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Esophageal spasms are painful muscle contractions that affect your esophagus, the hollow tube between your throat and your stomach. Esophageal spasms can feel like sudden, severe chest pain that lasts from a few minutes to hours.

Esophageal spasms usually occur only occasionally. But for some people, the muscle contractions are frequent and can prevent food and liquids from traveling through the esophagus. Esophageal spasms can lead to chronic pain and swallowing problems.

Treatment for occasional esophageal spasms may not be necessary. But if esophageal spasms interfere with your ability to eat or drink, treatments are available.

Oct. 19, 2012

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