The Connection Between Poor Posture and Acid Reflux

A grimacing woman holds her chest because of acid reflux caused by poor posture.

Acid reflux, or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), is a digestive disorder that causes acids or vapors from the stomach to travel into the esophagus. This causes irritation, discomfort, and pain that can worsen when you lie down or sit in certain positions.

According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, about 20% of Americans currently suffer from acid reflux, making it an extremely common issue. If you find that you have recurring symptoms associated with acid reflux, it may be time to consider chiropractic care as studies have shown a definitive link between posture and acid reflux.

This article will briefly discuss acid reflux and explain how chiropractic care could be the solution to avoiding discomfort.

What Causes Acid Reflux?

Since acid reflux is a digestive disorder, we need only to look at the core of the digestive system itself, the stomach. As the stomach is where food is broken down, it can be viewed similarly to a bag of acid with two exits. The acid is contained at each exit from the stomach by sphincters—one of which is near the esophagus.

When these sphincters weaken, they allow the acid and gasses from the stomach to exit—and, in the case of acid reflux—into the esophagus. This is where acid reflux occurs.

Common symptoms associated with acid reflux include:

  • Burning sensation in chest (heartburn)
  • Regurgitation of food or liquid
  • Trouble swallowing
  • Sore throat
  • Sensation of lump in throat
  • Cough
  • Inflammation of vocal cords

These symptoms may occur when the digestive process is not performed properly. Gravity has its impact on the digestive process and your posture directly affects your body’s ability to digest food.

We are often told not to immediately lie down after meals because it interferes with the digestive process. This is because it is ideal to keep your esophagus directly above your stomach. However, this process can be further complicated by pressure applied to the sphincters that hold the acid in your stomach and prevent them from leaking into the esophagus.

The Link Between Posture and Acid Reflux

Poor posture has a direct correlation with symptoms of acid reflux because hunching (hyperkyphosis) can cause sphincters to weaken. Think of the pressure in your stomach as air in a balloon, for example. If you squeeze the balloon in the center, the air is redistributed to the ends, stretching the rubber and making it thinner and weaker. This is what happens to the sphincter near the esophagus.

Furthermore, the hunched position causes myoelectricity (nerve signal to the muscle) to decrease in the stomach. The stomach’s operation is controlled by a gastric pacemaker in the brainstem that emits electrical rhythms for gastric operation. This interferes with the muscular operations of the sphincters which will further weaken them and exacerbate issues with pressure in the stomach.

How To Improve Posture to Reduce Acid Reflux

Because of the link between poor posture and acid reflux, you may be able to get significant relief from improved posture. There are approaches that you can take to help you maintain better posture and mitigate your acid reflux symptoms.

When standing:

  • Maintain a tall and straight position
  • Keep your shoulders back
  • Plant your weight mostly within the balls of your feet
  • Pull your stomach inwards
  • Let arms rest naturally at your sides
  • Try to keep your head level

When sitting:

  • Don’t sit for too long and take standing breaks
  • Keep your feet planted on the floor
  • Keep elbows close to your body
  • Make sure the arch of your back is supported
  • Don’t slouch
  • Relax your shoulders

However, these practices can be difficult to train yourself to do naturally. It may even be difficult to get into these positions even when you remember to. For example, years of sitting with poor posture can shorten the ligaments in your mid back, causing a hunched posture called hyperkyphosis. With hyperkyphosis, the ligaments are sometimes so tight that even posture exercises alone won’t fix the hunch contributing to your GERD.

Luckily, an effective chiropractic care plan could help improve your posture by addressing the causes at the root.

Chiropractic BioPhysics® for Acid Reflux Relief

If you’re experiencing acid reflux to the extent that it is affecting the things you eat and how well you can sleep, chiropractic care from a provider who specializes in Chiropractic BioPhysics® (CBP) could be the relief you need to live life to the fullest again.

The team at PostureWorks uses CBP to provide an in-depth treatment plan tailored to your unique needs. Your customized treatment plan will begin with a detailed postural analysis to determine the severity of your postural issues.

We will then apply treatments such as exercises and neuromuscular education to help your mind and body naturally maintain proper posture. Traction can also be used to reshape ligaments to ameliorate years of poor posture and adjustments to ensure joints can move and that you are comfortable while going through treatment.

At PostureWorks, we leverage our understanding of the ins and outs of the entire body to reel your spine and help you gain and maintain proper posture to avoid acid reflux.

Chiropractic BioPhysics®, or CBP, is a deeply researched and results-oriented corrective care technique. CBP-trained chiropractors aim to realign the spine back to health and optimal function while eliminating the source of acid reflux. As with all chiropractic care, CBP is conservative, painless, and non-invasive. Contact us today to schedule your appointment or to learn more about the benefits of chiropractic care for posture and acid reflux.

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