How Exercise Affects the Symptoms of a Hiatal Hernia

Hiatal Hernias are common conditions where the abdominal wall does not close properly around the organs or other parts of your body. There are many causes of hiatal hernias but most commonly they occur due to trauma such as surgery, accidents, childbirth complications and even from pregnancy itself.

The main symptom of a hiatal hernia is pain when you breathe in or out. You may feel like you cannot get enough air into your lungs (pulmonary edema).

If left untreated, pulmonary edema can lead to death. Other symptoms include: shortness of breath, fatigue, chest pains and nausea. Some people with a hiatal hernia experience no symptoms at all and it goes unnoticed until the condition becomes too severe.

There are several types of exercise that can cause a hiatal hernia. These include:

Exercise which involves twisting or turning your torso while moving your arms, legs or both. This type of exercise puts pressure on the affected area causing it to swell up and become inflamed.

Exercises involving jumping, hopping, skipping and running put pressure on the abdomen muscles causing them to tighten. This leads to the hiatal hernia swelling up and becoming larger. Lifting heavy items can put pressure on your organs in the abdomen causing the hernia to expand and put more pressure on your respiratory system.

Fortunately there are ways that you can continue doing some of these types of exercises without aggravating your condition. If you have a job which involves lifting heavy objects, it is best to do this over a paved surface such as concrete or asphalt rather than cement or grass.

Avoid going up and down stairs and do not stand for long periods of time.

A good way to treat a hiatal hernia without drugs or surgery is by using self-hypnosis. The subconscious part of the brain is very powerful and this technique accesses that power to help retrain your body to accept the presence of the hernia.

When you go into a hypnotic trance, your body releases endorphins which help reduce pain and encourage healing.

The first stage of this self-hypnosis technique requires you to access a quiet, relaxing and safe environment. Make sure that you will not be disturbed during the process.

Get into a comfortable position either sitting up or lying down however you prefer. Then follow along with the instructions below:

Relax your muscles starting with your feet and working your way up to your head. Keep repeating to yourself “I am relaxed”.

When you get to your head, take three deep breaths and as you breathe out say the rhyme “Everyday, relax, every hour, comfort”

At this point you should feel calm and ready to start the next part of the process.

In your mind’s eye, visualize a large golden disk. As you look at this disk it starts to spin faster and faster until it looks like a glittering gold ring.

As you look at this ring you see colors starting to emerge. The ring turns a beautiful blue color and then changes to red, green, yellow and back to blue.

As you watch this blue ring, you notice that it starts to spin slowly at first and then faster and faster until it looks like a glittering blue circle.

The next part of the process is very important, so listen carefully.

While you keep looking at the spinning blue circle, you need to start repeating in your head “Every day in every way I am getting better and better”. As you say this phrase, you should be able to feel all of the tension leaving your body.

Keep concentrating on the spinning blue circle as you repeat this phrase over and over again.

After about twenty minutes, the ring will begin to fade away and so will you.

Sources & references used in this article:

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Aerobic and non‐aerobic forms of exercise in the treatment of anxiety disorders by EW Martinsen, A Hoffart, ØY Solberg – Stress Medicine, 1989 – Wiley Online Library

Intra-ocular pressure changes during maximal isometric contraction: does this reflect intra-cranial pressure or retinal venous pressure? by RD Dickerman, GH Smith, L Langham-Roof… – Neurological …, 1999 – Taylor & Francis

Treatment modalities of obesity: what fits whom? by V Hainer, H Toplak, A Mitrakou – Diabetes care, 2008 – Am Diabetes Assoc

Esophageal Manometry in Patients with Chest Pain and Normal Coronary Arteriogram. by S Ferguson, K Hodges, T Hersh… – American Journal of …, 1981 –

When the stomach rules the heart: dyspnea as a neglected complication of a large hiatal hernia by TH Marwick – 2011 –

Relationship between body mass index, diet, exercise and gastro‐oesophageal reflux symptoms in a community by S Nandurkar, GR Locke III, S Fett… – Alimentary …, 2004 – Wiley Online Library

Tension-free repair of hiatal hernia during laparoscopic fundoplication: a ten-year experience by PV Gryska, JK Vernon – Hernia, 2005 – Springer

Coronary disease and hiatal hernia: an example in support of the existence of a viscerocardiac reflex by JC Morris, PF Shelburne, ES Orgain – JAMA, 1963 –