Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

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Esophageal Muscle Spasms Anatomy

To better understand esophageal spasm, it helps to understand the anatomy of the esophagus.

The esophagus is a muscular tube that propels food from the mouth, to the stomach. It begins in the pharynx, just below the base of the tongue, and passes through the chest, next to the spine. It then passes through the diaphragm before emptying into the stomach.

The bottom of the esophagus opens during swallowing, and then closes after the food has entered the stomach. This prevents food from leaking back into the esophagus.

Anatomy examples:

  • Junction of esophagus and stomach
  • Entire intestinal tract

Last Updated: Nov 3, 2008 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Esophageal Muscle Spasms References
  1. Handa M, Mine K, Yamamoto H, Hayashi H, Tsuchida O, Kanazawa F, Kubo C. Antidepressant treatment of patients with diffuse esophageal spasm: a psychosomatic approach. J Clin Gastroenterol. 1999 Apr;28(3):228-32. [1019260]
  2. Kato T, Naiki T, Araki H, Nagaki M, Moriwaki H. Diffuse esophageal spasm. Gastrointest Endosc. 2004 Sep;60(3):428. [15332036]
  3. Storr M. Balloon dilation in patients with diffuse esophageal spasm. Gastrointest Endosc. 2005 Mar;61(3):501. [15758941]
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