Today I want to talk about of the most common complaints that I have come to see in my practice over the years -gastroesophageal reflux aka GERD or, acid reflux.
For some reason (well, for many reasons, which I'll get into!) a lot of people seek me out for help in resolving their acid reflux issues. I have found holistic chiropractic care to be one of the BEST and most successful natural and conservative approaches for managing and resolving this health issue.
I approach a patient with acid reflux issues from various angles, as I do with most health issues. I first assess any structural imbalances which may be contributing to the problem. This often includes facilitating weak or imbalanced diaphragm muscles, the muscles which cover the underside of the lower ribcage and through which the esophagus passes into the stomach. This also usually includes adjustments to the mid thoracic area or ribs, the upper cervical spine, and ankle joints, all of which relate to the stomach. I can even manipulate the stomach down out of the diaphragm if it is necessary. This is often needed when there is a hiatal hernia, where the stomach becomes constricted up too far through the diaphragm.
Secondly, I assess possible biochemical contributors. This includes identifying possible inflammatory foods with muscle testing, possible infections, possible nutrient deficiencies, and more. Oftentimes, particularly when a patient experiences bloating after eating, it's the NEED for more stomach acid. We can often identify and address hypochlohydria, or low stomach acid, with muscle testing.
There is a common misconception that acid reflux means there is too much acid. In reality, 9/10 times there is not enough stomach acid being produced. This is often due to age, lack of nutrients to produce the stomach acid, improper diet, stress, and more. When we do not have enough stomach acid, our food sits in our stomach, rots, and ferments. This produces the gases that often cause acid reflux. This also causes the lower part of the esophagus to attempt to spit out some acid, which can be experienced as reflux.
I also check nutritional supplements to support healing the stomach and regaining proper digestion, therefore eliminating acid reflux. There are many supplements to support this which muscle testing helps to identify for each patient. A big shout out to Standard Process' Zypan- a stomach acid + digestive enzymes supplement that works wonders. I use it if I have a big meal or eat something I shouldn't, even though I have zero problems with acid reflux.
Lastly, the stomach is very largely connected to the emotions. I recently had a new patient come in and tell me that he began experiencing his acid reflux issues after a stressful time period in his life. I hear this very often! By addressing the emotions with mind-body techniques, we can help reduce the effects of stress on our system.
One general tip for avoiding indigestion- when you eat, stop, sit, relax, and enjoy the meal. Smell it, taste it, take the time to take it in. Do not eat when you are very emotional, stressed, upset, or in a place or with people you do not like, unless you have low blood sugar. This is my favorite everyday tip for acid reflux issues! It applies to anyone however regardless of the presence of indigestion or not.