ABC Medical Center > Esophageal spasms

What is Esophageal spasms?

12:55 - 3 November , 2023


These are abnormal, sudden, and painful contractions of the esophagus muscles, which is the organ responsible for carrying food from the mouth to the stomach. Pain and discomfort can be felt in the chest, which suggests that it is often due to a heart condition.

Esophageal spasms usually occur sporadically and may not require treatment. However, sometimes they can be so intense and frequent that they make it impossible for food and water to be digested, requiring immediate medical attention.

The origin of esophageal spasms is unknown, but experts and clinical studies suggest that very hot or very cold foods can favor their appearance, as well as a possible abnormality in the functioning of the nerves that control the muscles used when swallowing.

Esophageal spasms are classified as:

  • Distal.
  • Hypercontractile.

Signs and symptoms Esophageal spasms

  • Gastric acidity.
  • Severe pain in the chest or upper abdomen.
  • Problems digesting solid and liquid foods.
  • Regurgitation.
  • Feeling of having the throat stuck or of suffocation.

The symptoms may worsen during the day.

Esophageal spasms risks and complications:

  • Cancerous growths.
  • Esophageal damage due to persistent heartburn.
  • Brain damage from related injuries or stroke.
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease.
  • Neurological disorders, such as Parkinson’s disease.

Diagnosis and treatment Esophageal spasms

Once your doctor analyzes your symptoms and clinical history, they will perform a physical examination and request the following tests:

  • Upper endoscopy.
  • Esophageal manometry.
  • Tissue biopsy.
  • X-rays.

Esophageal spasms treatment depends on their symptoms, frequency, and severity, so you may require:

  • Changes in diet and lifestyle.
  • Avoid extremely hot or cold foods.
  • Medicines to relax the muscles you use when swallowing.
  • Esophageal dilation.
  • Surgery (myotomy).

At ABC Medical Center’s Internal Medicine Department, we offer health care services with the highest quality and safety, from the prevention, diagnosis, timely treatment, and monitoring of infectious, respiratory, endocrinological, dermatological, rheumatic, nephrological, gastrointestinal, and hematological pathologies of both chronic-degenerative diseases and acute conditions, through a comprehensive and multidisciplinary model.


  • Labrada SM, Hernández MH, García AM, et al. Introducción de la técnica de Manometría esofágica de alta resolución. Rev Acta Médica. 2021;22(3):.

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