Romeo Chiropractor Discusses Acid Reflux (GERD)

Romeo Chiropractor Discusses Acid Reflux (GERD)

Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD), which may be more commonly referred to as Acid Reflux, is now much more common in the United States. It used to be that this condition only affected adults, however within the past few years, GERD has been seen in children and infants as well. The amount of GERD cases being identified and treated is more than it ever was. Symptoms of GERD may be different from one person to the next and there are several variables to the development of acid reflux.

Possible indicators of GERD:

  • Burning pain in the stomach, chest, and/or throat
  • Wheezing
  • Dry cough
  • Hoarseness
  • Chronic sore throat
  • Sour/bitter acid in the mouth
  • Bloating
  • Burping
  • Feeling of food or a lump stuck in back of the throat
  • Chest and upper back pain
  • Bloody/black stools or bloody vomiting

A hiatal hernia can be a cause for several diagnosed cases of GERD, this means a part of the stomach moves higher than the diaphragm and permits acid to move past the lower esophageal sphincter and up in the esophagus. Nonetheless, the most frequently found cause of GERD is a dysfunction of the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) which is a little round section of muscle tissue in the middle of the stomach and esophagus which acts as a valve. A normally functioning LES allows food and liquid to go down the esophagus and into the stomach, while protecting against any gastric acid or food from heading back up into the esophagus. When something begins to dysfunction with the LES, GERD is a condition seen.

Other typical risk factors:

  • Eating sizeable meals
  • Laying down after a meal
  • Overweight/obese
  • Snacking around bedtime
  • Consuming food items that are known to aggravate the stomach (ie: citrus, chocolate, tomatos, mint or fatty foods)
  • Consuming carbonated beverages, coffee, tea or alcohol
  • Smoking
  • Pregnancy
  • Certain medications including aspirin, ibuprofen and some muscle relaxers and blood pressure medications

Before enacting a treatment method, accurate diagnosis has to be attained. The most frequent tests performed for the diagnosis of GERD are barium swallow, esophageal manometry, endoscopy and biopsy. All of these tests provides a look at the esophagus to determine if there are any anomalies or dysfunction.

Once these assessments have been conducted and a diagnosis has been given, treatment can begin. There is a number of treatment plans, ranging from over-the-counter medicines like Tums, Mylanta and Alka-Seltzer to prescription medications like Zantac, Prevacid and Priolosec. In the event the stomach is having issues emptying or the LES is weakened, there are also medications to help. These medicines can have side effects such as constipation or diarrhea and using the medications for a long period of time may result in the stomach ceasing all manufacture of gastric acid leading to more issues to arise down the road.

In some severe cases, in which the acid reflux cannot be controlled by medications and/or diet alterations, surgery might be a possibility. The surgery produces an artificial valve using the upper portion of the stomach. This treatment helps to strengthen the LES, helping to prevent further acid reflux and fixing hiatal hernias.

If not treated, the acid erosion of the esophagus may result in cell mutations which can develop into esophageal cancer. The cause of dysfunction of the LES needs to be determined in order to avoid this.

A normally functioning esophagus and LES work together to move the food from the point of swallow to the stomach. Peristalsis, which is a wave like movement of the muscles in the esophagus, moves the food down the esophagus and into the stomach. The peristalsis triggers the LES and tells it to open. The muscles that manage the wave like motion is controlled by nerve impulses which have roots in the thoracic vertebrae. A small irritation or compression of these vertebrae can hinder the signal transmission in the nerves and cause a “false signal” to be sent to the LES, making it open when it shouldn’t be. This irritation or compression of the vertebrae and nerves can also lead to weakening of the LES, allowing a leakage into the esophagus. A Romeo chiropractor can help with the adjustment of the spine to correct this irritation or compression.

Finding the cause of the dysfunction and the reason for GERD is essential to the quality and longevity of the lives of our children and ourselves. As mentioned before, GERD in children and infants is becoming increasingly typical and they are not “out-growing” the problem as was previously believed they would. While medications can provide relief for a time from the symptoms, identifying the reason for the problem can help to protect against a life-long condition.

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Romeo Chiropractor Discusses Acid Reflux (GERD)

If you or your child is experiencing acid reflux/GERD, we encourage you to contact Total Health Systems of Romeo today and schedule a chiropractic evaluation and/or nutritional assessment and get started on correcting the cause of this disease.

Romeo Chiropractor Discusses Acid Reflux (GERD)