The biggest and strongest muscle in your body is not the heart or the legs; it is your diaphragm, the muscle that separates the chest from the abdomen. It is not a muscle that you think about much, unless you have trouble with it. Diagnosing a diaphragm strain or spasm is almost never done, yet if we could find a quick, simple way to evaluate the diaphragm for normal function, we could avoid many unnecessary treatments based on improper diagnosis’ and save huge amounts of money needlessly spent on unnecessary drugs.
Many people carry around the damage and symptoms from a strained diaphragm for many years, some carry it around for a lifetime! Estimates state that over half of all Americans over age 60 suffer from hiatal hernia (when the diaphragm is strained, the stomach can push up through the diaphragm and create a condition known as a hiatal hernia).
Many of these people not only have stomach and reflux problems, but symptoms of heart and related circulatory problems as well, all caused by weakness of the diaphragm. The danger of misdiagnosing a hiatal hernia or diaphragm strain is that these folks are often treated with dangerous drugs for suspected stomach, heart and circulatory problems that, if properly diagnosed, could be corrected by simply stretching the diaphragm back to it’s normal position, freeing the stomach from it’s trapped position in the diaphragm and allowing normal breathing as well as normal stomach function. The entire diagnosis and treatment takes less than 2 minutes. Even if a patient has had a scope put down into their stomach and the condition is not found, still have it checked out by someone who is aware of this technique to evaluate the condition, it is oftentimes missed by ordinary medical procedures.
A diaphragm strain or hiatal hernia can not only cause the above mentioned symptoms, but can also cause acid reflux, sometimes called GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease). This is traditionally treated with medications to reduce the body’s production of stomach acids. This might give temporary relief, however the body needs stomach acid to digest food. The brain senses that there is not enough stomach acid to properly digest food, so it sends a message to the brain to produce more stomach acid, thus making the problem worse in the long run. It also means that if the food is not digested properly, it will stay in the stomach longer, in an attempt to digest the food better. If food stays in the stomach too long, it will begin to putrefy, which can cause this “rotten” food to reflux back up the esophagus in an attempt by the body to get rid of this “rotten” food. If food does not break down properly, it can stay in the digestive tract too long and produce excessive amounts of gas and also can cause constipation and bloating.
If the food is not broken down properly in the stomach, it can pass on to the small intestine in a partially digested state. In regards to proteins, if the stomach does not do its job in breaking down the proteins small enough, and these relatively big pieces of protein pass into the small intestine and the small intestine has a tough time trying to break the proteins into smaller components known as amino acids. Two things can happen at this point; some of the bigger chunks of protein can be absorbed into the body. The body does not recognize these bigger pieces of protein, so it sends out the immune system cells to attach it and get it our of the body. This can cause what is known as an allergic reaction. Symptoms may include sinus inflammation and runny nose, swelling, hives, rashes, other skin conditions, head aches, watery eyes and digestive problems such as diarrhea. The other condition that is common involves some of the protein being broken down properly, however not enough is broken down to meet the bodies requirements. The amino acids that are broken down from the proteins are utilized by the muscular system first. If there are any left, the amino acids are sent to other parts of the body where they are needed for vital functions. The last place to get any “left over” amino acids is the higher cortical functions, the brain. The brain needs these amino acids, when they bind with certain B vitamins, to produce neurotransmitters. Different neurotransmitters have different functions. For example, when tryptophane binds with certain B vitamins, it produces serotonin. Serotonin helps you to relax and focus. Other amino acids will be the building blocks for other neurotransmitters. That being said, if we look at folks who have emotional disorders, for example ADD, ADHD, bi-polar, anxiety, depression, ect, many times they will have excessive amounts of stinky gas, bloating, belching and are oftentimes ticklish, especially on the sides of their ribs (This is the body’s defense mechanism. The body is protecting the digestive system, which is in distress. If you “attack” the area of the digestive system, the body protects itself by creating the sensation of being ticklish so that the patient pulls away and does not allow the “attacker” any closer to the digestive system) Trying to fix the brain only treats the symptoms, the cause is often in the digestive system. Fix the cause and the symptoms go away. Poor diet is also a big issue, but for the purposes of this article, we will assume you eat a good diet consisting of fruit, veggies, certain whole grains (not to include wheat, which is not easily digested), nuts and seeds and that you avoid alcohol, meat, sugar, dairy, coffee, soda and artificial sweetener. If you do not follow this diet, you need to read my other articles on nutrition available on my web site drjoeesposito.com.
What to do for digestive problems, especially strained diaphragm and hiatal hernia
If you eliminate the mechanical problem and follow the dietary and nutritional information available on my web site, drjoeesposito.com, you will be performing a priceless service for your entire body. Instead of making yourself permanently sick with antacids, you will allow for proper digestion and assimilation of nutrients, there by providing your body with its priceless source of energy and life.
While the dietary changes are absolutely necessary when it comes to indigestion, the reason so many doctors and patients fail to manage this problem is that the mechanics of the stomach are overlooked. So keep this in mind. And even if your doctor tells you that you do not have a hiatal hernia or any problem in your diaphragm, perform the test I’m about to recommended anyway. It is diagnostic and no matter what your doctor's tests say (including x-rays and scope tests of the GI tract), treatment is needed when your diagnosis is positive. •
Diagnosis and treatment
If you would like to test someone else or yourself, try this treatment with the help of a partner. You will need a watch or a clock with a second hand. For this explanation, your partner will need to be the patient. Reverse roles if you want to be the patient. Have your partner stand against a wall or lay on their back with the head and shoulders supported by a pillow. Have them hold his or her breath for as long as they can record the time in seconds. Now place your hand on the upper abdomen just slightly to the left of the “V” formed by the breast bone and the ribs. (see below)
Use a steady, heavy, inward and downward pressure for 10-15 seconds while the patient relaxes and breaths normally. Repeat this 3-4 times. Now test you partner’s breath holding time again. If the breath holding time increases by 50% or more, this is diagnostic of hiatal hernia or a mechanical problem with the stomach or diaphragm.
This procedure is used to find this condition as well as correcting the condition. You might have to do it several times, but you should notice a positive change after just a few times. I would suggest doing this every day for 1 week, then 3 times a week for 4 weeks, then 2 times a week for 4 weeks. Always make sure you are not pushing on the persons ribs or rib ends. Ribs are not the strongest bones in the body and they can snap, especially if they person is elderly or has osteoporosis. If you feel uncomfortable doing this or if you have any question what so ever, it would be best to have this procedure done by a trained professional. I would suggest you find a chiropractor who knows how to perform this technique guide you through it.
Progressive heath care practitioners are starting to get back to basics and returning to their roots and using the techniques that have been time tested. This technique and other hands on therapies are becoming more common. Every day our bodies are subjected to physical, chemical, emotional and environmental stresses, bumps and bruises. This battering around can cause bones and muscles to be forced out of their proper position. The body can correct many of these misalignments, but sometimes the body needs outside help when things get stuck out of place. This is when you need the help of a qualified chiropractor. Too often, pain and organ malfunctions are treated with dangerous drugs and surgeries that, in many cases, do more harm then good. The drugs oftentimes only treat the symptoms and allow the cause to fester and get worse. This is not to say all drugs are wrong, but in all but emergency cases, I feel it should be chiropractic first, drugs second and surgery last.
NOTE - Are you a Physician considering this procedure for a patient instead of surgery? If you have questions and need more info, Please feel free to contact my office 770-427-7387 This procedure is non invasive and fine for all patients however its application is most useful for elderly patients, even more so if the risk of going under anesthesia is higher than normal. If you are a Physician or Chiropractor and this has helped your patients please email me firstname.lastname@example.org
*special thanks to Health Alert newsletter 2006