Heartburn and osteopathy
Heartburn is characterized by the rising of digestive enzymes and acids into the oesophagus. The medical term for this is pyrosis and it is a symptom of gastroesophageal reflux disease. (GERD)
30% of the population will find themselves one day confronted with heartburn. Some people are more susceptible than others: people suffering from hiatal hernia (a part of the stomach rises into the thoracic cage), pregnant women (more often in the last months of pregnancy), people who are obese or overweight (because of a greater abdominal pressure) and people 50 years old and older (the oesophageal sphincter relaxes more easily).
This pathology causes great discomfort to the patient, particularly when the reflux becomes chronic and can eventually lead to significant damage.
Heartburn and osteopathy
A burning that rises up along the sternum
It is often most noticeable after a meal, when in an inclined position, when lying down, or at night.
That is when the stomach contents rise more easily into the oesophagus.
Acid regurgitations without vomiting
The acid content of the stomach is regurgitated into the throat, causing discomfort and possible insomnia.
Respiratory issues or chronic ENT issues
There is a possible link between heartburn and repeated pulmonary infections, asthma, chronic cough (mostly at night), laryngitis or chronic pharyngitis.
Factors that aggravate heartburn
Factors that lessen heartburn
The first precaution is to eliminate tobacco products, alcohol and coffee.
Foods to eliminate are: acidic foods (French fries and fried foods), industrially prepared snacks (cream, pastries, sweets), animal protein, sauerkraut, fermented cheese.
And the foods to avoid are: shellfish, eggs, mushrooms, mint and chocolate.
The hyper secretion of acid worsens gastritis and gastroesophageal reflux. This very important secretion can be caused, in part, by excessive stress.
The practice of endurance physical exercise, most notably in competition, could intensify heartburn and reduce gastro-intestinal blood flow.
Certain medications of the aspirin family or non-steroidal anti-inflammatories are also discouraged.
Foods that are highly recommended: all food that is rich in omega 3; nuts (at least 3 per meal), flax seeds and rapeseed oil.
The recommended foods are: cooked or dried vegetables, grains and starches (potatoes in particular), lean meats and fish (Bass, Hake, Snapper, Flounder, Pollock, Sole), fresh or non-fermented cheese and fresh fruits.
Finally, you should know that mastication is the first step in digestion !
Some simple things that you can do everyday will prevent your stomach from being sloshed around:
- Avoid lowering your body or lying down right after a meal.
- Raise the head end of your bed or sleep with pillows.
- Don’t go to bed until at least three hours after your supper.
- Avoid clothing that is too tight and belts.
The osteopath can be very helpful when it comes to heartburn and gastroesophageal reflux in adults and infants alike.
The goal of treatment is to encourage the mobility of different structures around the stomach and the oesophagus (diaphragm, spinal column, sternum, ribs).
Visceral techniques are favoured and consist, schematically, in pulling the elevated stomach down with the help of the patient’s own breathing.
The osteopath will also seek to balance the neurovegetative system, whose role it is to control gastric secretions (travels from the cranial nerve X through the jugular foramen at the base of the skull to the diaphragm. It is in direct relation with the gastrophrenic ligament).
SOFT TISSUE MANIPULATION
Soft tissue manipulation can be used in many different ways. This method is used to evaluate the condition of tissues, ease restrictions, help the body’s fluids (blood, lymph, etc.) flow smoothly and restore function.
Optimal neuro-vascular flow helps to reduce harmful fluid retention and allows the body’s immune system to work more effectively.
Throughout the treatment, Osteopathic Manual Practitioners will continuously check on the state of the body’s tissues. The goal is to gently guide the tissue back to health without over-treating.
As the gentlest osteopathic technique, Cranial Osteopathy is also one of the most significant.
It is used to assess and treat the mobility of the skull and its contents. It may also be used to assess and treat the spine, sacrum and other parts of the body. The goal of this technique is to adjust the body’s physiology by restoring balance and optimal neuro-vascular flow surrounding the Central Nervous System and all of its autonomic centers.
Visceral Manipulation is used to effectively treat organs and viscera of the body, including the lungs, heart, liver, spleen, kidneys, stomach, pancreas, intestines, the bladder and the uterus.
Osteopathic Manual Practitioners will gently move the structures themselves and the fascia that surrounds them to restore full movement.
Applied with gentle pressure, visceral manipulation corrections can improve the mobility of an organ, improve neuro-vascular flow surrounding the organ and ultimately help maximize organ function.
OSTEOPATHIC ARTICULAR TECHNIQUE
The osteopathic articular technique, involving gently moving two joint surfaces, is used to reduce muscle spasms, ease neurological irritations, assist in joint mobility and help reduce pain and discomfort.
It is a less forceful technique than joint manipulation.
Osteopathic Manual Practitioners will carefully prepare the soft tissues around the treatment area, positioning the patient so that there is minimal (if any) force needed to perform the maneuver.