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  • Writer's pictureDr. Valerie Girard

How to heal from GERD, Acid Reflux and Hiatal Hernia. Chiropractic treatments offer immediate relief

By Dr. Valerie Girard, Chiropractor.

Chiropractors have been treating successfully hiatal hernias and acid stomach issues for over 40 years. Interestingly enough, the medical profession would rather prescribe acid blockers to their patients, knowing that it not only does not correct the problem but can effectively destroy aspects of the digestive track. This is because they do not seem to understand the basic mechanism that causes this common problem in the Western world.

The Western diet is now a hodgepodge of quite a variety of foods, some of which we are not genetically acclimated to digesting. Indigenous diets that have been maintained for thousands of years allow for proper digestion. In addition, many of us overeat refined sugar and grains, none of which were a part of our diet long ago. These foods can be very challenging to digestion, especially as we age because digestion enzyme production often decreases with age.

In addition, scientists have altered our food molecules through genetic modification. Those who could easily digest wheat and its myriad of products years ago, may now have issues due to a modified, enlarged wheat molecule than our body does not effectively recognize. It therefore treats it as an allergen or becomes intolerant of it. This one factor seems to greatly affect the health of many people. How do I know? When we remove gluten from the diet of those who are suffering from joint pains, digestive issues, skin issues, sinus problems and other health issues, they noticeably improve within weeks.

📷Once someone has acquired digestive issues however, simply changing the diet does not always change the symptoms of heartburn, chronic cough and upper abdominal pain. These symptoms usually indicate that the patient is suffering from a hiatal hernia of the stomach, the primary cause of acid reflux. This hernia is caused from a weakening of the cardiac sphincter located in the diaphragm allowing the stomach to push up through the diaphragm. This can be caused by stress, overeating, shallow breathing and pregnancy.


Forty years ago, Chiropractors  developed a manual adjustment for treating hiatal hernias,. This adjustment, done standing or reclining, takes just seconds to perform and can offer immediate relief in just hours. Although the adjustment may need to be repeated occasionally, on most people it is a permanent fix. The supplement, hydrochloric acid, a protein digestive enzyme, is often recommended in addition to the adjustment.  When a weak acid such as HCl or apple cider vinegar is added to the diet, the stomach is relieved of making acid.

However, there are other factors in this scenario. Another alignment that must be tested for is the cardiac sphincter, which is located in the center of the diaphragm. This sphincter allows the esophagus to pass down through the chest cavity to the stomach. If is too lax, it will allow the stomach to ride up beyond the diaphragm, now allowing acid to flow up the esophagus. This will then reflux upwards and irritate the esophagus, causing the feeling of the need to cough.

I have developed several simple alignments, taking just 5 minutes to perform, that allow the spasms in the esophagus to relax. The patient then takes the proper digestive enzymes and the feeling of the need to cough subsides as the esophageal irritation abates. Use of pre- and probiotics as well as apple cider vinegar can also be extremely helpful.

Occasionally, allergies, lower digestive tract issues and food intolerances cause sinus inflammation. This can then cause post-nasal drip which then drains down the back of the throat into the esophagus. This may also cause a feeling of the need to cough. If this is the case, diet and digestion will need to be addressed as well as any low-grade sinus infection or inflammation.

If you or anyone you know suffers from acid reflux or silent reflux, causing the need to cough, contact our office for an over the phone consultation to see if you may be a candidate for these treatment protocols.

Dr. Valerie Girard is a chiropractor based in Santa Barbara, CA with over 30 years of experience in holistic chiropractic treatments for the family, cold laser therapy, holistic energetic medicine, functional medicine, orthotics and much more. You can contact her at 1725 State Street B, Santa Barbara, CA 93101 (805) 687-1617

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