Acid reflux is an uncomfortable condition that affects an estimated one-third of adults in the United States each week. If you’ve ever felt bloated, had heartburn, or thought your food was coming back up your throat after eating, acid reflux is the most likely culprit!
What Is Acid Reflux?
Acid reflux is a condition where the body parts involved in swallowing your food don’t operate the way they should. Specifically, reflux means that a liquid is flowing the wrong way in your body—in this case, the stomach acid is flowing up toward your throat, which is definitely not where it’s supposed to be.
What Causes Acid Reflux?
There are several common causes of acid reflux that I see in patients every day:
Most often, acid reflux is caused by a weak lower esophageal sphincter (LES), the muscle that connects your esophagus to your stomach. The LES is meant to open to let food into your stomach and close up tight so it can be digested. But if it doesn’t close all the way, or if it opens up again too soon, the stomach acid can escape up your esophagus and cause those uncomfortable acid reflux symptoms.
Too Little Stomach Acid
Acid reflux can also be a symptom of too little stomach acid production—yes, you read that right. That may seem counterintuitive, but here’s how it works: when your stomach doesn’t produce enough acid, it can’t digest your food. Unable to move into your bowels, that food starts to rot and ferment in your stomach. This upsets your stomach and can lead to acid reflux symptoms as your stomach tries to fix the problem.
It’s worth noting that your body produces less stomach acid as you get older, so age could be a factor. Your body also produces more stomach acid when you eat protein, which means a low-protein diet could be contributing to your acid reflux symptoms.
Acid reflux can also be caused by a hiatal hernia. This is when a bit of the upper part of your stomach bulges through your diaphragm (the muscle at the base of your lungs that helps you breathe). This can lead to food and stomach acid backing up into your esophagus.
When your spine is out of alignment, it can lead to a domino effect of other conditions in your body. One of these is a pinched nerve in the area of your back between your shoulder blades. It is this area that delivers a good portion of the nerves to your stomach. If that group of nerves are pinched due to stress or injury or poor posture, your stomach acid production can go awry and cause acid reflux symptoms. Over the years I can’t begin to count how many patients have come into my office complaining of pain between their shoulders!
How Can Chiropractic Care Help with Acid Reflux?
I take a very tailored approach to help my patients who have acid reflux. I start with an exam to find the underlying issues which can cause muscle weakness, pinched nerves, or a hiatal hernia, such as:
- Poor posture
- Spinal misalignment
- Joint restrictions or dysfunctions
Chiropractors can help you get your body back into proper alignment to relieve those underlying issues. We also have a vested interest in your posture, and we’ll give you tips on how you can improve your posture to relieve the pressure on your stomach that could contribute to acid reflux symptoms.
Custom Nutritional Support for Acid Reflux
As I mentioned earlier, acid reflux can be caused by too little stomach acid, which in turn can be caused by aging and low-protein diets. That’s why I talk to my patients about their overall health and lifestyle habits. I often find that my patients aren’t taking enough vitamin supplements, or not enough of the right kinds.
Certain supplements can aid digestion and reduce acid reflux symptoms, as well as support overall health and wellness. I like to recommend my patients take enzyme supplements to promote healthy digestion. I also recommend getting enough protein in their diets to ensure their stomach can produce a healthy amount of acid to digest their food.
Get Relief at Mattingly Chiropractic in St. Louis, MO
If you need help managing your acid reflux, come visit me at Mattingly Chiropractic. I’ll help you find out what’s causing your symptoms and help you relieve them with targeted adjustments and nutritional support.
I’m also the only chiropractor in the greater St. Louis area who offers Pressure Point Therapy, which is a great way to relieve pressure on your nerves and get rid of chronic pain in areas like your neck, shoulders, and lower back. My patients love this technique because it really helps get rid of the tension and pain throughout the body to improve your overall wellbeing. So, if you have one nerve left and you feel that somebody is standing on it then it is time to get on the phone and call us!
Call us at (314) 635-1008 to schedule your appointment today.