Acid Reflux: How Can a Singapore Chiropractor Help?

Ever had a burning feeling in your chest after a heavy meal? That’s acid reflux. It’s something lots of people experience now and then. But if it occurs too often, it can cause severe complications. In this blog post, we will explain what acid reflux and GERD are, their causes, symptoms, treatment, and how Singapore Chiropractic care might help. So let’s begin, shall we?

What is Acid Reflux?

Acid reflux is a condition when acid present in our stomach travels upward to the esophagus and throat. The contents present in our stomach are supposed to travel only downwards. So, when the acid moves to the places where it doesn’t belong, it causes damage and you feel it.

It irritates the lining of the esophagus (the tube which connects your mouth to the stomach) and causes inflammation. As a result, you experience symptoms, such as indigestion, stomach pain and heartburn.

Acid reflux is a common condition that can affect anyone and is not a cause of concern. However, when it happens repeatedly, it can lead to gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) or chronic acid reflux.

Acid reflux is considered chronic when it occurs at least two times a week for several weeks. Stats show that almost 20% of adults and 10 % of children in the US suffer from GERD. It is a serious disease that, if left untreated, can cause serious complications.

acid reflux singapore treatment

Causes of Acid Reflux

There is a valve called the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) present between our stomach and esophagus that keeps the content of the stomach from moving back. It is a ring of circular muscles that opens when we swallow food to let it pass and then it closes again.

Gastric reflux or gastroesophageal reflux, common terms for acid reflux, occurs when LES becomes weak and doesn’t function properly. This allows the acid and stomach contents to flow back into the esophagus.

Things like lying down immediately after having food and eating large meals result in the relaxation of LES. But when you have GERD, your lower esophageal sphincter often relaxes.

Here are some of the acid reflux reasons:

1. Pregnancy

As the pregnancy progresses, the growing uterus puts pressure on the abdomen that forces stomach contents back into the esophagus. Furthermore, pregnancy induces a series of hormonal changes that promote the relaxation of muscles, including LES, thus contributing to temporary acid reflux.

2. Obesity

Obesity also increases pressure and volume in the abdomen, causing stomach contents to move backwards. As it stays longer compared to pregnancy, it permanently weakens LES.

3. Hiatal Hernia

Hiatal hernia occurs when the upper part of your stomach protrudes into the chest cavity through a hole in the diaphragm. This, in turn, affects the LES function.

4. Smoking

Research shows that smoking can cause GERD by lowering the pressure of the lower esophagus sphincter. This results in improper closing of LES, allowing the acid to flow back into the esophagus.

Furthermore, it causes your stomach to produce more acids and trigger coughing which further relaxes LES.

5. Excessive Alcohol Consumption

Alcohol can cause acid reflux or GERD through several mechanisms. It slows down the ability of your esophagus to move food down the stomach. This leads to slower clearance of acid from the esophagus.

Additionally, it increases the formation of acid in your stomach and directly damages the lining of the mucosa. It also weakens the muscles of your LES, thus contributing to GERD.

6. Medications

Certain drugs irritate the esophagus and interfere with the working of LES. Examples of these drugs include aspirin, ibuprofen, antidepressants, theophylline, etc.

7. Connective Tissue Disorders

Connective tissue diseases, such as scleroderma, can affect the function of LES and oesophagus motility, thus contributing to gastric reflux.

8. Food items

Certain food items and beverages, such as fatty or fried meals, chocolates, spicy food and coffee, can trigger acid reflux by irritating your esophagus or relaxing LES.

 

Acid Reflux Symptoms

The acid gas reflux symptoms include:

  • Heartburn, which feels like a burning sensation in the chest that occurs after eating and might get worse when lying down. It is different from cardiac pain, which feels like pressure or squeezing in the left side of your chest that may extend to the neck, jaw and shoulder.
  • Regurgitation, a sensation that acid or food is backwashing from the stomach to your throat. It causes a bitter or sour taste.
  • Chronic coughing
  • Bad breath
  • Nausea and Vomiting
  • Asthma
  • Laryngitis, inflammation of the vocal cords
  • A sensation of a lump in your throat
  • Chest or upper abdominal pain
  • Hoarse voice

In some cases, patients experience alarming symptoms. If you experience these symptoms, immediately seek medical attention:

  • Dysphagia, difficulty in swallowing food
  • Odynophagia, feeling pain when swallowing
  • Persistent nausea and vomiting
  • Weight loss
  • Anemia
  • Bloody stools or vomiting
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Acid Reflux Diagnosis

To diagnose acid reflux or GERD, your physician will review your medical history and conduct a thorough physical examination. He will inquire about the symptoms, your lifestyle and dietary habits. He may need to know the frequency and severity of symptoms and the factors that trigger them.

To confirm the diagnosis, your doctor might order the following tests:

1. Endoscopy

In this procedure, your doctors will insert a thin tube, having a camera attached to one end, down your esophagus. This will help your doctor look for any sign of inflammation or damage to the lining of the esophagus and stomach.

Before the procedure, your healthcare provider might administer sedatives or analgesics to make the process comfortable for you. Keep in mind that this test might detect some complications of GERD, but not all cases of acid reflux result in visible changes to the lining of the esophagus.

2. Barium Swallow

In this test, your healthcare provider will ask you to drink a liquid containing barium. It will coat the lining of your esophagus, stomach and small intestine. Then, your X-rays will be taken to look for any structural abnormalities in the esophagus and stomach.

3. Ambulatory Acid (pH) Probe Test

This test measures the amount of stomach acid in the esophagus over 24 hours. In this procedure, a thin tube with a PH sensor on its end is passed down your esophagus through the nose. It stays in the body for 24 hours and is connected to a small recording device that you can carry or wear.

4. Esophageal Manometry

This test measures if the esophagus and the lower esophageal sphincter are working well. In this test, a thin narrow flexible tube is inserted down the nose into the esophagus and stomach. Your healthcare provider might ask you to swallow several times to evaluate the strength of muscle coordination and functioning of LES.

5. Impedance PH Monitoring

This test can detect acid and nonacid reflux by assessing fluid and gas movements in the esophagus. During the procedure, your healthcare provider will insert a thin catheter with multiple sensors into the esophagus through the nose.

These sensors measure electrical resistance and PH when liquid, gas, or semisolid refluxes into the esophagus. This particular test might be useful for people who continue to experience symptoms despite treatment with PPIs.

Do you experience ear infections? Find out why they happen and how Upper Cervical Chiropractic in Singapore can manage ear infections.

Acid Reflux Treatment and Management

Your healthcare provider is likely to recommend lifestyle modification first before suggesting non-prescription and prescription medications.

Lifestyle Modifications:

Following these tips can help reduce the frequency of acid reflux attacks:

●  Maintain Healthy Weight

As we have already discussed, excess weight can put pressure on the abdomen which causes acid to reflux back into the esophagus. So maintaining a healthy weight can prevent this problem.

●  Eat Smaller, More Frequent Meals

Eating large meals can put pressure on your LES, causing the acid and food to move back into the esophagus. On the other hand, smaller meals don’t stimulate your stomach to produce too much acid and promote fast digestion.

●  Avoid Trigger Foods

Avoid eating food in higher doses that might trigger your GERD symptoms. It includes alcohol, coffee, chocolate, onion, garlic, mint, spicy foods, carbonated drinks, pineapple and fast food.

●  Avoid lying Down Immediately After A Meal

Lying down immediately after having a meal can cause gastric reflux as gravity no longer keeps the stomach acid down. Wait for at least 2-3 hours before going to bed after a meal.

●  Elevate The Head of The Bed While Sleeping

Elevating the head of your bed while sleeping can prevent acid reflux as gravity keeps the acid down.

●  Stop Smoking

As we already discussed, smoking can impair the function of LES. Quitting smoking might help improve your symptoms of GERD.

●  Wear Loose Clothing

Tight-fitting clothing can put unnecessary pressure on the abdomen which can worsen the symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease.

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Acid Reflux Medications

In some cases, you might need medicines along with lifestyle modifications to resolve the symptoms of acid reflux or GERD. Common drugs for acid reflux include:

1.  Antacids

Antacids, such as calcium carbonate, neutralize stomach acid and provide quick temporary relief. However, their excessive use can cause complications, such as kidney problems and diarrhea.

2.  H2 Blockers

These drugs block histamine (H2) receptors and block the production of stomach acid. Examples include cimetidine, famotidine and nizatidine. They don’t work as quickly as antacids but provide longer relief for up to 12 hours.

3.  Proton Pump Inhibitors

These drugs are more effective than H2 blockers. They suppress acid production more strongly and allow time for damaged esophagus tissues to heal. Examples include omeprazole, esomeprazole and lansoprazole.

4.  Prokinetics

Prokinetics, such as metoclopramide, are a class of drugs that increase the motility of the gastrointestinal tract and improve the symptoms of GERD.

Acid Reflux Surgery

Surgery is reserved for more serious cases of GERD. If your symptoms don’t improve with the medicines and interfere with your daily life, your healthcare provider might recommend surgery.

The most common procedure is fundoplication where the upper portion of the stomach is wrapped around the LES to strengthen it and prevent acid reflux. Another option is to place a LINX device, a small ring of magnetic beads, around the LES to keep the acid from moving into the esophagus.

Complications with Acid Reflux

Chronic acid reflux or GERD can cause various complications, such as:

  • Esophagitis, which is inflammation in the lining of the esophagus
  • Asthma
  • Esophageal strictures, narrowing of the esophagus due to the formation of scar tissue
  • Dental problems
  • Barrett’s esophagus, which involves the development of precancerous changes in the esophagus lining
  • Esophageal cancer
male chiropractor explaining to mother of female patient in singapore

How Singapore Chiropractic Care Can Help Acid Reflux?

Singapore Chiropractic care can help manage acid reflux by restoring the balance between the nervous system and musculoskeletal systems. Our nervous system is composed of various nerves that control a wide range of functions in the body.

When our nervous system doesn’t work properly, our brain doesn’t send or receive the signals as it should. This creates various health problems, including acid reflux. The nerves that control the function of the esophageal sphincter travel up and down the spine.

Misalignments in the spine can cause acid reflux or digestion problems. By addressing these misalignments, a Singapore Chiropractor can relieve some pressure off the nerves and restore the function of the esophageal sphincter.

Our experts at Vitality Chiropractic in Singapore specialize in upper cervical Chiropractic care. We provide personalized care tailored to your individual needs, leveraging a holistic approach to Chiropractic care. If you are seeking relief from heartburn and acid reflux, contact us right now to schedule a consultation.

REFERENCES

  • Antunes, C. (2023, July 3). Gastroesophageal reflux disease. StatPearls – NCBI Bookshelf. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK441938/
  • Bode, C. (1997). Alcohol’s role in gastrointestinal tract disorders. PubMed Central (PMC). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6826790/
  • Clarrett, D. M. (2018, June 1). Gastroesophageal reflux Disease (GERD). PubMed Central (PMC). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6140167/
  • Young, A., Kumar, M. A., & Thota, P. N. (2020). GERD: A practical approach. Cleveland Clinic Journal of Medicine, 87(4), 223–230. https://doi.org/10.3949/ccjm.87a.19114
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Written by

Shaan Rai (Chiropractic, Singapore)

Shaan (UK) is based in Singapore. He is a GCC registered Singapore Chiropractor, completing a 5 year course at AECC, attaining his Masters in Chiropractic. His career has been specialised in neurological cases, such as migraines and vertigo. He is the Vuce President and Chairman for Outreach & Charity for Alliance of Chiropractic (AoC) and is a founder of Vitality Chiropractic Singapore. He developed the NeuroPro method, combining Upper Cervical techniques with Functional Neurology Rehab.

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