Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Acid Reflux

Disclaimer: I'm no doctor. This is simply what I learned and how it worked for me.

Here is how my Chiropractor cured my acid reflux with no medication involved, just water and massage.

I had it really bad, too. Every morning, sore throat like strep throat, bad digestion, bad breath, almost throwing up after meals. Couldn't sleep. Voice only a sliver of itself. Could still lay out a smooth barbershop tenor, but symphony and cantor and opera and musicals, not coming out okay.

Turns out that between my strong, tense abdominal muscles and singing from the diaphragm, the top bit of my stomach was squeezed up through the natural opening of the diaphragm into the esophagus. The little muscles that close off the top of the stomach were pinched oddly, being too high in my body. Thus, there was no way to close off the stomach acid from the top. Yuk. He called it a hiatal hernia.

Anyhow - here's what my Chiropractor had me do:
  1. For a couple weeks, limit the diet to alkaline foods to keep the acid level down. I did fine on just about any herbal tea. Rice. Potato. Lean meat and veggies okay. Not most fruit. Milk/Dairy was okay, but I disliked 'em.
  2. Twice a the day, self massage: Press fingertips of one hand into the center of the torso right below the sternum. Slide down slowly to center of belly to encourage the stomach to settle down into its normal place. This is not a comfortable action - pressure there made me feel nauseous, and I could feel it pulling under my chin.
  3. An hour before bed, drink 16 oz. of water (yes, I had to get up during the night. tough.) As soon as it's all in, do this exercise to get the stomach down: a) stand on tiptoes, body erect, then b) bounce your heels onto the floor. Do this 30 times. The stomach full of water will settle into it's rightful spot. While you sleep, diaphragm and stomach get used to their new positions.
  4. During all this, I learned to relax the abdomen while supporting my singing with the diaphragm so I wasn't continually causing myself more squeezing problems. Voice and ease of singing improved a lot.
After one week of this, nighttime reflux was gone. After one month, all reflux was gone. It hasn't come back, not matter what I eat or drink.

I'm no doctor, and I don't know if your reflux had the same cause mine did, but since you asked, there it is.

Gary Shannon

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