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Heartburn…a different view

Heartburn is one of natures more annoying creations, and anyone who has experienced that burning sensation will agree.

There can be many causes for this often complicated condition like a too acidic diet, bacterial infection (h pylori) or low stomach acid. (that’s right, not high stomach acid)

Being a Manual Osteopath Therapist I’d like to focus on the mechanical aspects of this frustrating condition.

When we look at this problem from a Osteopathic point of view, we know that your  anatomy can play a role in this condition. Chronic tension for instance, in your upper back, can influence the movement of gastric juices up your esophagus. This is how.  The fourth thoracic vertebrae helps control the sphincter at the bottom of the esophagus. If this vertebrae can’t move properly, the nervous system input (at the point) could be affected and thus will cause the sphincter to stay open.

If the upper back is tight, from poor posture and slumping forward, pressure is placed on the stomach. The problem with this is that the stomach is a muscular bag and when chronic pressure is applied, the stomach itself can get tight pushing its contents (acids) back up.

And the esophagus attaches though its fascia to the base of the skull. As we slump forward, we shorten the fascia from the skull though the esophagus to the stomach and we impact the function. So when we sleep on our back, we are asking our back to straighten out, and when it can’t due to tension, it ends up pulling on our tight stomach which empties its contents into our esophagus (which can’t close).

Complicated I know. Just like the founder of Osteopathy Dr. Andrew Taylor Still said ” The body is a functional unit”. I think this example definitely proves that to be true. And this is how we, as Osteopathic Manual Practitioners look at the problem.  We get to the root cause, correct the underlying restrictions and then the body goes back into balance.

For more information or to understand if your heartburn could be structural in nature, please call the office at 289-291-0254.

David Ellis, Manual Practitioner Osteopath, Oakville.

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