If you find yourself suffering from a hiatal hernia, you are likely exploring various treatment options to provide relief from the discomfort. One less conventional approach that has garnered attention is chiropractic care. Often sought for shoulder and neck pain relief, chiropractors are increasingly being considered for addressing a more comprehensive range of health issues. But the question remains: can a chiropractor help with hiatal hernia?
Let’s take a look.
What is Hiatal Hernia?
A hiatal hernia is a health problem when a part of your stomach moves upward into your chest region. This happens through a small opening in your diaphragm, a muscle that separates your stomach from your chest.
Can A Chiropractor Fix a Hiatal Hernia?
Yes, a chiropractor can help with a hiatal hernia. Chiropractic treatment primarily involves manual adjustment and manipulation of the spine to improve the body’s physical function.
Your esophagus (the tube connecting your throat to your stomach) typically passes through this opening. In people with a hiatal hernia, the stomach bulges up through that opening and into the chest. This can cause uncomfortable symptoms like heartburn, indigestion, or chest pain. However, some people might not have any symptoms at all. It’s a common condition, especially in people over 50.
The exact cause of a hiatal hernia is not always known, but several factors may contribute to its development:
- Age and physiological change: As people age, their diaphragms can weaken, resulting in a hiatal hernia.
- Obesity: Carrying excess weight puts additional pressure on the abdomen and diaphragm, which can lead to this condition.
- Injury or surgery: Previous injuries or surgeries in the stomach area can cause a hiatal hernia.
- Persistent and intense physical pressure: Activities that involve heavy lifting or intense coughing can exert pressure, leading to the development of a hiatal hernia.
- Smoking: It has been found that smokers are at a higher risk of developing a hiatal hernia.
Can A Chiropractor Fix a Hiatal Hernia?
While chiropractors are not medical doctors and may “fix” hiatal hernias, some patients have reported relief from symptoms after receiving chiropractic care. However, it’s important to note that the effectiveness of chiropractic treatments varies significantly from person to person.
When it comes to a hiatal hernia, a chiropractor applies specific techniques to relieve the hiatal hernia symptoms. These techniques typically involve gentle manipulations designed to move the stomach down, away from the diaphragm.
Some patients report experiencing significant relief following chiropractic treatment. However, it’s important to note that while chiropractic care may help manage symptoms, it does not cure the hiatal hernia.
When to Visit a Hiatal Hernia Chiropractor?
If you’re experiencing any of the following situations, you might consider visiting a chiropractor who specializes in hiatal hernias:
- Persistent Symptoms: If you have been experiencing persistent symptoms of a hiatal hernia, such as heartburn, chest pain, or indigestion, and conventional treatments have not provided sufficient relief.
- Desire for Non-Invasive Approaches: Explore non-invasive treatment options to manage your hiatal hernia symptoms.
- Recommendation from a Physician: If your healthcare provider or primary care physician has recommended exploring chiropractic care to complement your existing treatment regimen.
- Previous Positive Experience: If you’ve previously had a positive experience with chiropractic care for other conditions and believe it might help manage your hiatal hernia symptoms.
How Can a Chiropractor Fix a Hiatal Hernia?
Chiropractors employ a unique technique to alleviate the discomfort associated with a hiatal hernia. Chiropractor hiatal hernia adjustment involves manipulating the stomach position, gently shifting it downwards to reduce pressure on the diaphragm.
Here’s a step-by-step breakdown of what a chiropractor might do during a session:
Step 1: Assessment
The first step in any chiropractic treatment for hiatal hernia is an assessment. The chiropractor will ask detailed questions about your symptoms, medical history, and previous treatments.
They will also physically examine you, which may involve palpating (feeling with hands or fingers) the upper abdomen and lower chest area. This helps to determine the stomach’s position and severity of the hernia.
Step 2: Diaphragmatic Release
This technique aims to relax and release the diaphragm muscles to alleviate pressure on the hernia. The chiropractor first locates the diaphragm’s tension points. Then, they massage these points using trigger point therapy to stimulate relaxation. This step is crucial in preparing for the next stage of the treatment.
Step 3: Stomach Adjustment
Here is where the real magic happens. The chiropractor uses their hands to gently press down on the upper abdomen area, specifically on the spot where the stomach has herniated upwards.
This maneuver is deliberate and controlled, designed to encourage the stomach to move back into its natural position below the diaphragm.
Step 4: Spinal Adjustment
Many chiropractors believe in the interconnectedness of the body’s systems. As such, they may also perform a spinal adjustment as part of the treatment.
Misaligned vertebrae can affect the nerves that control the stomach and diaphragm’s function, which could influence the hernia.
Correcting the spinal alignment can help improve overall body function and potentially reduce hiatal hernia symptoms.
Step 5: Aftercare Advice
Lastly, the chiropractor will provide advice on self-care measures you can take at home to manage your symptoms. This could include dietary changes, exercises, and techniques to reduce stress, which can exacerbate symptoms of a hiatal hernia.
A hiatal hernia can be a painful and potentially debilitating condition, but there are many paths to relief. Chiropractic care represents a non-invasive, drug-free approach that some patients find effective in managing their symptoms.
Benefits of Visiting a Hiatal Hernia Chiropractor
Visiting a chiropractor for a hiatal hernia can offer several potential benefits. Let’s delve into why this non-invasive approach might be worth considering.
- Non-invasive Treatment: Chiropractic care offers a non-invasive approach to managing hiatal hernia symptoms, reducing the need for surgical intervention.
- Symptomatic Relief: Many patients experience significant relief from symptoms such as heartburn, indigestion, and chest pain following chiropractic adjustments.
- Drug-free Approach: Chiropractic treatment is a drug-free alternative that can be particularly helpful for those who can’t tolerate or prefer to avoid medications.
- Improved Quality of Life: By managing the symptoms of a hiatal hernia, chiropractic care can enhance the patient’s overall quality of life.
- Individualized treatment: Chiropractic care is tailored to the individual’s needs, considering their specific symptoms, medical history, and body physiology.
- Holistic Approach: Chiropractors often adopt a holistic approach to health, addressing the underlying issues and not just the symptoms, leading to overall health improvement.
- Self-Care Education: Chiropractors typically provide advice on diet, physical therapy, stress management, and other lifestyle factors, empowering patients to take control of their health.
- Prevents Further Complications: Regular chiropractic care may help to prevent the progression of a hiatal hernia and the onset of further complications by maintaining proper alignment of the stomach and the diaphragm.
How Much Does a Hiatal Hernia Chiropractor Cost?
The cost of a hiatal hernia chiropractic session can vary considerably, depending on various factors. These include the chiropractor’s experience, the complexity of your condition, and the geographic location of the practice. On average, you might expect to pay between $60 and $200 per session. It’s important to note that managing a hiatal hernia often requires multiple sessions over some time.
Whether your health insurance plan covers chiropractic care for a hiatal hernia may depend on the specifics of your policy. Some insurance companies consider chiropractic care a specialist and might cover some costs. However, others may not provide any coverage for chiropractic treatment. It’s advisable to check with your insurance provider to understand what your policy covers before you begin treatment.
For those eligible for Medicare, it’s essential to know that Medicare Part B generally covers only manual manipulation of the spine if it’s necessary to correct a subluxation.
However, Medicare does not typically cover chiropractic care for conditions like a hiatal hernia. You may consider purchasing supplemental insurance (Medigap) to help with chiropractic costs that Medicare doesn’t cover.
Possible Risks and Precautions
Like any medical treatment, there are potential risks associated with visiting a hiatal hernia chiropractor. While many patients find relief through this approach, knowing the possible risks and precautions is crucial before seeking treatment.
1. Worsening Symptoms
Some patients may experience an increase in symptoms immediately following a chiropractic adjustment. This is often temporary and should resolve within a few days. However, it’s essential to inform your chiropractor if you experience severe or prolonged worsening of symptoms.
Chiropractic adjustments involve manual manipulation of the body, which can carry a risk of injury if not performed correctly. Ensuring that the chiropractor is licensed and experienced in treating hiatal hernias is crucial.
Pregnant women should avoid any chiropractic adjustments to the abdomen area, as it may put pressure on the developing fetus. However, spinal adjustments may be safe and beneficial for managing hiatal hernia symptoms during pregnancy.
2. Medical Conditions
It’s crucial to inform your chiropractor of any pre-existing medical conditions, as some may make chiropractic treatment unsuitable or require special precautions.
3. Previous Surgeries
If you have had surgery in the past to repair a hiatal hernia, it’s crucial to consult with your primary care physician before seeking chiropractic treatment. They can advise on whether this approach suits you based on your case.
Numerous case studies have reported successful outcomes following chiropractic treatment for hiatal hernias. For example, a study published in the Journal of Chiropractic Medicine documented the case of a 56-year-old male with severe symptoms of hiatal hernia who found significant relief after just one chiropractic session.
Another case study published in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics reported on a 29-year-old female who experienced resolution of her hiatal hernia symptoms following chiropractic treatment.
While these case studies are promising, it’s important to remember that each person’s condition and response to treatment may vary. It’s crucial to consult with your healthcare provider before starting any new treatment regimen for a hiatal hernia.
1. How does chiropractic care help in managing hiatal hernia symptoms?
Chiropractic care involves different techniques to adjust the alignment of your body. In case of a hiatal hernia, adjustments can help bring the stomach and diaphragm into proper alignment, reducing symptoms.
2. How much does chiropractic treatment for a hiatal hernia typically cost?
On average, you might expect to pay anywhere from $60 to $200 per session. It’s important to note that multiple sessions are often necessary.
3. Is chiropractic care for hiatal hernia safe?
While chiropractic treatment is generally safe, it carries some risks like any other medical treatment. It’s essential to consult your primary care physician and ensure that the chiropractor you are considering is experienced in treating hiatal hernias.
4. Can chiropractic care cure my hiatal hernia?
No, chiropractic care can’t cure a hiatal hernia. It’s a strategy for managing your symptoms without surgery or medication. Always discuss options with your primary physician.
5. Is chiropractic treatment suitable for everyone with a hiatal hernia?
Not necessarily. Certain factors like pregnancy or pre-existing medical conditions may make chiropractic treatment unsuitable. Before starting any new treatment regimen, discuss your circumstances with your healthcare provider.
Chiropractic care is a viable non-surgical treatment option for managing hiatal hernia symptoms, offering patients relief without medication. While it carries certain risks, a comprehensive understanding of these and a well-informed approach can make the benefits outweigh the potential downsides. It’s important to remember that each patient’s situation is unique, and what works for one may not work for all. Therefore, consulting your healthcare provider before starting any new treatment regimen is crucial.
Please read our other blog posts for more detailed information on chiropractic care. Your path to wellness could be just a click away.
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