A GI doctor explains what you should do when you have mild ongoing chest tightness, and what the burping with it might mean.

“First of all, in any situation where one experiences chest tightness, even if it is somewhat atypical, one should make sure that it is not a cardiac problem,” says Michael Blume, MD, a gastroenterologist at MedStar Good Samaritan Hospital, Baltimore.

“Excluding this may be as simple as taking a history and feeling comfortable that it is not cardiac, but could involve some testing,” continues Dr. Blume.

“Gastrointestinal problems that can cause tightness and the urge to burp are often signs of what we call disordered motility, or more simply, esophageal or stomach spasms.

“People often describe this as ‘acid reflux’ symptoms, and this could be the case, but it’s usually a problem with esophageal or stomach function, rather than an inflammatory process.

“There can be many causes of this type of symptom, such as biochemical or metabolic problems, certain medications or even stress related symptoms.”

Cause of the burping with the chest symptom? 

“When one has spasm in the esophagus or stomach, there is a feeling of tightness or fullness,” begins Dr. Blume.

“And because the air one swallows does not progress normally, the only way to relieve the pressure is to belch.”

In practice for 20+ years, Dr. Blume treats over 65 conditions including abdominal pain, appetite loss, blood in stool, celiac disease, colon cancer, esophageal and liver disease, gas and IBS.
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. 


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