Hiatal Hernia

What is a Hiatal Hernia?

Hiatal Hernia is a health condition where part of the stomach protrudes up into the chest area through a small opening in the diaphragm muscle. The diaphragm muscle is located just under your lungs and is used for breathing. When you take breathes, you are contracting and relaxing your diaphragm muscle.

The small opening in the diaphragm muscle is for the esophagus. The esophagus is the “food tube” extending from the mouth to the stomach. When you eat or drink, the food or liquid travels through the esophagus to the stomach. This small opening in the diaphragm is called the hiatus. When a part of the stomach pushes up through the hiatus, it’s called a hiatal hernia.

A hiatal hernia may lead to problems with such things as acid reflux and heartburn. These conditions can be discomforting, painful and make it difficult to eat and drink.

At Baker Chiropractic and Wellness, we have been helping patients with hiatal hernias for nearly 20 years. We do this using our safe and effective chiropractic care. We do not use prescription medications or surgery.

If you have developed a hiatal hernia, please contact us by calling (513) 561-2273 or Schedule an Appointment here on our website at any one of our four greater Cincinnati area clinic locations.

Hiatal Hernia Symptoms

hiatal herniaA small hiatal hernia typically will not cause pain or discomfort. However, as the hiatal hernia gets larger, the following symptoms may surface:

(1) Chest Pain

(2) Heartburn

(3) GERD – Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease

(4) Difficulty Swallowing

(5) Frequent Belching

Types of Hiatal Hernias

There are two main types of hiatal hernias:

(1) Sliding Hiatal Hernia

(2) Paraesphogeal Hiatal Hernia

A Sliding Hiatal Hernia is the more common type of hiatal hernia. With a sliding hiatal hernia, the stomach and the part of the esophagus that connects to the stomach slide up into the chest through the small hiatus opening in the diaphragm.

With a Paraesphogeal Hiatal Hernia, the stomach and esophagus stay in position, but a part of the stomach squeezes through the hiatus (small opening in the diaphragm) and pushes against the esophagus. When this happens, there is a risk of the blood supply to the stomach being reduced or shut off.

Causes of Hiatal Hernias

There is no exact cause for a hiatal hernia. Increased pressure on the diaphragm and the small hiatus opening in the diaphragm from such things as pregnancy and obesity are contributing factors.

Hiatal hernias are common in women, people who are overweight and people older than 50 years of age.

Impact of a Hiatal Hernia on the Vagus Nerve

The Vagus Nerve is a major nerve within the human body that runs from the brain, down through the neck, chest, heart and lungs. From there, it branches out into the abdomen.  A hiatal hernia can cause irritation to the vagus nerve leading to a variety of abnormalities with the stomach, heart and lungs as a result of the stress on the vagus nerve from the hiatal hernia.

Hiatal hernia and vagus nerve

Why Baker Chiropractic Will Help With a Hiatal Hernia

Our chiropractic care focuses on the health and function of the body’s central nervous system. When the body’s central nervous system is optimized and 100% healthy, all systems within the body perform properly. When there are interferences (known as subluxations) in the central nervous system, the systems of the body are not able to function at peak levels which can lead to numerous health issues.

Our training and experience with the central nervous system allows us to diagnose and target underlying causes of health conditions such as hiatal hernias. Once we determine the cause, we are able to treat the condition with our safe and effective chiropractic care.

The best part of our chiropractic care is that it does not require the use of expensive prescription medications or risky surgery.

Terri’s Real-Life Hiatal Hernia Story

It started on February 16th when I went to a local area medical clinic with symptoms of extreme fatigue, fever and coughing. I was examined, swabbed and diagnosed with Type B Flu.

The following Sunday, I was experiencing severe chest pains and pressure. I was taken to the ER where they took two chest x-rays, an EKG and did blood work. They diagnosed me with Pleurisy which is inflammation of the tissues that line the lungs and chest cavity. I was told the Pleurisy was a result of my coughing from the Flu.

Nearly three weeks later on March 13th, I went to Urgent Care with severe chest pains, pressure and shortness of breath. I had two more chest x-rays taken, another EKG and more blood work. I was then sent back to the hospital for a CT scan with a dye to check for blood clots in my lungs. After all of these tests, x-rays and scans, the diagnosis was once again Pleurisy from the coughing associated with the Flu even though the coughing had stopped.

A week later, the same symptoms I had been experiencing were getting worse. It felt at times as if I were having a heart attack. The ER doctor sent me to a cardiologist where I had a stress test on a treadmill and an ultrasound of my heart. Nothing was found and again I was diagnosed with Pleurisy.
After dealing with all this for well over a month, I was desperate to find out why I kept having shortness of breath, pain, and tightness in my chest. It almost felt like a balloon was being blown up in my chest.

I called Dr. Paul Baker at Baker Chiropractic and Wellness on a Saturday afternoon and left a message that I needed his advice. He called me back Saturday evening very concerned and suggested I meet him on a Sunday at his office for an evaluation. Within five minutes of my visit, Dr. Baker diagnosed a hiatal hernia. He explained how the hiatal hernia was the source of the pressure in my chest. He also described how acid reflux from the hiatal hernia was causing sharp pains.

Dr. Baker confidently assured me he could fix the hernia but warned it would be a bit uncomfortable. With both of his hands, he put pressure under my ribcage and slowly pushed the hernia back down thru my diaphragm. When I stood up, I had instant relief! Both the pain and pressure I had felt for over a month was gone.

After many sleepless nights in fear that I was having a heart attack, after multiple visits to the hospital, urgent care and even a cardiologist, Dr. Baker diagnosed and fixed the pain that I was having in one 20- minute Sunday afternoon visit to his office! He continues to check my hernia when I come in for my regular visits and it seems to be fine.

In thinking back when I had the Flu, I remember coughing so hard at one point that it felt like something ripped in my stomach. I’m now convinced this was the start of the hiatal hernia.

I am both amazed and extremely disappointed that with all of the x-rays, CT scans, blood work and series of other tests over a period of 40+ days, a correct diagnosis could not be made. Equally shocking were my medical bills. The cost of following traditional medical care guidance and instructions exceeded $30,000!!! This doesn’t take into account the cost of the mental anguish of not knowing what was wrong with me, thinking I was having a heart attack and the constant worry and stress placed on our entire family.

I am very grateful to Dr. Paul Baker for his incisive diagnosis and his immediate and successful treatment of my hiatal hernia.
– Terri B.

If you or someone you know has developed a hiatal hernia, please schedule an appointment at any one of our four greater Cincinnati area clinic locations by calling (513) 561-2273 or schedule an appointment any time day or night here on our website.  We can help.