The pain and the hassle of acid reflux can interrupt your daily life and comfort. Here are some of the causes of acid reflux and things you can do to manage and reverse this terrible condition.
Hey everybody! It's Dr. Bob Salamon here with Lowcountry Chiropractic. I hope you all are staying healthy and safe out there. In this blog, we are going to be talking about a condition called acid reflux. It is also called GERD, which stands for Gastro-Esophageal Reflux Disease. Most people just refer to it as acid reflux. What is acid reflux? What are some of its symptoms? Most of the time acid reflux causes burning into your esophagus and throat. Acid lives in your stomach to digest and break down food. When you have acid reflux, the acid moves up into your esophagus and burns its walls. This is not a good thing. It is very painful, and it can cause problems for you if it happens at night. You can breathe that junk into your lungs which is really bad. Long term damage to the lining for the esophagus can create a syndrome known as Barret's Esophagus, which can turn into cancer of the esophagus. It is very serious, and you will want to deal with it right away.
Let's talk about the mechanics and the physiology of it all. When you chew your food and swallow it, it goes into your esophagus. Your esophagus is connected to your stomach. There is a muscular valve that opens and closes in between the two that allows the food into your stomach. This valve should close perfectly and tightly so that the acid in your stomach can start breaking down the food. What's interesting is that the walls of the stomach are very strong and can withstand the acid. The walls of your esophagus are not and they cannot handle acid. In a perfect world, that muscular valve would close after you swallow, the acid would do its thing, and then the digested food would move into your intestines. With acid reflux, however, the muscular valve doesn't close all the way so there is an opening between your esophagus and your stomach. When that acid is produced it is then regurgitated (or refluxed) back up into the esophagus because that valve isn't closing all the way. That is when that burning sensation happens and problems begin to arise if left untreated.
What controls this muscular valve between your stomach and your esophagus? Why in some cases does it not do what it's supposed to do? It all goes back to your spine. There is a nerve that comes out of the middle of your back and it controls this particular muscle. Remember, all of the 62 nerves that come out of your spine control something. They control a muscle, an organ, a gland, a blood vessel and so on. In this case, this middle back nerve happens to control this particular muscular valve. In the case of acid reflux, that nerve is not sending the right information to that valve. This is causing it to not close completely or not close at all. So, to correct this condition, you need to fix the subluxation or misaligned vertebra in the middle of your back. The subluxation is not allowing the proper message from the brain to be delivered to the muscular valve to work properly. Chiropractic is a wonderful solution to this problem. The adjustment realigns that spinal bone and takes the pressure off that nerve. This allows the brain to communicate with the muscular valve, causing it to close properly and preventing acid from refluxing. If there is a hiatal hernia present, which can put pressure on the stomach and force that muscular valve to open up, that is a more tricky situation when it comes to fixing acid reflux. Chiropractic isn't necessarily as effective in those situations. Thankfully, hernias are the less common cause of acid reflux.
The medical treatment is Prilosec, Nexium and other medications that limit the production of acid in your stomach. Therefore, theoretically, these meds reduce the acid that is in your esophagus. That's not really fixing the problem. Your stomach needs to create a certain amount of acid to digest your food. So, if this medication is lowering that amount of acid, two things could happen. One, the stomach is just going to produce more acid. This will put you in the situation that you have already been in. Or two, the lack of acid in your stomach is going to affect how well your food is digested. It will also affect how well the nutrients are being taken from this food and put into your body. Either way, it's not a good situation. We recommend that you try to get help naturally, via chiropractic care, rather than going the medication route. Also, if you're eating a lot of spicy foods later in the evening, that could be a leading cause of your acid reflux. You need to look at what you're eating, and that maybe what is causing your acid reflux naturally. It is a common condition, and not really a disease. It's more of a malfunction of your body in most cases.
If you are suffering from acid reflux and you want to get rid of it or get it checked out, come see us. We would be happy to examine you and take some X-rays to see if a subluxation is causing your acid reflux. If it is your problem, we will certainly be able to help you out! Stay well and take care!
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.