A: Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), also known as acid reflux or heartburn, is a very common condition that affects millions of people. The symptoms are due to a leaking of your stomach contents (food and/or stomach acid) out of your stomach into the esophagus. This irritates the lining of the esophagus creating the burning symptoms. GERD is often treated pharmaceutically with antacids and proton pump inhibitors, which decrease your stomach’s production of gastric acid. However, overproduction of acid is usually not the problem.
Most often, GERD is caused by the inability of the gastroesophageal sphincter, which is the opening between the esophagus and stomach, to remain completely closed. This sphincter is controlled by the autonomic nervous system, whose specific nerve fibers come from the mid thoracic spine. When these nerve fibers are irritated by subluxation in the spine, the autonomic control of the sphincter is compromised causing dysfunction. When that subluxation is removed, the nervous system control of the sphincter is regained and allows it to function properly which reduces symptoms of heartburn.
GERD affects people of all ages, and all too often we see infants and young children suffering from reflux. While prescription medication may help reduce symptoms, it can cause unwanted side effects. If chiropractic care can potentially fix your GERD with little to no side effects, it is definitely worth a try! Give us a call to see if chiropractic care can help you or your family.
Information provided by Dr. Chris Tigges of Boone Family Chiropractic, 1320 S. Marshall St., 432-9525.