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What is a Hiatal Hernia?

A hiatal fracture is a type of hernia in which abdominal organs, usually the stomach, pass through the diaphragm in the middle compartment of the breast through a small opening, this opening we call the oesophageal hypothesis. There are two types of hiatal hernia. A slippery hernia occurs when part of the stomach moves, and a paraesophageal rupture occurs when another abdominal organ next to the esophagus moves. About 60% of people over 50 suffer from a hiatus hernia and about 9% of these are symptomatic. One of the main symptoms is a weakened diaphragmatic muscle due to an abnormality of the thoracic vertebrae near the ribs. The ribs are then a point of attachment for the diaphragm, which, in its weakened state, causes the stomach to slip.

Hiatale hernia symptoms

In most cases a hiatus hernia does not lead to noticeable symptoms. If one already has symptoms, these are usually the pain and discomfort related to a reflux of heartburn, air or bile. Hiatus hernias are often called ‘the great imitator’ because the symptoms resemble a lot of other diseases. Symptoms are, for example:

Pain in the chest area
Difficulty swallowing
Shortness of breath (caused by the effect of the hernia on the diaphragm)
Palpitations (due to irritation of the vagus nerve),
The hiccups or farmers
Stomach ache
Pain under the sternum (sternum)
Inflated feeling under the abdomen

The result can be gastroesophageal reflux disease or acid reflux, where acid enters the oesophagus. This can lead to multiple complications such as anaemia, iron deficiency, constipation, and volvulus (part of the intestine that is twisted around itself and closes the intestine).

Chiropractic and hernias

Hiatale Hernia’s komen alsmaar vaker voor en zijn meestal het gevolg van een orgaan of vetweefsel dat door een zwakke plek in een lichaamsholte (fascia) uitbreekt. De resulterende symptomen kunnen onopgemerkt zijn of variëren van irritatie tot langdurig intensief lijden. Heel wat mensen kiezen, in plaats van traditionele medische behandelingen die gebruik maken van voorgeschreven medicijnen, voor een holistische en langdurige behandeling voor een beter welzijn, met chiropractische behandelingen. Hieronder beantwoorden we enkele algemene vragen inzake hernia en chiropractie, oorzaken van een hiatale hernia, herniaklachten en herniaherstel, alsook wat u van een chiropractische ervaring kunt verwachten bij een herniabehandeling.

Risk factors

Major body trauma, scoliosis and other types of surgery can be the cause of a hiatal fracture. But ordinary activities also lead to increased pressure in the abdomen and are therefore the main culprit. Examples include heavy lifting, hard or frequent coughing, bending over, heavy sneezing, vomiting or general tension and stress. Hiatus hernias occur mainly in North America and Western Europe and are rather rare in rural African communities. Some experts argue that this is due to the lack of dietary fibre and the use of a high sitting position in stools and that the risk is therefore increasing.

How does classical medicine treat a hernia?

Traditional solutions include raising the head end of the bed, weight loss and adjusting eating habits (hernia fitness). If these simple interventions are useless, medications are prescribed that reduce gastric acid, such as H2 blockers or proton pump inhibitors.  If the condition is not improved with medication, surgery can be performed, such as a laparoscopic foundation application. 1] Surgery and medications always involve a risk to the patient. Complications during surgery to correct a back hernia include difficulty swallowing (dysphagia), gas-blood syndrome, dumping syndrome, scars and even achalasia (disturbed oesophageal movement). It is not uncommon for surgical operations to fail over time and require secondary repairs.

What does a chiropractor do to treat hernias?

With a focus on general well-being, chiropractic care is holistic, non-invasive, gentle and also avoids the risk associated with the traditional intervention that does not treat the underlying cause of the hiatal hernia. Rehabilitation of hernias in this way is less risky.

The first step in chiropractic treatment for a herniated disc is to examine the patient for structural abnormalities of the ribs and/or thoracic spine, for misalignment. This abnormality can negatively affect the function of the nerves in the thoracic spine area by disrupting the oesophagus and abdominal area through the sympathetic nervous system. This system is interrupted and obstructed by the vertebral subluxation (see FAQ) in the thoracic spine, causing a nerve intervention with the stomach. Chiropractic naturally improves, manages and removes the obstructing nerve using specific manual procedures. After the chiropractic adjustment, the doctor will give lifestyle advice, along with exercises and home treatments to strengthen the diaphragm to prevent the possible return of a hiatus hernia.