HIATAL HERNIA, INDIGESTION, HEARTBURN, ACID REFLUX, GERD AND ESOPHAGITIS

What Are The Triggers that Caused My Digestive Issues

Digestive issues are an umbrella term for symptoms that happen as a result of a wide variety of occurrences in a person's life. Some of the occurrences that a person may fall victim to include:

1) Poor diet, poor food combining, overeating, a high refined-carbohydrate-sugar intake and inadequate water intake.

2) Poor or inadequate digestive enzyme function in the stomach, pancreas, and small intestine.

3) Food allergies.

4) Prescription drugs that contribute to reflux problems.

5) Mechanical problems in the diaphragm like

            lack of exercise

            stress (improper breathing)

            a hiatal hernia or diaphragm strain

6) Chiropractic subluxation from the spine interfering with the nerve function

7) A combination of any or all of the causes listed above

These various problems can become a perfect storm in many different combinations. Usually specific problems begin to show up and the symptoms that the person experiences depends on what is happening with them. For example, if a person develops a hiatal hernia, acid reflux may soon follow.

One of the primary causes of digestive issues is a hiatal hernia. Here are the facts regarding the progression from developing a hiatal hernia and the subsequent symptoms that a person can experience if the hernia is left untreated:

HIATAL HERNIA (The Primary Cause)

A hiatal hernia occurs when part of your stomach pushes upward through your diaphragm.

HEARTBURN (Phase 1 -Mild)

Heartburn is a burning sensation in the chest that can extend to the neck, throat, and face; it is worsened by bending or lying down. It is the primary symptom of gastroesophageal reflux, which is the movement of stomach acid into the esophagus.

ACID REFLUX (Phase 2 - Moderate)

When stomach acid flows back up into the esophagus.

GERD (Phase 3 -Severe & Chronic)

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a condition in which the stomach contents leak backwards from the stomach into the esophagus (the tube from the mouth to the stomach

GASTRITIS

Inflammation of the stomach lining.

ESOPHAGITIS

Inflammation that may damage tissues of the esophagus. Esophagitis can cause painful, difficult swallowing and chest pain.

This can lead to cancer of the esophagus


Hiatal Hernia (Diaphragm Strain)

A diaphragm strain or hiatal hernia can produce severe, chronic heartburn, indigestion, acid reflux, gerd and esophagitis. Billions of dollars are spent yearly on medical treatments for the symptoms of this condition.

The danger of an undiagnosed hiatal hernia is that people are treated with dangerous drugs for a suspected stomach, heart, or circulatory problem. When properly diagnosed, this condition can be corrected by an applied kinesiology trained chiropractor using the diaphragm-release technique. If this sounds like you, please take note. Even if a gastroenterologist performs an endoscopy and rules out a hiatal hernia, you may still want to discuss the possibility with your chiropractor. This condition is often impossible to diagnose via standard medical procedures.

The Diaphragm

What is the strongest muscle in the body? The back? The legs or thighs? How about the big muscles of your arms? Well, the strongest muscle in the body is the diaphragm, the muscle that separates the chest from the abdomen. And strangely enough, it is a muscle you don’t have to think about—unless you run into trouble.

The diaphragm is a broad, flattened, dome-like muscle separating the abdominal cavity from the chest cavity.  It has long been known that the diaphragm is an extremely important muscle for breathing integrity.

In the past, doctors checked the diaphragm primarily because of breathing difficulties, or for the condition known as hiatal hernia.  Unfortunately, there was little a doctor could do for diaphragm weakness when dealing with either breathing issues or the hiatal hernia.  Occasionally, exercise and breathing procedures were prescribed.  Surgery has been attempted for hiatal hernia; however, it has not been widely accepted.  The primary treatment for hiatal hernia has been special sleeping procedures, with the advice not to eat large quantities of food at any one time.  These procedures usually caused no major change in the patient’s basic condition; they just gave temporary symptomatic relief.

Today with applied kinesiology procedures, we are able to evaluate the diaphragm in an improved manner.  Doctors better understand the purposes of the diaphragm and how to test its function.  Most important, doctors are able to obtain and maintain better diaphragmatic function, thus helping eliminate the basic underlying cause of conditions with which the diaphragm is associated. 

Hiatal Hernia

The diaphragm has several openings that allow the esophagus, blood vessels, and nerves to pass from the chest cavity into the abdominal cavity.  Sometimes the opening around the esophagus enlarges, and a portion of the stomach tries to go up through the diaphragm into the chest cage.  This condition is known as a hiatal hernia.

When it is present, there is considerable distress.  The hiatal hernia may mimic heartburn, gas pain, or a stomach ulcer.  It may manifest as a pain in the upper portion of the abdominal area, radiating into the chest.  Occasionally the condition causes a sharp pain, simulating a heart attack.

Observe the way the diaphragm muscle is constructed.   There are muscle fibers that wrap around both sides of the esophagus.  The fibers tend to keep the diaphragm tight around the esophagus preventing the so-called hiatal hernia.

Heartburn

Another function of the fibers encircling the esophagus is to act as a valve.  Immediately after swallowing, these muscle fibers contract, giving a valvular action in addition to the built-in valve between the esophagus and the stomach.  This valvular action helps keep food from regurgitating immediately after swallowing.  This action is also important in keeping acid from going from the stomach into the esophagus.  When stomach acid does get into the esophagus, there is a severe burning sensation above the stomach and in the chest, often called “heartburn”. 

Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)

The catchphrase diagnosis for heartburn these days is gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). In fact, most heartburn and reflux occur when acids from the stomach are allowed up through the muscular opening in the diaphragm into the esophagus. Although your stomach lining is designed to handle these acidic compounds, your esophagus is not. Constant acid reflux can eventually damage, ulcerate, or even cause a pre-cancerous condition (Barrett’s Esophagus) in your lower throat.

No one knows for sure what causes GERD. However, we have found that many GERD sufferers have inadequate digestive enzymes (acids) or faulty digestive enzyme production and distribution in their stomach and intestines. For most sufferers, the cause of the problem falls into one or more of seven general categories:

 

Treatment Methods

1. What to Do for Diet

When it comes to number 1 (poor diet, poor food combining, overeating, and a high refined-carbohydrate-sugar intake), perform this experiment: For one week, eat only protein and vegetables. While on your experimental week, eat until you are only three-quarters full. This is critical, because the stomach needs a little extra space to churn and swirl its contents with the digestive enzymes.

If your stomach is stuffed completely full of food, the swirling and churning will force food into the esophagus simply because there’s not enough room in your stomach. Thus, creating the valve to become faulty or injured.

2. What to Do for Digestion Problems

When it comes to number 2 (Poor or inadequate digestive enzyme function in the stomach, pancreas, and small intestine), perform the same experiment as above, except this time, take from one to three Zypan and one to three Okra Pepsin E3 tablets with a glass of water only with each meal. (both products from Standard Process)

If your digestion improves, you have too little stomach acid and should continue to use Zypan. If you get a tingling or light burning in your stomach, it is too raw and too inflamed. Discontinue the Zypan and, instead, begin taking one to three Gastrex tablets (from Standard Process)to allow the stomach lining to be healed.

3. What to Do for Food Allergies

Food allergies can also cause heartburn and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Some of those that most commonly cause GERD are wheat, gluten, monosodium glutamate (MSG), preservatives, corn syrup, dairy, sugar, chocolate, onions, tomatoes, and citrus. If you are not getting the expected results from other therapies, and if you suspect food allergies, call the staff of CHCC to make an appointment with Dr. Kimberly to get a non-invasive food allergy test.

4. What to Do for Prescription Drugs

Prescription drugs can also be a cause of GERD problems. The most common problems come from muscle relaxants, asthma drugs like theophylline, and beta antagonists. The most practical solution to the issue of prescription drugs would be working with your MD to actually get off the offending medication. Antacids are most often not necessary, usually make the situation worse by contributing to the lack of acid which are preventing food digestion.

5. What to Do for Mechanical Problems

Comprehensive Health & Chiropractic - Digestive Issues

Hiatal Hernia

When it comes to number 5 (Mechanical problems in the diaphragm like a hiatal hernia or diaphragm strain), thousands (perhaps millions) of people are being treated with drugs and even surgery to correct GERD, while no attention is paid to the mechanical or structural causes of the problem. Even those doctors who suggest a nutritional/dietary approach generally ignore mechanical/structural causes. That’s not surprising since probably not one in 1,000 physicians knows how to detect and correct the underlying and mechanical causes of GERD.

Thanks to people like George Goodheart, DC, the "Father of Applied Kinesiology" and in particular the now deceased Richard Van Rumpt, DC, the critical information needed to detect and correct hiatal hernia and mechanical causes of GERD is available. It is usually a chiropractor or kinesiologist who knows how to perform this service. But you can often detect and treat a GERD problem yourself with the right data.

Upwards of 50% of the general population over age 60 may have the structural weakness likened to a hiatal hernia, when a portion of the stomach or stomach contents are allowed up through the diaphragm into the chest cavity or esophagus (see schematic). The general complaints of this condition are indigestion, heartburn, angina, vomiting, ulcers, left-arm pain, palpitations, difficult breathing, or just plain chronic fullness and bloating.

Dr. Kimberly is trained in Applied Kinesiology, learning the specific techniques perfected by Dr. Goodheart. While the procedure may have to be repeated several for a number of visits until successful, it will usually provide some immediate relief from the first treatment.

 

How Many Treatments?

Comprehensive Health & Chiropractic Centre - Digestive Issues

The general rule is to treat until successful. In some instances, the problem within the muscle of the diaphragm is so great, treatment may need to continue periodically throughout life. In most cases, relief comes quickly. With some people, during treatment, the stomach will actually be pulled back through the diaphragm out of the chest and into the abdomen with a feeling similar to pulling a cork out of a bottle. In general, treat daily, then three times per week, then weekly, then biweekly, then monthly, and so on.

Another important aspect that the patient needs to change their bad breathing habits which led to the problems in the first place. These changes will help prevent a reoccurrence of the hiatal hernia.

 

Improper Breathing

The sad truth is that most of us are taught to improperly breathe from the time we are small children. "Chest out! Stomach in!" And the issue with these breathing orders is that we are learning to restrict the proper movement and breathing assistance that the diaphragm naturally provides for us.

As we get older, these breathing techniques begin to catch up with us. Add the daily grind of a job, the stresses of family life and various exercise programs we decide to try to help us stay in shape, and you can see how problems begin. Not to mention the fast food that we "just happen to conveniently grab" every once and a while.

These issues usually are key contributors in creating the circumstances under which we develop hiatal hernias. The occasional heartburn is often the first sign that something isn't quite right.

Proper Breathing

How do we undo all of the bad habits that have been formed and have become the norm over time? Well this leads to a simple question: do you know how to breathe  - properly?

Here are the facts. Adults take anywhere from 17,000 to 30,000 breaths a day, on average, most of the time without even realizing they’re doing it.

That said, you’ll probably be surprised to discover that most people actually don’t breathe correctly, at least not on a consistent basis.  “Correctly” means breathing that maximizes oxygen exchange in the lower lobes of the lungs.  More oxygen equals more nourishment for cells.

A structure called the diaphragm separates the heart, lungs and ribs (the thoracic cavity) from the abdominal cavity.  As we inhale, the diaphragm contracts, enlarging the thoracic cavity and helping the lungs fill with oxygen.  As the diaphragm relaxes, we exhale, forcing carbon dioxide out of the lungs.  This is why correct breathing technique is referred to as “diaphragmatic breathing”.

In more simple terms, ideal breathing is known as “abdominal” or “belly” breathing; it should engage the belly button, rather than the upper chest.  Visually, if you’re breathing properly, your lower belly will rise more than your chest.

So, how are you breathing?  Find a quiet place and take a few slow, deep breaths concentrating on letting your abdomen expand fully with incoming air.  Place one hand just below your belly button; it should rise and fall about 1 inch with each breath.  If you’re breathing incorrectly, practice doing it the right way: proper breathing can aid in relaxation, reduce blood pressure and heart rate, and of course, help deliver the most oxygen to body tissues.  Talk to your doctor for more information.

 

Conclusion

While the dietary changes are absolutely necessary when it comes to indigestion, the reason so many doctors and patients fail to manage this problem is that the mechanics of the stomach are overlooked. So keep this in mind. And even if your doctor tells you that you do not have a hiatal hernia or any problem in your diaphragm, perform the test I’ve recommended anyway. It is diagnostic and no matter what your doctor’s tests say (including x-rays and scope tests of the GI tract), treatment is needed when your diagnosis is positive.

If you eliminate the mechanical problem and follow the dietary and nutritional supplement advice in this article, you will be performing a vital service for your entire body.

Instead of making yourself permanently sick with antacids, you will allow for proper digestion and assimilation of nutrients, thereby providing your body with its priceless source of energy and life. If you need more information about what to eat and what not to eat, as well as what to combine with what, come to one of Dr. Kimberly's amazing Health Classes. She explains all of this information in great detail and more! You should also make an appointment also to have your digestive issues evaluated, assessed and treated!

 

Return To Hands-On Healing

Health care professionals of all types have gotten away from hands-on healing. Every day, the body is inundated with all kinds of forces, some emotional and many physical. Occasionally something gets knocked out of place. For the most part, the body is capable of adjusting itself back to normal. But sometimes, something gets stuck.

This occurs all the time in the spine, and now you know it can also occur in the diaphragm and stomach. To think that all treatment should be shots, prescriptions, vitamins, or some other nonphysical therapy is absurd. There is a time when the doctor’s hands need to be placed on the patient and some form of force or adjustment needs to be delivered. If this is the situation with you (such as the hiatal hernia problem), all the pills, shots, potions, and lotions in the world will not suffice.

Remember, bodies get stuck and often need some physical help. In particular, the problem with the diaphragm and hiatal hernia is serious and extremely common. It is almost always treated improperly, and the wrong treatment causes untold cases of iatrogenic disease. The cost is astronomical and the suffering is unnecessary.

 

How do you get better? What is the proper course of action you need to take?

DO NOT TRY IT ON YOUR OWN.

Come see Dr. Kimberly!


Personal Story

I had a patient that came to see me with an interesting story. He had been playing volleyball. Afterward, he felt a little odd. He said that, before long, the oddness became downright uncomfortable. He was slightly dizzy, had trouble concentrating, was feeling weak and trembling and his heart was starting to palpitate. Heart attack? No, it was a diaphragm strain. Unfortunately, very few physicians would be able to recognize a diaphragm strain. With so little training being provided to MDs in this area, this diagnosis would require multiple doctors visits, potentially require an over night stay in the hospital, undergoing thousands of dollars in tests, and conceivably lead to harm by iatrogenic (doctor- or drug-induced) testing or treatments. 

The results

This case was relatively benign. I had the experience to recognize what was happening. But it can become very serious. The palpitations can become severe. Gastrointestinal problems like vomiting and reflux can ensue. Fainting, weakness, severe backache, or headache can all occur due to a hiatal hernia. In some cases, you feel that you are going to die. Remember, the diaphragm is the strongest muscle in the body. Without its proper action, you can’t breathe.

Worse yet, millions of people carry around the damage from a strained diaphragm for years or for life. It is estimated that up to half of all Americans over age 60 may suffer from a hiatal hernia (diaphragm strain). A huge percentage of these people have not only stomach and reflux problems, but heart and related circulatory problems as well, all caused by the weakness in the diaphragm.