Fix Your Hiatal Hernia
Along with your heartburn and acid reflux problems, do you experience the feeling that you’re full to the top after eating only a few bites? Do you also often burp your food and stomach acid back up after a meal? And do all your symptoms seem to get worse when you sit down or lie on your back? Well, you may have a hiatal hernia.
There is a big dome-shaped muscle called the diaphragm that separates the organs in the top part of your chest from the stomach and the other digestive organs in the bottom half. In the back part of the diaphragm, there’s a button-sized hole that allows the esophagus to go from the throat to the stomach. Sometimes this hole gets enlarged for one reason or another, and if it does, the stomach can worm its way up into the hole—a condition known as a hiatal hernia.
If the stomach is stuck up in the hole of the diaphragm, then the first order of business is to get it out. I have my patients with this problem do this exercise:
- Drink about a glass of either room temperature or slightly warm water when you get out of bed first thing in the morning. (No coffee, no tea, no juice, no cold water—just warm water.)
- While standing, bring your arms straight out from your sides and bend your elbows so your hands are touching your chest.
- Stand up on your toes as high as possible and drop. You should get a pretty good jolt. Drop down like this 10 times in a row.
- Then, while standing with your arms up, pant short quick breaths for about 15 seconds. That’s it.
The movement looks like this
The warm water acts like a weight in the stomach. Being warm, it doesn’t cause the stomach to cramp. Instead, it relaxes it. Spreading your arms stretches the diaphragm and opens up that hole in the back. Dropping down on your heels jerks the stomach out of the hole and the panting tightens up the diaphragm muscle to close the hole.
If you have a hiatal hernia, you need to do this exercise every day—not just until everything feels normal. It will also strengthen the area and make the hiatal hernia less likely to come back—which may well put an end to your acid reflux problems.