Symptoms of esophageal spasms include chest pain, difficulty swallowing, regurgitation and a burning sensation, states WebMD. The chest pain may spread to the arms, jaw, neck or back, and it feels similar to a heart attack. Seeking medical attention is necessary to confirm the presence of a heart attack.
Also known as diffuse esophageal spasm, or DES, esophageal spasms are irregular contractions of the esophagus muscles, notes MedlinePlus. These spasms cause poor movement of food to the stomach, causing food to become stuck in the esophagus. The cause of this condition is unknown, but some people develop symptoms due to very hot or cold foods. The condition may occur due to poor functioning of the nerves that coordinate swallowing. Symptoms of esophageal spasm often suggest a condition known as gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD.
Esophageal spasms may not require treatment, says Mayo Clinic. A doctor recommends avoiding foods that trigger the condition. If the condition is severe, treating underlying conditions, such as anxiety, depression or heartburn, helps to manage it. A doctor prescribes medications that help relax the contraction of the muscles. In some cases, a patient undergoes surgery to treat acid reflux that does not respond to regular treatment options.