What Causes Heartburn Everyday – Hiatal Hernia
Hiatal hernia is a condition that is many times overlooked when patients see a doctor for the symptoms of heartburn. Clinical nutrition combined with a chiropractic adjustment can provide a very successful non-drug and non-surgical treatment for this common condition.
What is a Hiatal Hernia?
The diaphragm is a series of flat muscles that separates the chest cavity from the abdominal cavity and as it contracts and relaxes it is very important in the normal breathing process.
Food travels from the mouth to the stomach via the esophagus but the esophagus must pass through a hole (hiatus) in the diaphragm. If any portion of the stomach pushes upward through the diaphragm it is a condition called a hiatal hernia.
Severe cases of hiatal hernia occur where a significant portion of the stomach has moved above the diaphragm, but the vast majority of patients with a hiatal hernia have only a very small portion of the upper part of the stomach that is pushing up through the diaphragm.
This latter condition can be hard to diagnose as the stomach can move up and down throughout the day so it is not something that can be seen on an x-ray or other medical tests. However, these smaller hiatal hernias can create significant symptoms.
Symptoms of a hiatal hernia
The source of symptoms from a hiatal hernia is two-fold. The stomach acids can splash up into the esophagus and create symptoms and the diaphragm can react to the presence of the stomach pushing up against it by going into severe spasm. As a result, some the most common symptoms are the following:
• Heartburn or acid reflux giving pain or burning in the chest, esophagus, and/or the throat
• A tight or constricting feeling in the chest especially at the bottom of the sternum • Pain in the stomach or chest after eating
• Difficulty in swallowing, that seems like food is not going all the way into the stomach
• Any of the above symptoms getting worse when lying down (because gravity is not holding the stomach down as it would when in a standing position)
• Difficulty getting a deep breath because of the contraction of the diaphragm
• Fatigue and excessive yawning due to less oxygen present in the body because of the poor diaphragm function
• Heart palpitations can occur because of the pressure of the stomach or the diaphragm directly on the heart
How is a hiatal hernia treated?
The most successful treatment for a hiatal hernia is to treat the root cause of why the diaphragm cannot maintain its normal strength and tone, as well as to discover what created enough pressure in the stomach and abdomen such that it pushed the stomach up through the diaphragm. A clinical nutritionist approaches the problem by evaluating and treating the cause of increased pressure in the abdomen. The pressure can be caused by:
• poor diet
• excessive gas
• incomplete digestion of foods
• food allergies
• bacterial or parasitic infection
• yeast overgrowth
• and other nutritional factors
When present, these factors can be the root cause of the pressure that causes a hiatal hernia. Chiropractic treatment can also very helpful because the diaphragm is a muscle that like all muscles, is controlled by nerve impulses. If these nerve impulses are diminished in capacity or intensity then the diaphragm can become too lax and this allows the stomach to move up through the opening.
A chiropractic adjustment removes the misalignments in the spine in the lower neck and the mid-back that have been causing the diminished and improper nerve flow. The treatment restores nerve function and essentially “wakes up” the muscles in the diaphragm and the hiatal hernia is reduced.
We have treated unresolved heartburn cases with the above methods for many years. Treatment for a hiatal hernia is a perfect example of how clinical nutrition and chiropractic work together.
Please let us know if we can help you in this area. We see patients from across the country as well as internationally at our Destination Clinic.
Do You Have Any of the Above Symptoms?
If you are suffering from any of the problems listed above—contact us for a FREE CONSULTATION. Call (408) 733-0400 to schedule. Our medical center is located in Saratoga, CA. If you are not local to us, our DESTINATION CLINIC treats patients from across the country and internationally. We will help you find the underlying root cause!
To your health,
Dr. Vikki Petersen
IFM Certified Practitioner
Founder of Root Cause Medical Clinic
Author of “The Gluten Effect”
Author of eBook: “Gluten Intolerance – What You Don’t Know May Be Killing You!”