GERD, gastroesophageal reflux disease, is a condition often referred to by its primary symptom: acid reflux. What is acid reflux? Is there anything you can do to get help for this painful and potentially dangerous condition? How may two tiny bones in the upper neck play a major role in this issue? Read on to learn everything you need to know about acid reflux and a natural way to find relief that is bringing hope to many patients.
What Is Acid Reflux?
Acid reflux is caused when stomach acids or other contents are allowed to escape back up the esophagus. The body uses processes like swallowing to keep these liquids in the stomach. Gravity can also help when a person is standing up. That is why reflux may grow worse when a person lies down. What are the symptoms of acid reflux?
• Heartburn – This symptom is also referred to as indigestion. It is used to describe the burning sensation that may occur between the stomach and the throat when the acid is climbing in the wrong direction. It is called heartburn because the pain is located in the chest. However, this is an esophageal condition and does not affect the heart.
• Regurgitation – An acid reflux sufferer may feel the acid back up into the throat and even the back of the mouth. On occasion, this may lead to a bitter taste in the mouth like one may feel after vomiting.
• Dyspepsia – While this is a very general term that just refers to discomfort of the stomach, it can be characterized by feelings of abdominal pain, feelings of being overfull, nausea, and it may result in burping.
How Acid Reflux Can Become Dangerous?
Most people view things like heartburn as a harmless annoyance. A couple of antacids later, they forget all about it and go about life without thinking about the potential long-term effects. Unfortunately, stomach acid can seriously damage the lining of the esophagus over time. After a while, this may result in bleeding or even the development of Barrett’s esophagus. What does this mean?
Barrett’s esophagus occurs when the stomach acids gradually make changes in the cells of the esophagus. Eventually, this leads to the formation of precancerous cells and then cancerous cells. Esophageal cancer is extremely deadly. Fewer than half of people survive 5 years after being diagnosed with esophageal cancer. If the cancer is in other places along with the esophagus that number drops to fewer than 1 in 5.
How the Cervical Spine Is Related to Acid Reflux?
The central nervous system (CNS) is directly responsible for the process of peristalsis (which the body uses to make sure everything goes through the digestive tract in the correct direction). This means that you need your nervous system to be functioning at its best in order for the GI tract to send contents in the right direction (as opposed to backing up into the esophagus). The brainstem plays a particularly important role since it is in charge of many of the body’s involuntary actions. This includes everything from breathing and heart rate to swallowing – a key element in keeping acids in the stomach where they belong. How can neck alignment affect the brainstem?
Without getting into a major anatomy lesson, the top two bones of the neck called the upper cervical spine surround the area where the brainstem meets up with the spinal cord. As a result, even the slightest misalignment of the C1 and C2 can put pressure on the brainstem and affect its ability to function properly. The results can be many and varied, but acid reflux is definitely on the list of possible outcomes.
Correcting an Upper Cervical Misalignment the Right Way
Even if you have been to a chiropractor in the past, do not assume that your upper cervical spine is properly aligned. Making adjustments to this sensitive part of the body requires precision and gentle corrections. The popping and cracking of general chiropractic is not the best way to correct this issue. That is why the subspecialty of upper cervical chiropractic exists. How does it differ?
• Focus – Only the top two bones of the neck are targeted by this specific form of chiropractic.
• Precision – Diagnostic imaging techniques are used to pinpoint misalignments down to hundredths of a degree or mere fractions of a millimeter.
•Low Force – Rather than using sheer force to move the bones back into place, gentle adjustments are performed either by hand or by using an adjusting instrument. These gentle adjustments are safe for the entire family (even infants have been helped with colic and acid reflux in case studies). Corrections are also long-lasting, which gives the body the time that it needs to heal.
The Natural Way to Get Help for Acid Reflux
If you suffer from chronic bouts of acid reflux, you need to get help before it develops into something serious. Upper cervical chiropractic care is a natural way to get the relief you are searching for. This is especially true if you have a history of head or neck trauma. Even if you were not diagnosed with whiplash or a concussion, there might have been enough force to create a mild subluxation of the C1 or C2 vertebra. This, in turn, can put pressure on the brainstem and lead to acid reflux.
If you are interested in natural forms of care, upper cervical chiropractic may be right for you. The best way to find out is to locate a nearby practitioner and to have an examination performed to look for a misalignment. The help you need may be within reach. Schedule a consultation today to learn more.