Heart Burn / Acid Reflux

Heartburn or the disease big pharma dreamed up: acid reflux disease, can usually be corrected and eliminated by doing a few simple things. Heartburn is the presence of stomach acid in the esophagus. That is the structure that connects the mouth with the stomach. The pain is caused by acid finding its way from the stomach up into the esophagus, and sometimes even into the mouth. As I understand it this can be caused by several conditions:

1.The bit of food and liquid that passes from the mouth to the stomach through the esophagus is called a bolus. The bolus passes from the mouth to the stomach not due to gravity, but due to peristalsis. This is the involuntary muscular action that moves nourishment along the gut or alimentary canal from the mouth through the esophagus, the stomach, into the small intestine, through the ileo-cecal valve, into the large intestine, or colon, into the rectum and through the anus and out.

Normally this peristalsis goes only one way: top to bottom, but sometimes this peristaltic action can reverse and send the contents of the stomach the wrong way. The lining of the stomach is very well built to handle the acid that is uses to break down the food that we eat, but the esophagus is not at all so well equipped. If the stomach acid comes into the esophagus it will burn its delicate lining. That is what we call heartburn. The trouble is that if is happens to often, it will burn a hole into the esophagus and cause a great deal of trouble.

I have seen Chiropractic spinal adjustments put a halt to heartburn instantly. Other times it takes a bit more time. The bottom line here is that if the retro- peristalsis is caused by interference with the nerves exiting the spinal column, then Chiropractic treatment is the way to address the problem.

2. Another and perhaps more common cause of heartburn is the hiatal hernia. A herniation is the condition wherein a structure pushes through another structure, usually a muscle or ligament. In this case we are referring to the upper part of the stomach pushing through a tear in the diaphragm muscle. The diaphragm separates the lungs and heart from the rest of the organs in the trunk and is responsible for respiration. It contracts which creates a vaccuum in the chest which then draws air into the lungs. when it relaxes, the air leaves the lungs.

There are normally openings in the diaphragm for the passage of the aorta, large veins and the esophagus. An hiatal hernia occurs when a rip opens up in the diaphragm, making those openings larger, allowing the upper part of the stomach come through that tear. Now this small part of the stomach gets caught above the diaphragm and the acid that is produced by that part of the stomach lining is trapped above the diaphragm. This acid then makes its way up the esophagus. That is the burning you feel in your upper chest and throat when you experience heartburn.

In the case of hiatal hernia the Chiropractor can apply digital pressure just under the sternum (breast bone) downward toward the pubic bone. This is done firmly and repeatedly about ten times. This has been seen to relieve the pain and pressure of an hiatal hernia by helping to draw the hernia back down through the diaphragm.

Another consideration would be to be sure that you have a flat abdomen (belly). When a person with an hiatal hernia has a large stomach and sits, the fat around the waist line pushes up under the stomach encouraging the hernia to poke through the diaphragm, resulting in pain and burning once again. This is worsened if the person is wearing a tight belt. In general when a person has a health problem, the very best thing to do first is to get the body in as good shape as possible. This includes losing weight, and toning the muscles.

I use a yucca product in my office called Optimum Detox. from the Zenus company in Las Vegas, NV. This natural liquid from the yucca plant often stops heartburn in its tracks. It also conditions the alimentary canal from the mouth to the anus. It cleans the muck off the villi in the small intestine where your food is absorbed. It has also been seen to stop constipation. I have taken this product for the last seven years. I like the results.