Intro and Symptoms

Hello everyone. Thank you for welcoming me to the group. I have not been diagnosed with ES but one doctor mentioned it on a differential diagnosis list. Most recently, I have been having symptoms that are troubling, mainly episodes of difficulty swallowing along with globus sensation. It’s usually unrelated to eating and often later in the day. I get these sudden choking feelings that prompt me to try to swallow but then I can’t until I do these maneuvers with my tongue/chin. My tongue often feels extremely dry when this happens. Sometimes I feel pain in my throat and ear on one side. I can describe it as something being shoved in my ear with the tip ending in my throat. I told my doctor about the swallowing issues and she referred me to a gastroenterologist for endoscopy. Though the endoscopy doesn’t completely rule out reflux, there were no signs of erosion, inflammation, or cancer. I feel like from there I have been left on my own. Part of the problem is because of the coronavirus crisis, I’m not considered a priority/urgent case and people keep suggesting stress/anxiety, which I acknowledge is a possibility but I don’t think that is it, though the swallowing issues definitely create anxiety and feelings of panic. Sometimes these episodes come with dizziness and feeling a bit short of breath, which I attribute to panicking. Going a bit further back, I was diagnosed with cough variant asthma about four years ago, but I never felt overly confident with that diagnosis as there is no real test for it, just symptoms and response to treatment. I am triggered to cough very easily by having a cold and some environmental factors like dust and cold air. I also had a laryngospasm 2 years ago while sick with a cold. It was really scary for me. This year I’ve had chronic sinusitis. I had thought maybe a combination of reflux and maybe inflammation in my ear where causing my symptoms, until this one online doctor mentioned ES as a possibility. From reading other posts here, it definitely sounds like it could be a possibility. I know dental panoramics aren’t the standard for diagnosis and that this forum isn’t meant to diagnose me, but looking at my most recent panoramic xrays compared to normal ones I found online, I do think my styloid(s) look potentially long or at least pronounced. I’d like to share the images just for some thoughts since you all have seen a lot of images. It’s frustrating when the symptoms are seemingly random and nobody takes it seriously and just writes me off as “anxious”.

I guess I don’t know how or don’t have permission to attach the images.

Hi jayayvee!

Welcome to our awesome forum! To attach images, click on the icon above that looks like an arrow w/ a bar under it. That will put you to a page where you can upload images from your computer onto your post. It’s pretty straight forward.

Your symptoms definitely sound like they could be related to ES & interestingly, you’ve gone through some of what I went through before being diagnosed i.e. upper GI because I was having trouble choking on food when eating. The issue w/ swallowing difficulty/globus sensation whether or not you’re eating is a somewhat common feature of ES as well as are gastrointestinal issues. The dizziness & shortness of breath can be related to blood pressure issues (I had these symptoms, too) which are caused by an irritated vagus nerve. Dizziness w/ the head in certain positions can come from a compressed internal carotid artery or jugular vein - another possible symptom of ES.

Here is info I give to new members when I’ve approved their forum applications:
The symptoms of ES are caused by irritation to up to 6 cranial nerves that “live” in your neck in the same area as the styloid processes & stylohyoid ligaments. Elongation of the styloid(s) &/or calcification of the stylohyoid ligaments can cause irritation of these nerves. Alone each nerve when “upset” can create painful & sometimes scary symptoms. When more than one is irritated the symptoms caused can be downright debilitating. Additionally, vascular compression of the internal carotid artery &/or jugular vein can occur which creates other miserable & concerning symptoms. Obviously, the solution for recovery is to remove the offending bones/ligaments so the nerves &/or vascular tissues can recover. There is a series of YouTube videos called Two Minute Neuroscience . Each cranial nerve is featured in a two-minute video w/ explanation as to location, function & dysfunction of the nerve. It would be good for you to watch them. I suspect w/ your symptoms that at the very least, your vagus nerve is impacted (heart & breathing issues). The other five nerves are the facial, glossopharyngeal, hypoglossal, trigeminal & accessory.

As you have probably read, a CT of the area between the skull base & neck is the preferred diagnostic tool for ES. Many doctors prefer this be done w/o contrast. Contrast can show if there is vascular compression, but the head must be in a provocative position i.e. the position that brings on vascular symptoms such as dizziness, migraine, etc.

Please try again to post your panoramic x-ray. We’ll be happy to have a look & give an opinion, but as you noted, we aren’t doctors so can’t diagnose.

I’m glad you found us. We look forward to supporting you.


1 Like

Thank you for the support.

As for the x-rays, every time I try to attach it as you mentioned, I get an error message “Sorry, you can’t put images in a post”

Hmmm…that’s odd. You can try privately emailing it to me, & assuming I receive it, I can try posting it. Click on my screen name as it appears above my post & that will put you to a page where you can send me an email. If that fails, I’ll ask Mod Support how to proceed.

I think Isaiah has pretty much covered everything! I’ll just add in that although CTs are the best way to see styloids & to get a diagnosis, panoramic Xrays can show them well too, that’s how I was diagnosed.
The Doctors list is helpful to see a doctor familiar with ES; some doctors do phone consults & can be sent scans & reports, but not sure if any will do this on the xrays.
Bad timing with all this though, it does look as if it will be on hold until after the virus. Thinking of you, we’re here for support & any help we can give you!

jayayvee ~
Here’s the link for the doctors’ list. There is one doctor listed for your country. That doesn’t mean there are not other good doctors there but that we have only had one member give us the name of a doctor (s)he recommends.