hernia is a condition caused when the area where the
stomach and esophagus (the opening of the diaphragm)
is stretched. This causes the upper part of the stomach
to push up into the chest cavity. As a consequence,
the esophageal sphincter, which normally acts as a one-way
valve to allow food to travel down into the stomach,
is unable to prevent the contents of the stomach, including
gastric acids, from traveling upward.
most people with hiatal hernia experience no symptoms,
when symptoms do occur, they primarily manifest as chest
pain or heartburn, which can be made worse by bending
over, especially after eating, or exacerbated at night
or when lying down. The people most prone to hiatal
hernia are smokers and people who are overweight
What To Consider
hernia can sometimes cause material from the stomach
to be pushed up into the esophagus. This is called esophageal
reflux and can cause the heartburn. The pain of hiatal
hernia can also mimic other health problems such as
stomach ulcers or heart attacks.
hernia is often due to chronic, extreme tension in the
psoas and quadratus lumborum, two large muscles that
merge with the diaphragm, causing the diaphragm to become
chronically stressed. Osteopathic manipulation can help
normalize these muscles.
Avoid overeating and minimize your intake of spicy
foods, fried foods, coffee, tea, carbonated drinks,
citrus juices, alcohol, whipped cream, milk shakes,
peppermint, green and red peppers, and onion, all of
which can worsen symptoms. Also avoid eating large meals
and then lying down or bending over, and do not drink
too much during and after meals. While your condition
exists, it is best to eat small meals throughout the
day, rather than the typical three-meal plan.
The digestive enzymes pancreatin and hydrochloric acid
can help relieve symptpms, as can aloe vera juice. Vitamin
B complex and a multivitamin/mineral formula can also
Deep breathing exercises can help to strengthen the
muscles of the diaphragm and expand the lungs. This
is important since many people with hiatal hernia have
restricted breathing patterns and have a habit of swallowing
air more frequently than normal. This causes the excessive
air to enter the stomach, stressing the diaphragmatic
opening through which the esophagus passes, and exacerbating
hiatal hernia symptoms. Conscious, deep breathing exercises
can help slow down the rate of swallowing to more normal
Sit in an armchair, inhale, and then and hold your
breath as you lift your legs up toward your chest. Lower
your legs and then exhale. Repeat this exercise several
times per session, and do it several times a day.
your symptoms include shortness of breath or food becoming
lodged in your esophagus, drink 16 ounces of pure filtered
water and bounce on your heels for 10-20 times.
you sleep, be sure that your upper body is in an elevated
position so that your chest cavity is above your stomach.
This will prevent your stomach from rising into your
To reduce the inflammation and symptoms of acid reflux
caused by hiatal hernia, make an infusion of equal parts
comfrey root, marshmallow root, and meadowsweet and
drink throughout the day and before going to sleep.
Calc carb., Hepar sulph., and Ferrum phos.
can help relieve symptoms
Contrast application (hot and cold water packs applied
to the abdomen) will help ease the stressed muscles
that can cause hiatal hernia.
If your symptoms persist despite the above measures,
seek the help of a qualified health professional.
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