What is a Hiatal Hernia?
A hiatal hernia is when the stomach presses into the chest cavity. Symptoms can vary widely. A hiatal hernia enters the esophagus and passes its way onto the stomach. Larger hernias may require surgery, but typical hiatal hernias can heal with exercises and stretches that can strengthen the diaphragm. These exercises can reduce the risk and may even relieve some symptoms.
Hiatal Hernia Symptoms
- Some patients may not experience any symptoms
- Symptoms associated with heartburn and abdominal discomfort
- Throat irritation
- Difficulty swallowing
Stretches and Exercises for Prevention & Ease of Symptoms
There are several yoga poses that are specifically designed to strengthen your diaphragm.
The Chair Pose: While standing with your arms perpendicular to the ground, move your arms above your head and press your palms together. Exhale and press your knees, making your thighs parallel to the floor as possible. Stay in the position for 30 seconds to one minute. Learn more about this pose here.
Strengthening your Stomach Muscles
Doing exercises to strengthen stomach muscles can help reduce your risk for a hiatal hernia. The exercise is simple and involves lying on flat on the floor on your back and bend your knees, letting your feet touch the floor. Lift your lower back and buttocks off the ground, leaving your shoulds and feet on the floor. You only need to hold this position for up to a couple of seconds, but it is recommended to repeat this several times a day.
Strengthening the Diaphragm
A strong diaphragm can also reduce your risk of a hiatal hernia. A breathing exercise that involves you lying on your back with a pillow under your head and knees can be done to strengthen your diaphragm. Place one of your hands on your upper chest and your other hand below your rib cage and breathe in slowly through your nose. Tighten your stomach muscles while you breathe out of your mouth.
Preventing & Treating Hiatal Hernias in Reston VA
While there may be several exercises and yoga poses that can be done to prevent and reduce the symptoms of a hiatal hernia, it may be recommended to consult an expert to ensure it is a hiatal hernia. If a hiatal hernia is severe enough, your doctor may monitor you for complications and may diagnose medication or recommend surgery.
Contact Surgical Consultants of Northern Virginia today at (571) 512-5300 if you have any additional questions about hiatal hernia prevention, symptoms, and treatment. You can also click the button below to get office information and reach out to schedule a consultation.