The Proper Treatment of GERD and Acid Reflux Syndromes
More and more I hear patients say, “Doctor, can you do any thing about my acid reflux? My medical doctor wants to put me on an acid blocker.” Another common question is, “What do I do about my GERD, I have terrible bloat and a burning stomach that keeps me awake at night.”
Ironically, chiropractors have known what to do about GERD for the last 40 years. Before I even graduated, I treated patients with GERD in the school's clinic – successfully. I even taught fellow students a simple technique for correcting this common ailment.
Honestly, it is one of the easiest problems to correct in 90% of patients. It astounds me that patients are willing to use expensive prescriptions that eventually may harm to the digestive tract. This is because acid reflux is a both a mechanical and functional problem that is not easily understood.
As early as the 1970’s, chiropractors understood that the cardiac sphincter, located in the diaphragm as a passageway for the esophagus leading into the stomach, could become lax, allowing the stomach to move upwards through that sphincter. If the top part of the stomach slips through the cardiac sphincter, acid will now flow into the esophagus, causing burning, belching and pain.
In my office the solution is so simple, it takes 5 minutes to correct. First, the stomach is palpated to determine if it has ascended through the opening in the diaphragm. Then it is pulled down in one painless movement. The cardiac sphincter is then treated with a reflex movement that causes it to gently tighten to its original state. In addition, steps are taken to enhance nerve flow to the diaphragm so that it is perfectly attuned to allowing food to pass through the cardiac sphincter and not acid flow.
Secondly, digestive supplements are given in the form of pepsin and HCl which signal the stomach to stop producing acid. Taken with meals, the acid overproduction stops in a matter of days.
The result? Patients feel relief immediately or in 24 hours, depending how long they have suffered. If the patient has experienced this issue for more than 3 months, it may take a second treatment. Other digestive supplements may be recommended if there is a tendency to bloat. In addition, it is useful for the patient to make adjustments to their diet regime if they are eating foods that they do not tolerate or that negatively affect other digestive organs such as the small intestine or the liver.
In addition, a hiatal hernia may induce other issues in the digestive tract, including esophageal spasms, pyloric valve spasm and issues with the bile and hepatic dict, hepatic and splenic flexures as well issues with the sphincter of Oddi, which connects the pancreas to the small intestine. These are all easily diagnosed through reflex testing and then corrected. Symptoms may include pain upon swallowing pills, nausea, bloating, undiagnosed right or left side pain and the reflux/dry cough that many experience with hiatal hernias.
After treatment, most patients never experience this issue again; however, some patients require occasional tune-ups due to stress, diet changes, consumption of rich foods, overeating or poor digestive enzyme production. Often, dietary counseling and the introduction of high quality digestive enzymes permanently offer continuing relief from digestive issues and reflux symptoms.
Functional medicine looks to assist the body in healing itself, as it was meant to do, without pharmaceutical intervention at every downturn of health. Before you turn to a lifetime of pharmaceutical consumption or unnecessary surgery, perhaps consult with a knowledgeable chiropractor, acupuncturist or nutritionist to determine if they know how to treat this common ailment.