Manage Acid Reflux With Simple Lifestyle Changes
By Chris Brown
A post-meal burning throat is not only a painful annoyance, but it can have extended repercussions if not prevented or treated. This acid reflux can lead to potential problems like ulcers, aspiration pneumonia, and Barrett's esophagus over time. By following a few guidelines, and with a little self-experimentation, you can relieve your acid reflux before it becomes a larger problem.
Why the Burning Starts
Acid reflux, or heartburn, occurs when stomach acid rises into the esophagus and throat. The harsh stomach acids used to break down food damage the more delicate throat. A valve, the gastroesophageal sphincter, is supposed to let food enter and protect against regurgitation. However, stress and various lifestyle factors can cause acid to be pushed up past the valve. When acid reflux occurs more than twice weekly, a diagnosis of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is made. Long-term GERD can cause health issues, not to mention an unpleasant post-meal burning in your throat. Luckily, there are ways to mitigate acid reflux and its effects.
What You Can Do About It
For most people, acid reflux is partially under their control. Lifestyle choices, such as diet and exercise, can greatly reduce its chance of occurring.
- Change your diet - Most acid reflux attacks can be directly tied to a particular food consumed. Alcohol, caffeine, spicy foods, and garlic are typical trigger foods. Doctors recommend removing suspected acid-inducing foods one at a time and seeing if it helps quell the burn.
- Wait between eating and exercise - Intense exercise or strain can cause acid to flow up the esophagus if performed too soon after eating. Instead, wait until food digestion has moved farther down the tract before exercising.
- Stop smoking - Along with a multitude of other health issues, nicotine can relax the lower esophageal sphincter and increase the risk of escaping acid.
- Try intermittent fasting - This can help by giving your body a break from digestion long enough to calm down and repair itself. Also, the reduced weekly calories can help you drop weight.
- Lose weight - Weight increases acid reflux because it weakens the muscle strength holding the gastroesophageal sphincter closed. Therefore, losing weight may strengthen the muscles enough to keep the acid down.
- Sleep on an incline - Sleeping with your head 6-8 inches above your body makes nighttime acid flow up the esophagus more difficult.
- Chiropractic manipulations - Chiropractic care has shown promise in its ability to calm the stomach and reduce acid reflux occurrences by correcting spinal subluxations.
Try chiropractic manipulation to prevent your own acid reflux by visiting one of The Joint Chiropractic's over 600 clinics nationwide. A walk-in visit is all that is needed for an affordable session with one of The Joint's doctors. So drop by The Joint on your journey to reflux-free days.
To learn more about your health, wellness and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Castro Valley, Calif.