burning in the wind pipe

Feeling the reflux burn?

Are you feeling the burn? 4 reasons why you have acid reflux (or just reflux). I don’t know how many clients I saw last year who came to me with reflux. You know that burning sensation in the windpipe. It’s not that nice to have it and I have experienced it myself and got rid of it too. Not with the oh so many proton pump inhibitors ( PPI’s are acid lowering drugs, that don’t address why there is a specific reflux type symptom) that Dr’s seem to prescribe in a vague attempt to get rid of the unwanted symptom. This is a brief synopsis of why you may get reflux type symptoms and not discussed at  great length.

In my experience there are four specific reasons why individuals get GERD or Gastro-Esophegeal Reflux Disease and in pretty much most cases do not warrant the use of PPI’s such as Nexium or Omeprazole which have many side effects including digestive dysfunction. Here they are:

  1. Identified Helicobacter Pylori infection.
  2. Dysfunctional diaphragm
  3. Food irritant of digestive tract
  4. Stress

Helicobacter Pylori infection-

H pylori infection is one of the most common digestive tract infections that I have seen (probably second to a parasite called Blastocystis). It is prevalent in both developed and developing countries and responsible for gastric ulcers. This pesky helix shaped bacteria burrows deep into the gastric mucosa and has the ability to shut down the production of hydrochloric acid. Hey but hang on, I though that I had been prescribed medication to stop me producing more stomach acid? Yep! Go figure, in some cases reflux type symptoms may even be alkaline refluxing through the pyloric sphincter.

Below the pyloric sphincter it should be a case of the acidic stomach contents triggering the digestive enzymes but that doesn’t happen in cases such as H-pylori and others and therefore digestion is compromised. Ok, I am getting side tracked so back with the H-pylori. The medical approach is to treat with triple therapy, which is two rounds of antibiotics and PPI’s and there are even quadruple rounds of treatment now. Guess what? H-pylori is becoming resistant to antibiotic use! Don’t get me wrong I think antibiotics have their place and  should be used accordingly but to keep increasing doses is a recipe for disaster.

In 99% of H-pylori infections I have seen this resistant critter eradicated with a few different types of natural supplements and I have seen this in scores of clients with this infection. Much more effective than antibiotics and PPI’s which have unwanted side effects to the digestive system. I had this just last year and it was gone pretty quickly with the right approach. Given that it can be passed by hand to hand contact, kissing, zoonosis or contact with pets, drinking water and food are just some of the ways that you can contract it.

Diaphragm dysfunction.                                                 Diaphragm

I have written many times on the need for optimal respiratory mechanics for management of pain and movement dysfunction but the diaphragm has another key role in the management of the pressure of the esophageal sphincter which can control reflux..

There have been several studies on the use of diaphragm modulation and its effect on GERD. http://www.rehabps.com/REHABILITATION/Poster_GR.html

In a nutshell get someone who can help to improve diaphragm function and improve its effect on management of the digestion system. If it doesn’t work, try any of these four points and I am almost certain that you will eradicate reflux without the need for courses of medication. That said, you should always discuss medication cessation with your Doctor first. If you mentioned any of these approaches you will either be greeted with raised eyebrows or a satisfactory nod depending on how your Dr views this type of treatment.

Foods as an irritant to the digestive tract.

This is an anecdotal tale initially and then feeds into other factors. For me personally if I eat bread daily then I get back bending reflux symptoms. I can’t tell you whether it is a reaction to gluten or yeast but I know that when I cut it out it goes within two days. Some clients have found that when they do the same with coffee, wine or any other number of different foods they too have a cessation of symptoms, if the food as an irritant is the potential source.

Some people can argue that certain foods are quite acid and you should attempt an ‘alkalanising’ diet. In my opinion this is hog wash as alkaline and acid environments within the body are managed by complex systems involving respiration, kidneys and the digestive system. Being too alkaline poses similar problems to being too acidic. Its true that eating lots and lots of meat can produce ammonia and you may notice that in the urine but anybody who spouts alkalinity is the way to health should be viewed with scepticism.  Cutting down on high protein diets may just be your best bet.

The simple approach to this is, if you eat a food on a regular basis and you notice that you get reflux….cut it out! Does it go? No then it’s not the issue.


Stress is a killer, we all know that one don’t we? Well then it wouldn’t be that far fetched to say that stress decimates the digestive system. If you are one of those people who races your food down, rushing to work, eating at your desk, eyeing the figures and not truly eating your food then your digestive system is going to become ill fast and so are you.

Digestion starts….in the brain! It was shown nearly a century ago that failure to think about eating fails to produce gastric juices responsible for breaking down nutrients. The work of Walter Cannon demonstrated the failure of the digestive system when constantly exposed to stress both acute and chronic.

An easy place to start is to think about what you are eating and enjoy it. That’s pretty easy right?  Remember that both too much and too little acid in the stomach can pave the way for reflux type symptoms. Slow down. Give the body and mind a chance to digest your food, not only will you enjoy it, it is key in dealing with digestive dysfunction and reflux type symptoms.

If you know anybody suffering with reflux that mention these four points to them. They might just help to get rid of the problem for good.


Cannon, W.B. Bodily Changes in Pain: Hunger, Fear, and Rage: An Account of Recent Researches Into the Function of Emotional Excitement. D Appleton and Company. 1920

Online references:



Proton Pump Inhibitor–Associated Hypomagnesemia: What Do FDA Data Tell Us?