Is acid reflux disease a musculoskeletal problem? Let’s look at a recent patient that came into my office for a headache. She stated that she had the headache constantly for six weeks. She also suffers with pain in her low back, and stated that she has frequent urinary tract infections. She had been to her medical doctor for the pain in her low back, and he had diagnosed her with osteoporosis, and given her a prescription for Celebrex. This patient also had a history of acid reflux.
Her family physician has been treating her acid reflux for a few years now with Nexium. Recently he ordered an endocsope of her esophagus, which showed a hiatal hernia and a condition known as Beret’s Esophagus. This is a condition, which occurs due to prolonged irritation of the esophageal lining, which actually represents the beginning of cellular change, and is a pre-cancerous condition. This patient is postmenopausal, and is taking hormone replacement therapy. Now let’s look at what is going on with this patient a bit closer. She is taking Nexium for the acid reflux, and has been for a number of years. This will effectively lower the acidity of her stomach. Lowering the acidity of the stomach diminishes her ability to absorb calcium, which is needed for healthy bone mass. A lower acidity also promotes the growth of bacteria in the urinary tract.
Taking the Nexium does not address the hiatal hernia, which is a protrusion of the stomach through the hiatal valve. This valve is normally closed, and only opens to the pressure of food swallowed, to allow it to enter the stomach. One must ask the question, “Why is this valve stuck open?” This patient was prescribed Celebrex for the pain in her back, which is well known to cause gastrointestinal disorders. When this patient came to me, she was a nervous wreck. She couldn’t sleep, she was in constant pain and she was always crying. She thought that she was going to die.
We found that she had several structural problems with her spine. She had lost the normal curvature of her cervical spine, and was developing bone spurs on her cervical vertebrae (bones in her neck). Her spine in her low back, curved to the left. She had miss-alignments (subluxations) in several areas, C2, C3, C4, C5, effecting the nerve supply to the diaphragm. This is the large muscle that we use to breathe, and through which the esophagus passes to get to the stomach. She was also misaligned at T4 effecting the nerve supply to the heart, lungs, and gallbladder, and also at T12 and L1 effecting the nerve supply to the bladder and kidneys. She stopped taking all of her medication. We had her start taking some digestive enzymes as well as some other nutritional supplements to help build healthy bone mass.
She began a series of adjustments to re-align her vertebrae, and take pressure off of the nerves. After 10 treatments, she is smiling, she is without pain, and she is sleeping through the night, and wants to go dancing with her husband. She stated that she is improved 60%. Is acid reflux a biomechanical problem? It was in this case. So getting back to my last article about dangerous doctors. What were all those drugs treating? Just the symptoms. Nothing was done to find out why she had a hiatal hernia, why she was losing bone mass, why she was getting frequent urinary tract infections, why she had pain in her back.
I heard a commercial on Television this morning for Advair. This is a prescription drug designed to treat asthma. The ad said that it treats to two common causes of asthma, “inflammation, and bronchial constriction”. These are not the “causes” of asthma, but are part of the symptoms of asthma. These are what cause the wheezing and breathing difficulties of asthma, but what is causing the inflammation and bronchial constriction? Many studies have shown that misalignment of the bones in the neck, and upper back have been associated with asthma, and re-alignment of those structures have had a dramatic effect on that condition in many people. The cause is not always subluxation, but shouldn’t it be looked at before dangerous drug intervention or even worse surgical intervention? Please feel free to comment, and you can also listen to this as a podcast at http://www.westvalleyfamilyclinic.com/audio/refluxpodcast.mp3.