Now, I cannot suggest this scenario is typical or relates to anybody reading this article….but it does seem to be a trend and it is often over-looked.  There aren’t always easy fixes for things in life, but sometimes there are…. This is just one (potentially) easy fix for anxiety.  If you think this might be your situation, look at the list of symptoms at the bottom to see if one or some match your symptoms.

In my world, health and wellness is often simple but not always easy.  Having a healthy, balanced mind is no different.  And let’s be honest, sometimes we’re looking for these really complicated, storied explanations, when the real solution is close at hand.  Here’s what I mean – a physical malposition can create a sense of anxiety.

Hiatal hernias are a very common condition that can create the physical sensation of anxiety, can affect your breathing and also cause heart palpitations.  This is one of the things that I always check during physical exam.  A hiatal hernia occurs when a portion of the stomach goes above the diaphragm.  The stomach does not belong in the chest cavity and when it gets stuck there, it takes up the valuable real estate of the heart and lungs.  This can create a particular type of discomfort, almost like there is not enough room to breath, often interpreted as anxiety.

I’ve treated many hiatal hernias in my career and this fairly straight-forward manipulation can bring a lot of relief.  The other thing that I do when I correct a hiatal hernia is that I ensure the person is breathing in a balanced manner.  Stress and stressful situations will tend to change how we breathe.  This change can actually encourage the formation of a hiatal hernia.   This becomes a self-perpetuating cycle and if not dealt with can recreate the hiatal hernia.

What causes hiatal hernias?  In my opinion the number one cause is stress.  So being aware of  stress and understanding how to manage stressful situations is still necessary and beneficial.  

Common symptoms of hiatal hernias:   

  • sense of difficult breathing
  • heart palpitations
  • easy satiety (can only eat small amounts of food before feeling full)
  • acid reflux or heartburn
  • bloating
  • pain or discomfort at the left upper quadrant of the abdomen or just under the left ribs
  • nausea

Most people with hiatal hernias do not have ALL of these symptoms, but might have one or some of the above.

If you believe this scenario might describe you, I would be happy to investigate and provide my opinion.   You must live in or around Calgary for physical exam, however.  Send me and email or give me a call.


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