Current statistics show that more than 50 million people in the United States suffer from acid reflux disease. What is acid reflux? Basically, acid reflux (or GERD ) is when hydrochloric acid backs up into your esophagus and causes burning pain, and even damage to the delicate tissue lining the windpipe. The most common signs and symptoms of this disorder are: nausea, belching, constant bloating, chest pain, difficulty swallowing, and occasional regurgitation of food.
How does one get this painful disorder? The perfect formula for acid reflux disease is the combination of acid causing foods, stress, smoking, being overweight, and taking medications. Does this sound like 90% of the population? We are more stressed than ever and the average American has a diet high in acid causing foods. Combine this with the statistic that the average American, over 55, takes 6 different prescription medications per day and we have the perfect storm for acid reflux.
Unfortunately, the most common (not most appropriate) treatment for acid reflux is medication, prescription and over-the-counter. This seems counter-productive when you think about it. Take a prescription drug when that is one of the potential causes? Well, that treatment is so common that most of my patients that come in with acid reflux are prescribed drugs like Prilosec because of the other drugs they are taking. Sound familiar? Ask your friends and family taking these drugs, many of them will tell you the same. Lets not overlook the devastating side effects of these commonly prescribed drugs. Straight from drugs.com, here are the listed side effects of Prilosec.
Severe allergic reaction, tightness in the chest, bloody stools, bone pain, irregular heart beat, fever, chills, sore throat, severe stomach bleeding, swelling of the hands or feet, tiredness, vision changes, and yellowing of the skin.
In fact, in May of 2010, the FDA warned people taking medications like Prilosec, Protonix, and Nexium that prolonged use increases the risk of hip, wrist, and spine fracture!
What you need to know: There is a better way!
As a wellness chiropractor my mission is to educate people that drugs are not the answer to improve body function and overall health. In fact, I contend that the more prescription medication you take, the sicker your body becomes. Drugs are toxic and always have side effects. Prescription medications are needed in many cases, but only until all other safe and natural alternatives are exhausted. That’s what we teach at AAC Family Wellness Centers. So let’s look at acid reflux and what we can do to help our bodies function better.
First, instead of looking at acid reflux as your body malfunctioning lets look at why you have it. Back in high school chemistry class we learned about acidity and alkalinity. These are opposite ends of the spectrum and need to be in balance to create good body chemistry. Let’s suppose after getting into a heated debate with your boss you go home from work, eat five tacos, drink a six-pack of beer and then go right to sleep. You will, more than likely, end up with acid reflux symptoms. Your body responded appropriately to the environment you provided by producing copious amounts of acid. Your body did nothing wrong, YOU DID! Instead of recognizing this, you swallow a couple of pills, which blocks your body from making the acid it needs to and you don’t feel the pain. Therefore, you can continue to make those poor choices next time knowing the pills will make you feel better.
Instead incorporate these wellness solutions to help you combat acid reflux:
1. Have some form of stress management in your life, meditate, yoga, massage, etc…
2. Exercise! This acts as a form of stress management and studies show people who exercise have a more alkaline chemistry than people who don’t.
3. Avoid prescription drugs when possible. All drugs are toxic and many even list the side effect of acid reflux.
4. Incorporate more alkaline foods in your diet. Think Green! Green foods like kale, broccoli, spinach, sprouted seeds, and wheat grass provide an alkaline environment for better digestion.
5. Try some barley grass products like Alka-Green or Greens First. These products are superior when your body is severely acidic and you need to tip the scales from acid to alkaline.
6. Have a wellness chiropractor on your health care team. Your body can only function properly with a well functioning nervous system, that’s our specialty: Removing nerve interference so your body can function its best.
Next time, when your body alerts you with symptoms, before you reach for a pill to make the painful sign go away, ask WHY! Why is my body acting this way and what can I do to help it function better. That’s what we do at AAC; evaluate your body and how it’s functioning. Then we can provide the proper care and coach you to make better choices so you can lead a healthier, happy, drug-free life! Until next time, Be Well!