Hiatal hernia is a structural alignment problem that is very very common in the population. How common? Three of my immediate family members have been diagnosed with it. I see usually several cases every week in my practice. Sometime patients know they have it but usually they don’t. They will often have problems with indigestion, stomach pain, bloating, coughing, hiccups, heart palpitations, and sometimes constipation due to incomplete digestion in the stomach.
The problem starts with an asymmetry of muscle strength around the trunk muscles. A major muscle or muscle group that attaches to the lower ribs is weak. This is usually because of back injury or strain on the abdominal muscles, like in pregnancy. The weakness allows the ribcage to elevate on one side, causing a gap in the diaphragm and allowing the stomach to be pulled up into the chest cavity. The “hernia” of a hiatal hernia is not usually a tearing or a rip like other hernias (inguinal or abdominal.) The diaphragm is not a solid layer of muscles, it’s overlapping segments that can gap if the ribcage is not properly aligned.
Acid reflux and hiatal hernia are two very closely associated conditions because the stomach gets pulled up through the hiatus (the normal opening in the diaphragm that is supposed to be tight enough to not allow this situation.) Instant digestion wreckage! Many chiropractors know how to fix this. I personally treat five to ten patients a week typically with this condition with excellent results. This safe and natural treatment allows patients to avoid or discontinue medications that alleviate the symptoms of reflux and heartburn but do nothing to fix the cause, and also compromise good digestion and resistance to infection by inhibiting stomach acid.
I learned how to reduce the cause of hiatal hernia and stomach indigestion from other practitioners. If you have this condition, ask your chiropractor if they know how to fix it. I have the technique written up and available to share.
Chiropractors practicing Sacral Occipital Technique (a popular chiropractic technique, which I use some of in my practice) have conducted a study and presented their findings on treating GERD with chiropractic adjusting, here is a link to their study.