Find out the nature of esophageal spasms in terms of type of contraction…

Esophageal spasms are always of interest to those with health anxiety because they can cause severe chest pain.

And of course, chest pain really rattles those with heart health anxiety.

They may wonder what kind of different flavors such a spasm can present in.

Can esophageal spasms come in various patterns, waves or be interval-based?

“There are various patterns of abnormal esophageal contraction that are non-specific and include diffuse distributed throughout] esophageal spasm, hypertensive peristalsis or ‘nutcracker esophagus,’ and hypertensive lower esophageal sphincter,” says Steven Fleisher, MD, a gastroenterologist in Rosedale, Maryland, with 20+ years of experience.

“There is a disorder called achalasia in which the valve at the lower end of the esophagus, the lower esophageal sphincter, is almost permanently in spasm and relaxes poorly with swallowing.”

Can mental stress trigger an esophageal spasm?

Dr. Fleisher explains, “The relationship between stress and esophageal spasm is not clear.

“Indirectly, medications that are often helpful in these conditions include antidepressants, suggesting that stress does play a role.

“Furthermore, psychological symptoms are often associated with these disorders including anxiety and depression. Patients with these conditions often report feeling ‘stressed.’”

To calm your body from mental stress, get plenty of exercise.

This does not mean increase the housework.

It means structured strength training and cardio sessions.

You should work out hard to soothe a harried soul. Nothing does this quite like panting and sweat.

Dr. Fleisher says that the best test for diagnosing a spasm of the esophagus — which can sometimes be very painful — is the esophageal motility study, “performed with a catheter inserted through the nose while the patient is awake and unsedated.

“It is seldom performed in clinical practice secondary to poor patient tolerance.”

Dr. Fleisher was named a 2015-2018 “Top Doc” by Baltimore Magazine for gastroenterology.
Lorra Garrick has been covering medical, fitness and cybersecurity topics for many years, having written thousands of articles for print magazines and websites, including as a ghostwriter. She’s also a former ACE-certified personal trainer. 



Top image: Shutterstock/siam.pukkato