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Esophageal spasms can affect muscles in your esophagus differently. The two main types are:

  • Diffuse (or distal) esophageal spasm: Uncoordinated muscle contractions happen mostly in the lower part of the esophagus. This type of esophageal spasm often causes already swallowed food or liquid to come back up your esophagus (called regurgitation).
  • Nutcracker esophagus: This similar condition also affects how the esophagus muscles work. In nutcracker (or jackhammer) esophagus, muscle contractions are too strong or forceful. This can cause pain, especially when you swallow. The pain can be severe and may feel like squeezing in your chest.

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