Easing esophageal spasmsIn most cases, drinking fluid (tea, water, etc.) as hot as possible without burning yourself will relieve painful esophageal spasms in seconds.
—Yanina M. Benikova, MD, Portland, Ore.
This interesting suggestion may be worth a try as long as the patient is adequately cautioned about the risk for burn injury if not done carefully. The recommendation is usually based on the observation that when hot liquids are consumed with meals, esophageal clearance improves and the amplitude and duration of esophageal body contractions decrease in patients with motility disorders. These data come from an uncontrolled study of 48 patients with esophageal motility disorders who were followed for more than six months and evaluated with esophageal scintigraphy and manometry; 58% of participants noted improvement in symptoms by the end of the trial (J Clin Gastroenterol. 1998;26:239-244).
—Daniel G. Tobin, MD (105-23)