Hello! Thank you for reading...
I am a 20 year old male, and I have had this problem as long as I can remember. My earliest memory of a specific incident is at 5 years old, but in my memory the event was something I was used to and I seem to remember that by then I had accepted it as a part of my life. I cannot be sure of when this problem first started, because I never mentioned it to anyone until I was 16 and I figured out that no one else I knew had these problems.
Occasionally, with eating, a kind 'tight' pain will gradually grow in just about the center of my back, which sometimes leads to vomiting (depending on the intensity). The first signs of the pain will usually appear while I am eating, though while I am still eating it is usually more of a painless, tight sensation. The pain reaches it's fullest extent within about 30 minutes of the first signs of this pain coming, although if I continue to eat after noticing the first symptoms the pain will usually continue to grow for longer. Depending on what I've eaten, how quickly I've eaten, and if I've continued eating after first noticing the symptoms, the pain can range from negligible to quite severe (when most severe I usually am unable to sit or stand up, but instead I have to lie on my back. Being on my back doesn't really relieve the symptoms so much...I just feel compelled to do so).
Also, depending how intense these 'attacks' can be, I will often times end up vomiting. The vomiting usually happens a little while after the onset of the fullest of the pain in my back, and after vomiting I usually feel 80% better almost instantly, and I will often feel 100% better soon after (as long as I stop eating). I only vomit once (meaning...like one cluster of food); I have never vomited more than once.
It should be noted that while I do feel very sick and feel like I am going to vomit, the 'sick' feeling is exclusively in my back. My stomache feels completely fine the entire time...no different than any other time. So it is not so much a nauseous feeling as a feeling of tightness in my back that is in need of relief. Sometimes that relief comes through vomiting, sometimes it just gets better over time. If I do not vomit, the worst of the pain is usually over after 30 minutes, though the symptoms will continue to gradually fade out over 2-4 hours. The pain usually goes away before this time is over, but a lingerin 'tightness' in my back remains, as well as slightly thicker saliva.
Another symptom I experience is a kind of tightness/feeling of swollenness (though I'm never sure if there actually is swelling or not) in both of the kind of round, squishy bumps just below the jawbone where the neck meets the head. This is accompanied by producing an incredible amount of very thick, sticky saliva. When I vomit, the food is usually coated in this saliva such that I have pierced the saliva with a pencil and pickup up all of the food out of the toilet by the saliva itself.
There is somewhat of a pattern in which food will bring this on, though it is somewhat inconsistent. For instance, two foods may not cause any problems for me if I eat them separately, but when I eat them together I can get sick. Also, how much a food will affect me seems to vary greatly. I can go months without any problems at all, and then at other times I might have this problem several times in a week. Some foods will never cause this problem for me, other's will cause it almost everytime I eat them. Also interestingly is that once I have ingested a problem food (or problem foods), depening on how much of those foods I've eating, it may be that continuing eating anything will make the symptoms worse in the long run.
A few foods that I've recognized as usual culprits for these 'attacks' include:
Combinations of breakfast foods (scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, syrup, milk, and orange juice is probably the most deadly combination there is. Any of these foods by themsevles are usually fine, though sometimes bacon or sausage can cause very mild symptoms by themselves). Pizza is pretty consistently bad, though pizza usually just gives me the tight feeling in my back and thick saliva without any sickness or need to vomit. Frozen pizza is more likely to make me very sick. Sometimes pizza is completely fine. Combining mustard and onions can occasionally make me sick. Mustard rarely makes me sick by itself, and it is usually mild. Onions have never made me sick without another 'trigger food' present that I can remember. Apples can also make me sick, though it seems to be the skin that is the problem. Also, only eating actual apples creates a problem; applesause, apple pie etc. have never made me sick. Some Chinese food can make me sick as well, though I can't remember which. I don't usually pay much attention to what makes me sick just becaue I am so used to it.
I once asked a doctor about this, and she thought it may be heartburn, but she was mostly just guessing as she was very confused. It does not seem to be heartburn though, as the problem is completely isolated to my back. I have had heartburn as well, and occasionally even heartburn with one of these attacks, and I do not think that this is from some kind of unusual heartburn.
I've also considered the possibility of gallstones, which seem to match the symptoms fairly well except that I began having these attacks at such a young age. And again, my understanding is that gallstones typically have upper abdominal pains as well, which I do not have. I have also read that gallstone attacks typically take place 1-2 hours after eating, whereas my 'attacks' begin while eating and are at their peak no more than 30 minutes after stopping eating. I have also never had an 'attack' apart from eating. I'm also not sure if vomiting relieves the symptoms of gallstone attacks (unless that is what I am experiencing, in which case, it does).
Does anyone have any idea of what this might be? Heartburn, gallstones, or something else? Food allergy perhaps?