Angina-like chest pain of non-cardiac origin is a major diagnostic and therapeutic problem. The oesophagus is frequently suspected to be the cause of the chest pain in these patients. However, a positive statement for the oesophageal origin of the pain can only be made when during manometry or pH-monitoring the familiar pain attack appears to be accompanied by reflux, severe motor disorders or a combination of both. Due to the intermittent nature of the pain this is only rarely the case during short-listing conventional examinations. Provocation tests have been used to induce the familiar chest pain. The Bernstein acid perfusion test and the edrophonium test yield the best results. Prolonged (24-hour) ambulatory recording of intra-oesophageal pressure and pH to increase the chances of recording chest pain concomitantly with an episode of reflux and/or motor disorders appears to be the most sensitive and also the most physiological test. It is the only test that provides reliable information on the underlying mechanism of the pain, especially in patients with the syndrome of irritable oesophagus, thus contributing in establishing the appropriate therapy for these patients.