Acid reflux, also known as heart burn, is a common condition that includes a burning pain in the upper or middle chest area. It happens when stomach acid flows back up into the esophagus (food pipe). When acid reflux occurs more than twice a week, people are often diagnosed with Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD). Common signs and symptoms of GERD include a burning sensation in your chest (usually after eating), chest pain, difficulty swallowing, regurgitation of food or liquid, or a sensation of a lump in your throat.
The main symptoms of GERD are persistent heartburn and acid regurgitation, but some have GERD without heartburn. Instead, they experience pain in the chest, hoarseness in the morning, or trouble swallowing. It may feel like tightness, or as if food is stuck in your throat. Heartburn can have causes that are not due to underlying disease. Examples include spicy food, alcohol, overeating, or tight clothing.
The medical approach to treating GERD is to reduce stomach acid with the use of antacids and medications, called proton pump inhibitors. The problem with the medications given for GERD is that they can lead to osteoporosis if taken long-term. If you decrease your stomach acidity, you cannot digest food properly, and you will not absorb the minerals you need to maintain healthy bones.
Most people do not have too much stomach acid. In fact, they have too little. This is especially common in older adults. The stomach produces hydrochloric acid, pepsin, and gastric lipase. Before the food arrives, the stomach normally has a pH between 5.0 and 6.0. In young, healthy adults it takes about 45 minutes before enough acid is generated to drop the pH to 3.0. This is because stomach acid is secreted into the stomach in response to the expansion of the stomach wall. When the stomach acidity increases, the pyloric valve opens, allowing the stomach contents to dump into the small intestine. The stomach is responsible for preliminary digestion and the acid in the stomach kills any pathogenic microorganisms you might have eaten. If the proper acidity is not reached, the body will not allow the stomach contents to move into the small intestine. Instead, the body will protect you from possible harm from stomach contents which are now putrefying, and not digesting properly. The way to get rid of this unhealthy bolus of food is for it to move up, out of the stomach, into the esophagus, causing heartburn or GERD.
Acid reflux or GERD symptoms can also be caused by a hiatal hernia. A hiatal hernia can occur when the upper part of your stomach, the esophageal sphincter, bulges through your diaphragm into your chest cavity. Mild to moderate cases of Hiatal Hernia are often helped with chiropractic adjustments.
For many sufferers of GERD, the solutions are simple:
Chiropractic adjustments: We often find subluxations (misalignments) in the mid-thoracic area. This area of the spine supplies nerve flow to the stomach and esophagus. When this area of the spine is subluxated, it can cause improper production of the stomach acids and enzymes needed for healthy digestion. Chiropractic adjustments restore the proper alignment of the spine, allowing for normal nerve function. This allows for normal production of acid and enzymes and normal digestion.
Sometimes, it is necessary to alleviate a Hiatal Hernia with a gentle, manual adjustment to the upper abdominal area.
It is often helpful to take digestive enzymes, usually hydrochloric acid, if there is decreased stomach acid, as is often the case. Dr. Gerard can recommend specific supplements based upon your individual situation.
If you or someone you know have a Hiatal Hernia or GERD, the first step is to come in for an assessment to determine if stress of the nervous system might be contributing to your problem. We see many of our patient’s Hiatal Hernia’s improve and even resolve after receiving chiropractic care. While chiropractic care is not a cure or treatment for GERD, people do say they often improve after receiving chiropractic care. Many Hiatal Hernia and/or GERD sufferers have previously experienced traumas, injuries or impacts to their neck or thoracic spine which have caused subluxations.
At Chiropractic Arts Center of Austin, P.C., our approach is very specific and effective. We will begin with a detailed consultation, examination, and x-rays (except in inappropriate situations), so that we know exactly what your problem is. We would also rule out any conditions which would not be appropriate for care in our office and direct you to the appropriate type of provider if necessary. We want to know what your goals are and what you would like to do that you are currently missing out on. With the information we find upon your visit, combined with your goals, we will create a customized care plan to correct the problem. At Chiropractic Arts Center of Austin, P.C., our goal is to help you return to full function and vitality as quickly as possible.
Are you ready to see if chiropractic can help you? Contact Us for more information or Request An Appointment today! You are worth it!