A hiatus (hiatal) hernia occurs when the upper part of the stomach bulges through a diaphragm. The diaphragm consists of small openings where the oesophagus passes before connecting to the stomach. The stomach pushes up through this opening and into the chest. A small hiatus hernia does not usually cause issues; however, a larger hernia may allow food and acid back up into the oesophagus causing symptoms such as heartburn acid reflux, chest or abdominal pain and difficulty or pain swallowing.
Hiatal Hernias can be caused by changes in the diaphragm due to age, injury to the area such as trauma or following a surgery, born with an unusually large hiatus as well as persistent pressure on the muscles while coughing, exercising or lifting heavy objects. Risk factors include obesity and those 50 or over.
Treatment includes- changing eating habits, smoking cessation and medicines to reduce acid production such as proton pump inhibitors- lansoprazole and omeprazole. Some people require a surgical procedure to repair the hernia.
Physiotherapy can’t improve the hiatus hernia specifically however we can help with breathing exercises, core strengthening and thorax mobility and positional advice as well as guiding your rehabilitation and recovery should you have surgery