day all I can do is get home and lay on the sofa to relieve the pain.
The pain from the GERD is radiating to the back. I remember once I swallowed a hard piece of bread crust and it hurt in my upper back as it was going down. This back pain is so annoying, harder to relieve than the heartburn but the same drugs help it. I usually have something hot like ginger or chamomile tea and a Tums or two. No particular time of the day for me.
I also have acid reflux and have the pain in my upper back and also in my jaw at times. This has gone of since 2003 does not seem to get worse but also after being on Aciphex for most of that time does not get better either. I can understand the back pain but sure don't get the jaw pain
Thanks to everyone who replied. Abiesgirl, do you get the pain just when you've had a little too much acid causing foods or just from nowhere? I don't understand the jaw pain either but read it on some website or message board, so it seems like we're not the only ones. I guess it's the nerve pathways. I hate when I feel it in my jaw and face, it is really hard to focus on anything else and br with people in a good mood...you just want to go home and be alone. I do anyway! Like you, even with the Prevacid, I get this occasionally. And even with Prevacid, the dr. saw some esophageal irritation recently on an endoscopy. I don't know what else we can all do to get rid of this. I thought the PPIs we're taking would solve the problem.
abiesgirl,

I get the jaw pain also, that is one of the reasons i thought it was my heart for so long. I would also get left arm pain. All of this caused anxiety, which probably caused more nervousness, which caused more
gerd symptoms which caused more anxiety...

Karen,

"I hate when I feel it in my jaw and face, it is really hard to focus on anything else and br with people in a good mood...you just want to go home and be alone."

Man did you hit it on the head with that statement. I was having lunch with my son today and had an attack, all i wanted to do was go home and be alone...I felt terrible as he probably thinks I didn't want to be there. My poor wife whenever we go out I'm sure I'm going to get these chest pain, jaw pain, etc (Gerd/anxiety) and all I want to do is go home...and be alone. Even when I'm home I just want to be left alone to "diagnosis" every pain I have and wonder if it's going to be a bad night or not.

I'm getting better forcing myself to not rush home and to try and ignore the pain whenit happens to not ruin everyone elses life...but it is hard. Keep your head up and keep trying, hopefully it will get better for all of us.
Hopefully this post will help others here.

I have suffered from esophageal spasms due to acid reflux for 16 years. I'm a very small person. 5'3 105 pds, athletic, non drinker, non smoker, consistant blood pressure of 103-110/58-64, pulse ranges in mid 60's.

Anyway....I have taken Xanax .05mg on a PRN basis over the course of these 16 years, whenever I had a bad attack. The first 3 sent me to the ER thinking I was having a massive heart attack. They have tried me on every proton pump inhibitor that has been released over the years, but I cannot tolerate them. So I learned to stay away from the known antagonists....ie...caffeine, spicey foods, greasy foods, citrus, yada yada yada.

Thursday evening around 5pm, we ate at a well known chain restaurant....I had loaded baked potato soup and a yeast roll. About 9pm I started feeling some burning in my chest. I took a xanax and tried to relax and forget it. By 11pm I had severe chest pain radiating into my left jaw, shoulder and wrist. The pain was so intense I started feeling sick at my stomach, sweating, etc. I kept telling myself.....it's acid reflux.....it's not a heart attack....you've been thru the tests before.....:dizzy:

By 7am.....I was exhausted.....pale and no better. Called my internist...and was told to report to ER immediately. They rushed me into a room and started a line in my hand, did EKG, gave me 4 baby aspirin to chew up and sprayed nitro glycerin under my tongue. They drew blood for heart enzymes. EKG was reading normal. Sent me to ultrasound for gallbladder, liver,pancreas, right kidney ultrasound.

Back to ER holding room to await results. Doc comes in and say's gallbladder is "pristine". Not even 1 gallstone.:confused: And my heart enzymes are perfect as well. Chest pain is starting to return. They give me another shot of nitro under my tongue and give me a GI cocktail (liquid maalox and .05mg Xanax). Within 2 minutes I start feeling really bad....both arms go numb and my heart feels like it's laboring. My blood pressure dropped to 90/47. Doc said it's ok....this is actually good, if it was cardiac.....nitro would not drop your bottom number. Within a few more minutes....those sensations went away. Now they come in and do a chest xray. She comes back in and say's chest xray is normal, but they are admitting me for at least 24 hours for observation....but she feels it's gastrointestinal. Up to the cardiac floor I go. Next morning, Sat, yesterday, they schedule me for a 10 minute treadmill stress test. Aced that...cardiologist said "I'll see you when your 90".

Now it's back into the wheelchair and down to GI for an endoscopy.:dizzy:
OH I HATE THAT TEST!!!!!!!!! Gag city. Results show healthy pink tissue in esophagus, and hiatial hernia still small. Final diagnosis.....massive esophageal spasms due to acid reflux. Instructions to continue xanax for spasms, and now an added pain medication for the severe chest/back/jaw pain. I'm sitting here typing....with chest pain. I guess the southwestern cobb salad I had for lunch today is disagreeing with me. :yawn:

Hopefully my experience will help some of you with the anxiety side of our condition. :)
Vickie, that's some story! I am glad you're ok but that doesn't change the fact that you (and I) get these awful pains. Do you get them radiating to your back like I do though?

Also you say you can't take proton pump inhibitors but what about the milder things like Zantac? What happened when you took the PPIs that you can't take them anymore?

Thanks for the reply. I find it interesting that they call the pains spasms and that xanax works for them. I have klonopin here but never took it (just for anxiety "emergencies" which never happen).
Hi Karen. Yes the pain radiates to my back...between my shoulder blades. It's doing it right now along with the chest pain. Back in 1990 they tried me on Zantac, and it did nothing. Prilosec caused severe abdominal pain. Next they tried Aciphex...that gave me terrible diarreah, Prevacid made my face and lips swell. At the hospital yesterday the gastro gave me a scrip for Nexium. I have not filled it. And I'm not sure I'm going too.....as every other PPI has caused unacceptable sides effects.

The reason it's called esophageal spasm is because the acid actually causes the muscle of the esophagus to go into a spasm. Since this sits directly over the chest wall...it mimics a massive heart attack in almost everyway. But once diagnostic tests rule out cardiac as the cause...they can diagnose esophageal spasm. Like IBS.....esophageal spasms can only be diagnosed once other disease is ruled out.

Xanax is a central nervous system suppresent....therefore it by nature relaxes muscle. Most of the time that alone stops the symptoms within 10 minutes. In all these years I have never had to increase the strength or dosage. But within the last 2 weeks, I have had 2 of the worst attacks in my 16 year history. The xanax didn't put a dent in it. So now, I guess it's going to be xanax and pain medication if it starts to get to bad.
karen,

I hope I'm not out of line here but want to make sure there is not a misunderstanding. The xanax has no analgesic properties (that I know of I take lorazapam when needed) and will not help with the spasms in that way. Xanax is used to help alleviate anxiety, which comes with these spasms. (You think you are having an heart attack so you become anxious). (This information comes from a government site but I don't think we are allowed to post addresses on this site)

I use tramadol for the pain I have in my back and chest. Tramadol works on the CNS. I start out in the morning fine but by noon my back and chest are screaming. when I get home I have to take a tramadol which has worked wonders. (I've been on for 1 week) problem is tramadol can be addictive so I only use one tablet a day instead of the 8 you can take.

So I didn't want you to take a klonopan thinking that it would stop the pain. What it might do though is to calm you some. I think what happens to a lot of us is we have this pain all the time so when it starts we obsess on it and worry about it and it becomes worse and worse because of our worrying. (not saying it's not there or all in your head but in my case I know i can compound by obsessing about it)

Try an experiment, the next time you have the pain take a klonopan, if it helps that tells you that some of the pain is from tense muscle etc from worrying. If it does nothing then you have your answer...oh yea only do this when you are in for the night it might make you very tired, etc.

Let us know what happens
Thank you so much for clarifying that. Yes, I did think you meant it helped the pain. I know that xanax is for anxiety and thought perhaps it has some muscle relaxant properties I wasn't aware of. When the pain gets bad, I usually take two tylenols so as not to upset my stomach further. If this continues, I'll have to really restrict my diet 100% (no chocolate or LES muscle relaxing things, etc.) or consider surgery which to me would be a last result. I heard there are newer techniques since Nissin that are more effective. Also trying to lose 10 pounds which may help the hiatal hernia that's partially responsible for this mess! Thank goodness I only get that back pain occasionally.
Karen.....the Xanax is not a pain reliever. What it does is relax the muscles of the esophagus and chest wall. Spasms cause pain. When the spasm stops so does the pain. My recent problem for what ever reason, the xanax which has worked for 16 years....did not stop the spasm. This is why I ended up with a hospital workup.

Maybe I should also explain that the first episode 16 years ago that landed me in the ER, was diagnosed as esophageal spasm, when the doc found out that I had been sitting in a movie theater eating buttery popcorn.
Blam.....out of no where with no previous symptoms of any kind.....my chest felt like an elephant stomped on it. It bore thru to my back and the pain was so intense I could barely breathe.

EKG was normal.....other tests were as well. They gave me a GI cocktail of maalox and xanax......almost immediately (not more than a few minutes)......pain totally gone. That confirmed the doc's diagnosis. The rich popcorn had caused stomach acid to splash into my esophagus and my body reacted by sending the muscles of my esophagus into a severe spasm. I didn't even know the acid had splashed into it.

Within a few months I started to have "water brash". And spicey food...citrus....and tomato based foods started giving me indigestion. That's when the acid reflux diagnosis was added to the esophageal spasms.

As I said in my OP....I am now still to take the xanax when the episode hits...as I have always done, but if the pain continues or increases, obviously the spasm is not stopping, and they have now added a pain med to my medical management for those episodes.

Sorry if somehow you thought the xanax would control the "intense" type pain. My situation may be quite different from others here with basic acid reflux. I have a combo of acid reflux plus diffuse esophageal spasms.:wave:
I too suffer from horrible esophageal spasms... I thought I was having a heart attack also and had a nuclear stress test and echocardiogram to rule out problems with the heart. I get HORRENDOUS back pain and chest pain... really bad episodes seem to come on with anxiety and stress and have been completely debilitating and along with back and chest pain my whole upper body seems to clench and tighten up. I was given diazepam (valium) for anxiety reasons and when I took it, I noticed it relaxed my esophagus also... benzo's are muscle relaxants and they really don't know why diazepam causes anxiety relief, because it was originially used as a muscle relaxant. Unfortunately, the diazepam caused my heart to race and pound really hard, so I'm scared to take it again, and do not want to become addicted to it. I'm starting to think my whole problem is psychological in nature, ie stress I've been going through is causing my reflux and my esophagus to clench all the time. Vickie, did your GI mention anything about an low-dose anti-depressant to help? I know both my GI and GP have mention putting me on a low dose AD, one, because of my anxiety and two, because my GI said it would help with the esophageal spasms. I'm always reluctant to try new drugs, especially psychotropic ones, but I'm getting desperate. Also, you should try nexium. I've tried protonix and aciphex... both gave me horrible side effects... I started nexium a couple of days ago and it's been a god-send... no effects of ANY kind.
Moe,

I have a similar situation in that the pain was consuming my every thought and I became depressed (mild no suicide thoughts,etc just kind of defeated by the whole thing) by the constant worry. My Doc wanted to put me on a low dose AD but after researching the side effects I just couldn't do it. Well I have a very forward thinking doctor and she suggested SAM-e (pronounced sammy has a very long scientific name). It is an amino acid but has been used in Europe for 20+ years to treat mild depression. The nice part is that it has a very low side effect issue (really none) and seems to work faster than the AD's. I could go on and say alot more about it but would probably get some of it wrong. So go to any search engine and type in "SAM-e" and do your research. I will say that in some of the studies they did they used 1600mg of the stuff. I find that to be WAY too much and I use 400mg a day. It took about 3 weeks for it to really kick in. Also to let you know it will not help the pain but what it did for me was to help calm my mind so the pain doesn't consume my every thought any more. Let me know what you think.
I have actually have read alittle about SAM-e and was debating on trying it... I haven't read enough, but I will... it's over the counter... well you can get it at like GNC... but has it been FDA approved? I've thought about alternatives to AD's because I really don't want to get on them... but it's come to the point where I need something... I've even thought about St. John's wort...
No I'm almost sure it is not FDA approved for depression. (which means nothing to me) Please continue your research, I think you will find that St John Wart is not near as effective as Sam-e. In my opinion there is little downside as the side effects are almost nil. the one thing that I hear about is cost, 2.00 dollars a pill. That is crazy talk and if you look on the internet enough you can get 30 tablets for 20.00 bucks or .67 a tablet.

Remember it's not a miracle but does help. Good luck
Hi Moe. My GI suggested the Xanax .05mg. That was 16 years ago. I have never had to increase the strength or frequency. I have had zero side effects from the xanax. I am exquisitely chemical sensitive. Many many drugs I cannot tolerate. I thankfully do not suffer from anxiety or depression.

My esophageal spasms are a result of nerve damage. I can only imagine how awful it must be to have this problem and then have it compounded with anxiety disorder. :eek:

My spasms are very much like yours. Thank God they do not happen every day. In the past the Xanax would relax the esophageal muscle, and that would stop the pain. Think of it like a severe spasm in your calf muscle, ya know. Then it all makes sense. Once you stop the spasm....the pain goes away. However....I have evidently taken a downward step. Most esophageal spasms are due to either acid reflux, and/or damage to the nerve endings in the esophagus. I have both.

None of my Dr's have suggested use of AD's, since I don't suffer depression. The CNS (xanax) as I have said, took care of the problem for 16 years. Evidently the nerve damage has gotten worse, so now I'm going to occasionally need a narcotic along with it to handle the severe pain that now is going to accompany the worst of the attacks.

Over the years as they have been approved, my GI has tried me on many PPI's. Everyone has caused awful side effects. So I basically did a total lifestyle dietary change. No citrus, tomato based foods, greasy foods, spicey foods, no caffeine. It really was not hard to do.....because as you well know.....the attacks are so horrible, it was actually easy to eliminate them from my diet. :)
Actually.. before I was experiencing alot of anxiety, my GI suggested the AD and said it has helped with some people and that nitrates don't really do much... also.. honestly, I would really give nexium a try. I had horrible side effects on protonix and aciphex, but the nexium has done absolutely nothing as far as side effects and has done exactly what it's supposed to do for reflux...I wouldn't even know I have taken it except for the relief... the thing is, if reflux is causing more and more nerve damage, you really need something to control it.. I know diet isn't good enough... I tried changing my diet, and while it helped, it didn't give me the relief I have found with nexium. Have you been scoped? Not to scare, but if you are having constant reflux I would worry about Barrett's... I have a patch of it very high up in my esophagus for some reason :confused: ...anyway, I hope they find something if the xanax is wearing off.. have they suggested another benzo maybe? Klonopin or Activan? Or something like skelaxin or flexeril? Except that I guess there is a difference between smooth muscle relaxants and things for like your legs and such...

I'm so scared about using benzo's though to cure it because the feeling of not having my esophagus constricted constantly would be too addicting and the drugs are so addicting as is... Has anyone talk to you about esophageal stretching?? I think I read somewhere that this may help for esophageal spasms and contriction....
moesciphish, you ask some good questions. I don't have the answers as far as flexiril but I can't imagine being on flexiril when I have to function...it makes me very sleepy! My feelings about antidepressants are that I would rather go through the reflux pain than go through withdrawal from antidepresssants (I once did and it was a nightmare). Some people say that you can be on antidepressants forever but there's not enough research on that and the day may come when we are unable to get them for some reason and then what?

I have better luck on Prevacid than Nexium so it's a very individual thing, trial and error. I would rather give up every culprit food than be on a benzo or antidepressant consistently but I respect other's choices if that's all that works for the spasms. I am curious about your questions as far as which muscles are relaxed and will ask my GI doctor. If anyone finds out the answer, please post it on this thread. It feels like someone is drilling a hole through my upper back when I get this pain. I am soooo miserable when it happens, I take Tums, simethicone (Gas-X), ginger tea, anything to break it up. I usually burp a lot when this happens so think it's gas. Does anyone else see a correlation with the burping and that pain?
Yes, I belch like crazy when I get the pain in hoping that it will stop the spasms... I have slow gastric emptying.. so I think my reflux and spasms occur because of food sitting in my stomach and weighing it down with no muscle movement to support itself.. like a limp heavy bag... though the belching really doesn't do anything but allow for more reflux to come up (LES opening constantly).. it's a catch 22 unfortunately... either sit there in pain from being bloated... or belch to relieve it and cause more reflux...... nothing I have found relieves the problem at all except exercise... I make it a point now to try and walk around briskly or jog after I eat... especially big meals, which I stay away from but honestly, it's really hard to do, I find it hard to eat 6 small meals a day... especially at work or if I'm trying to have an active social life.. I can tell through the day though my symptoms get worse and worse as more food seems to collect down there... it really stinks... I really don't want to try reglan because of the side effects and I'm already depressed about my condition and the pain... anyone have a good story with domperidone? I will pay the extra to have it imported if I have to... cause this just isn't very fun anymore... and what's worse.. my favorite foods were spicy foods and pasta :mad:

btw.. about the nexium... I've just seen/heard several comments about how nexium is supposed to be metabolised by the body better and that's why people think it works better for some people and not cause as many side effects... I'm not trying to push it.. I just had severe side effects with the others I've taken and nexium hasn't bothered me in the least bit and seems to be working correctly...I was about to give up all hope on using PPI's when I gave nexium a try...and am so thankful it worked
Hi Moe. Yes I have been scoped 3 times over the last 16 years, with the latest one being done this past Saturday morning, at the hospital.

Believe it or not.....the lining of my esophagus is a beautiful healthy pink. I have no lining damage or scarring. It has been that way on all 3 scopes. One in 1995, next one in 2002, and the one I just had. All 3 revealed a small hiatal hernia that has not gotten any larger.

Prilosec worked for me for several years, and then suddenly in 2002, I started having horrible stomach pain upon taking it. That's when they tried me on Prevacid and my face and lips swelled up. Next was Aciphex which made me live in the bathroom. :eek:

Sat., they sent me home with a scrip to fill for Nexium. I have not done that yet. I know it's just a newer generation of Prilosec and one of it's common side effects is "abdominal pain" which is why I had to stop Prilosec.

I completely stay away from rich fatty foods, but I guess the loaded potato soup must have been to rich. Or at least....I guess that's what wound me up in the hospital for 36 hours.:confused:

So....my problem is spastic esophageal motility disorder. According to specialists, chest pain that bores into the back is the "hallmark" symptom of spastic esophageal motility disorders, and also patients commonly report difficuly in swallowing. The chest pain mimics angina. Patients also commonly report heartburn, regurgitation, and other complaints of reflux disease due to ineffective acid clearance from the esophagus.

I've never tried Pepcid. I'm thinking of trying a bottle of it.

The gastro that scoped me Saturday morning, said that treatment protocol, called for Xanax and even adding Bentyl, because Bentyl, treats GI motility disturbances. It blocks action of acetylcholine parasympathetic sites in secretory glands, smooth muscle and CNS. So he told me the next time I had a really bad attack, to take the Xanax/Bentyl together. I filled the bentyl scrip. We'll see what happens, and then I'll report.
[QUOTE=karen7;2423195]I have been taking Prevacid for 3 years. I had an endoscopy last month and still have slight irritation. I follow most of the rules and have my bed raised. I know when I eat chocolate and the other offenders, it acts up. However, even when I am eating correctly sometimes I get a lot of burping...nothing comes up but the pain is worse in my upper back between the shoulder blades. When I burp it improves so I am almost sure it's from gas. I also get the gas pains in my face and jaw. SO uncomfortable. I'd like to know if anyone else gets this awful back pain and what you do for it and if you are on any medications, if so, which one. Thanks.[/QUOTE]
h

have similar systems except not in the jaw just across the upper back and have a lot of gas. The pain is relieved when i force myself to burp. What could be some of the causes of this. I do take prilosec otc once a day because i had an extensive about of dental work and implant surgery and for the first time in my life got acid reflux and my doctor suggested that i take prilosec otc and it seemed to cure the acid reflux, but recently i started getting these gas like pains across my upper back.
It could actually be a side effect of the Prilosec (suppresing the acid in your stomach).

Look up some of the side effects of the medication - that may be one.

Good luck to you!
I have suffered with GERD since I had my gall bladder removed 8 years ago, I have taken Omaprozole everyday. Today my GP decided to test for H Pylori. I asked him years ago if he thought it could be that but he said no. I take time off work most months as the reflux is so bad. I sweat and roll around the floor in pain. Right now I have had it since 11am its now 18:44 and Im worn out.





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