I want to talk to you a little bit about acid reflux, also called heartburn or GERD. 60 million Americans suffer regularly with heartburn, so it is obviously a major problem in the United States. Usually, the symptoms include acid in the stomach coming back up into the esophagus – sometimes after you eat, sometimes on an empty stomach. Oftentimes it seems to be worse when people lay down, probably because now you take gravity out of play, causing the acid to come back up. A lot of the over-the-counter medications, like antacids, will mask the problem on a temporary basis. Recently, there has been a lot of information coming out concerning these prescribed medications and how they can cause serious issues down the road. Sometimes the treatment is actually worse than the condition.
Where does this acid reflux come from? What happens is that your body is producing too much acid to digest the food, or after the food has already been gone out of the stomach, it continues to produce acid, which comes back up into the esophagus. The nervous system controls your digestive processes, all of them. It controls how much acid is produced. What we have found is that there could be a bone just slightly out of position, affecting the nerves that go to the stomach that controls how much acid is actually produced. A lot of our patients come in for a wide range of conditions, but I would say probably 30-40% of my patients, when asked, have some degree of heartburn or reflux. We have found that by correcting the bone that is out of alignment, typically in the upper part of the neck, that suddenly, they come in and they start to report that the reflux has improved, oftentimes disappearing completely. They say, “Well, I only came in here because I had headaches or neck pain or sleep problems.” However, it just so happens that in the process of clearing up the neck pain, headaches, and sleep problems, that suddenly, the digestion has improved as well.
I want you to know that taking a medication is never going to fix your heartburn, or acid reflux, because the cause of your digestive problem, whatever it may be, has never been a drug deficiency. Does that make sense? Taking medications will never fix it. It might mask it temporarily, but if this reflux continues, a lot of times what will happen is the esophagus will start to constrict. The acid changes its consistency and makes it shrink. People often must go in and have some sort of an operative procedure to stretch out that esophagus so food can down.
The long-term effects of this continual reflux can be a problem. I would suggest you try a natural treatment for acid reflux, which is upper cervical care, to see if there is a problem, or a bone out of alignment, in your neck. You do not even have to have any neck pain. What we are concerned about is pressure on the brainstem, which comes down out of the brain, through the top two bones in the neck. The brainstem does not have any pain perception, so you can have a bone out of alignment at the top of the neck and have no neck pain, but it could be severely choking off the nerve supply to your digestive system, creating symptoms such as acid reflux. It could be even creating lower digestive problems as well, including constipation, diarrhea, and irritable bowel.