GORD (Gastro-Oesophageal Reflux Disease) is the medical term used to describe reflux and heart burn. It’s an excessive production of stomach acid that can creep up and irritate the Oesophageal lining, producing a distinct burning sensation in the chest and throat. It’s very common, 80% of the population will suffer from it at some point in their life; so if not yourself chances are there are people you know who may suffer from this irritating illness.
What causes GORD?
The most common cause of GORD is due to the weakening of a ring of muscle called the Lower Oesophageal Spincter (LOS). The LOS is located between the stomach and Oesophagus and its primary roles are to relax to allow food into the stomach; and to contract when no food is passing through, this incases in the stomach acid within the stomach. When the LOS is weakened it allows stomach acid and/ or food to back track up the oesophagus causing inflammation and damage.
Common causes of LOS weakening include:
- Being Obese and/ or overweight
- Fatty foods due to prolonged acid requirement to digest
- Substances that relax the LOS; such as tobacco, alcohol, caffeine and chocolate
- Pregnancy due to hormones that relax the LOS and compression of the stomach in later stages
- A hiatus hernia, this is a portion of your stomach that pushes up through your diaphragm creating a pocket of unused stomach
- Helicobactor Pylori, a bacteria that causes stomach ulcers
- People who suffer from stress
How is GORD treated?
GORD is usually very treatable once the cause is diagnosed. Your General Practitioner may order a series of blood tests, breath tests and scopes to diagnose your cause. Depending on the cause the solution could be as simple as a change in diet, cessation of smoking and weight loss. More complicated reasons may require medication and surgical intervention.
How can Osteopathy assist management?
In conjunction with your doctor’s recommendations Osteopathic manual therapy can help release any postural tension that can be contributing to compression of the stomach and surrounding soft tissue structures. This could mean loosening off your diaphragm muscle, loosening off both the upper abdominal muscles and intercostal muscles, and improving function and movement of your thoracic spine. We can also give advice on natural remedies that may help this issue, give you exercises, evaluate your breathing technique and improve this and discuss your diet.
At City Osteopathy our Osteopaths Melbourne use safe and effective techniques that can help decrease the severity of your symptoms. We can give you advice about ways to manage your posture and stress to help relieve digestive issues. Book in with our informative Osteopaths today!
Dr Stephanie Norton-Smith