Acid Reflux and Osteopathy

What is Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease? (GERD)

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a common disorder of the gastrointestinal system. It often arises from a defective sphincter mechanism at the oesophagus-gastric junction.

GERD can have a big impact on our daily living.

Today the most common pharmaceutical  approach is by using  proton pump inhibitors (PPI) to reduce stomach acidity to help manage the symptoms. Lifestyle advice that may help includes stopping smoking, reducing the consumption of coffee, alcohol and fat, avoiding meals 2 hours before bedtime, and sleeping with the upper body elevated.

In more severe cases surgery may also be an option. The aim of the surgery is to improve the closing function of the lower oesophageal sphincter (LES).

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Evidence for Osteopathy and Gastroesophageal reflux disease

Diseases of the Esophagus, Volume 26, Issue 5, 1 July 2013

Increase of lower esophageal sphincter pressure after osteopathic intervention on the diaphragm in patients with gastroesophageal reflux

R. C. V. da Silva et al.

The treatment of gastroesophageal reflux disease may be clinical or surgical. The clinical consists basically of the use of drugs; however, there are new techniques to complement this treatment, osteopathic intervention in the diaphragmatic muscle is one these.

The objective of the study is to compare pressure values in the examination of esophageal manometry of the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) before and immediately after osteopathic intervention in the diaphragm muscle.

Thirty-eight patients with gastroesophageal reflux disease - 16 submitted to sham technique and 22 submitted osteopathic technique - were randomly selected. The average respiratory pressure (ARP) and the maximum expiratory pressure (MEP) of the LES were measured by manometry before and after osteopathic technique at the point of highest pressure.

Statistical analysis was performed using the Student's t-test and Mann-Whitney, and magnitude of the technique proposed was measured using the Cohen's index. Statistically significant difference in the osteopathic technique was found in three out of four in relation to the group of patients who performed the sham technique for the following measures of LES pressure: ARP with P= 0.027. The MEP had no statistical difference (P= 0.146). The values of Cohen d for the same measures were: ARP with d= 0.80 and MEP d= 0.52.

Osteopathic manipulative technique produces a positive increment in the LES region soon after its performance.

Comments: The obvious short fall of this study is that there was no longterm follow up of patients. Further studies should look into the longterm effects of osteopathic manipulation.