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Celeste NP
Celeste NP, Nurse Practitioner
Category: Health
Satisfied Customers: 1002
Experience:  Family Practice with emphasis in Women's Health, Forensics, Urgent Care, for 14 years.
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Tonight I started choking on a vitamin. I was sitting down

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Tonight I started choking on a vitamin. I was sitting down when I tried to swallow the pill (Zinc). It got caught in my throat and I started to choke. At the same time I felt burning pain in my upper back between my shoulder blades as well as in both hands. I vomited, the pill came up, but the pain didn't subside until after a few minutes of laying down. I've never choked before - is it normal to have terrible pain in your back and hands when this is happening?
Hello, I am happy to help you today! Use of my answers are for educational purposes only.

The esophagus has nerves that can cause pain in the back and chest area. So yes, this can occur. You might experience a continued pain in the esophagus where the pill was lodged from irritation. You can take zantac or prilosec for this to help with healing. Sometimes even liquid maalox or mylanta is soothing. However, if the discomfort continues you will need to see your provider for an exam.
Customer: replied 6 years ago.

What about my hands? If the esophagus nerves sent pain to my back, could that pain then radiate downward to my hands?

 

 

It is more likely that the lack of oxygen while you were choking caused the pain in your hands.
Celeste NP and 3 other Health Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Interesting. I was worried about heart issues but you've cleared my mind. I will speak to my provider anyway at my next check-up but at least I can sleep easier tonight. Accepted!
You are very welcome.

This is why it is sometimes hard to tell when patients are having a heart attack or not just based on symptoms. The esophagus nerves can mimic the same pain that one can experience with having a heart attack.

Rest well!