The primary cause of gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD is lack of tone of the lower esophageal sphincter. When this structure fails to contract in a timely manner after meals, stomach acids enter the esophagus. The resulting symptoms are heartburn, regurgitation of partially digested food,burning pain in the chest and difficulty in swallowing.


There at least two mechanisms that explain the effectiveness of acupuncture and chiropractic in alleviating GERD symptoms. The most widely studied has to do with the effect of acupuncture stimulation along points along the posterior cranium which target the vagus nerve. This pair of nerves, a major component of the parasympathetic nervous system, is responsible for normalizing stomach contractions and esophageal pressure. Secondly, acupuncture helps alleviate emotional stress, which is recognized as a main cause of GERD. At Back in Motion Chiropractic and Acupuncture in Daphne, Dr. Smith has 20 years of experience in acupuncture and 30 years of experience in delivering effective chiropractic care.


A 2017 study conducted at University of Arizona suggests that acupuncture outperforms the commonly prescribed medications (Nexium and Prilosec) used to control GERD. In 2007, a study of 30 patients with GERD symptoms concluded that acupuncture was more effective than doubling the dosage of the commonly used protein pump inhibitors in resolving GERD associated heartburn.Although these studies are promising, the small sample size means that more studies need to be conducted before acupuncture gains a rightful place as the treatment of choice to relieve GERD.


Another cause of GERD involves a weakened diaphragm which allows the upper portion of the stomach or hiatus to migrate upward into the thoracic cavity. A specialized hiatal hernia treatment that has been perfected by chiropractors involves gentle manual pressure to move the stomach downward.This procedure is assisted as the patient inhales and exhales at specific times during the manipulation. When performed properly, the hiatal hernia treatment causes little discomfort. However, the hiatal hernia will continue to occur if underlying complications such as poor diet, obesity or smoking persist. Also, chiropractic adjustments directed at the lower thoracic spinal joints create more flexibility and improved function of the diaphragm.


If you are tired of living with GERD symptoms, you owe it to yourself to try this safe, natural and effective approach. Back in Motion Chiropractic and Acupuncture has served the Daphne, Fairhope and Spanish Fort areas for 19 years. Call 621-2224 for an appointment.

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