Esophagus pain can be a symptom for various conditions. The pain that a patient feels is normally described in different ways, depending on the condition that is causing pain in the first place. For example, esophagus and chest pain are somehow related given that chest pain can be a result of esophagus pain but it feels more like chest pain that is caused by heart conditions. The similarity between esophagus and chest pain as well as esophagus and back pain can make diagnosis the underlying condition very difficult. Also, esophagus back pain may be a sign of cancer.
The following are the most common esophagus-related conditions that may cause pain. Maybe the most common cause of pain in esophagus is the acid reflux disease. This condition is characterized by the repeated regurgitation of the food into the esophagus, which brings hydrochloric acid from the stomach to the esophagus. This acid may cause pain in the esophagus. Individuals who suffer from constant and relentless acid reflux disease are at risk of developing Barrett’s esophagus.
Inflammation of the esophagus can also result in pain. In medical terms, this condition is called esophagitis. Esophagitis can be caused by various factors including spicy foods, acid reflux disease or even infection of the esophagus. People who have low immunity are more prone to develop inflammation in the esophagus.
Involuntary muscle spasms of the esophagus is a disease called esophageal spasm and which can cause pain. In cases in which the spasms are very strong, pain can be severe.
Spasms of the gastroesophageal sphincter (a muscular ring at the end of the esophagus that controls the entry and exit of foods) can cause pain. If spasms occur in this small muscle, the food is either forcibly pushed into the stomach or regurgitated from the stomach. Both of these actions may result in pain of the esophagus.
The most severe condition that can affect the esophagus and result in esophageal pain is esophageal cancer. Cancer of this area can occur due to various reasons, from excessive alcohol or tobacco intake to excessive spicy food consumption. Patients with esophageal cancer experience other symptoms besides pain and which include difficulty in swallowing, unexplained weight loss and so on.
Esophageal trauma can also cause pain. Trauma of the esophagus can be either physical or chemical as resulted from excessive consumption of highly acidic and spicy foods or radiation injuries.
It is crucial that the patient explains the intensity and location of the pain exactly how and where it is felt. Esophagus and back pain can be a sign of a different condition than other types of pain. Esophagus back pain is a common sign of esophageal cancer.
Treatment varies depending on the underlying condition and it consists in curing the cause and relieving esophagus pain.