Got Heartburn? Consider This!

Published on: 7/17/2014

Many adults suffer from chronic acid reflux (commonly called heartburn), also known as gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD.  GERD is a disorder that affects the lower esophageal sphincter which is a muscle connecting the esophagus with the stomach. Most of my clients describe their pain as under the middle of the chest and as a burning that occurs after meals and often worsens when lying down.

During an attack of GERD the contents of the stomach 'reflux' back up into the esophagus.  According to WebMD, “Normally, a muscular valve called the lower esophageal sphincter opens to allow food into the stomach (or to permit belching); then it closes again. Next, the stomach releases strong acids to help break down the food. If the lower esophageal sphincter opens too often or does not close tight enough, stomach acid can reflux, or seep back into the esophagus, damaging it and causing the burning sensation we know as heartburn.” Other symptoms of GERD may also include hoarseness, sore throat, difficulty swallowing, unexplained lung infections, anemia, coughing, snoring, sore throat and chest pain.  

The conventional medical approach to GERD typically includes life-style changes such as changing the diet to avoid foods that may aggravate the symptoms and reducing stress.  Additionally, your physician may suggest antacids, non-prescription H2 antagonists, prescription-strength drugs and even surgical intervention.  This approach is centered on reducing the amount of acid in the stomach in order to decrease the reflux.

But if the problem is due to a dysfunction of the lower esophageal sphincter due to weakness or perhaps due to strain from surrounding tissues, why not reduce the stress of these tissues on the sphincter?  

Myofascial release therapy and visceral manipulation do just that. We have found that it is possible to improve the function of our organs simply by reducing mechanical and structural stress on them.  We use these techniques to locate and help solve problems in the body, to encourage your own natural healing mechanisms, to improve the function of your organs, to dissipate the negative effects of stress, and enhance general health and resistance to disease.

So, how does Visceral Manipulation help with GERD? In many cases that I have seen, the fascia in the tissues surrounding the lower esophageal sphincter has become restricted, causing the dysfunction. By applying gentle but specific manual manipulation, a therapist can relieve that restriction, allowing the body to heal. Adding these therapies to your existing treatment plan can significantly improve your results, alleviating the painful symptoms of heartburn and acid reflux.

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