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  • Writer's pictureArianne Gosselin

Osteopathy and GERD

One of the most common digestive complaints I hear about is acid reflux, also known as GERD (Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease). While there are both over the counter and prescribed medications that can be taken to control the symptoms, many people have decided that symptom management is not the answer. Instead, they are choosing to look for the root cause of the problem. They understand that by finding the root cause, the problem is being fixed at the source which leads to better long term outcomes.

Before we dive deeper into the structural (anatomical) cause associated with reflux, remember that the function of your organs is directly related to your anatomical structure. Said otherwise, tight muscles and joints that don’t move have a direct relation to your body’s functions. This means that by restoring proper motion and symmetry in your body, we are also restoring proper function.

So now we have an abnormal function (reflux) and we need to find an anatomical correlation, correct it, and let the body self-regulate. To do this, we must make sure the blood supply and nerve supply to the affected organ is unobstructed.

The blood and nerve supply of the stomach is dependant on the proper functioning of something called the celiac plexus. A plexus is a web-like network of nerves that carries information to and from specific parts of your body. The celiac plexus is particularly important for digestion. Anytime your stomach needs to do something, such as produce more or less acid, the signal that triggers this to occur has to pass through this plexus. That being said, we need to make sure that this pathway of communication is open and ready to do its job, otherwise, how can the stomach do its job?

It is with this thought process that the trained Osteopathic Practitioner will examine all anatomical structures surrounding the celiac plexus, as well as the areas of the spine from which originate the nerves that are heading to the stomach via the plexus. Any abnormalities found in these areas would be corrected, which would then allow your stomach to function the way it should, without the need for any medication or supplements. That’s what finding and correcting the root cause of a health concern truly means, and yes, it’s within reach!

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