My name is Sally Holmgren. I am a 53 year old mom of 6 children ages 29 to 14. I wanted to write a short story about a health issue I have been experiencing since January 2015. Actually, I think I have been having subtle symptoms since the birth of my last child, but it manifested itself in a big way in 2015.

In 2002, after the birth of my 6th child, I started having some mild heartburn and hiatal hernia symptoms. I remember talking to my doctor about it and he suggested I try Zantac or Pepcid as needed. I would take them as needed but not necessarily everyday. They seemed to help my mild symptoms for quite some time.

In January 2015, I was having an extremely stressful time. My 24 year old son was having a bipolar episode and we had to admit him to a psychiatric hospital of which was the 3rd time in 4 years. I was deeply saddened and as I said, feeling high anxiety. I also had a cold during the same time and was taking high doses of vitamin C and ibuprofen. I think the combination of high stress and the medications triggered a severe acid response my body was not ready for.

The symptoms I felt at that time were tightness and pain in my chest, shortness of breath, excessive burping and a strange feeling in my throat. I thought at first that maybe I had developed pneumonia because of the shortness of breath. The shortness of breath eased some but I began to feel extreme pressure in my diaphragm after I ate anything.

I started researching it as I was baffled and so uncomfortable. One of the first things I found when I entered my symptoms was that they fit to a tee the symptoms of a hiatal hernia. I talked to my sister and father , both of whom have GERD. My sister advised me to start taking 40 mgs. of Nexium because she had similar symptoms and had seen a doctor and that is what he advised. My father was also on Prilosec so I started taking 40 mgs of the PPI drug.

I lived this way for about 4 months with not much relief, so I made an appointment with a general practice doctor who did a brief exam, ordered some blood tests and told me to continue with the Nexium. He didn’t even ask me how much I was taking. He assumed 20 mgs but I was actually taking twice the amount! I mentioned a hiatal hernia and the fact that I had had six big babies and he didn’t think there was any correlation. It made sense to me anatomically that after my 6th pregnancy I started to notice symptoms. I am not a big nor tall person and the babies were of course pushing on my organs and displacing them, therefore pushing my stomach up through my weakened sphincter into my esophagus.

I had been researching my condition and have continued to do so diligently. I have read numerous books. The most helpful has been “Killing Me Softly From Inside” by Jonathon E. Aviv. He taught me how to totally change my diet to include mostly low acid foods and many fruits and vegetables. Through trial and error, I have learned what my triggers are and they include chocolate and coffee.

Another helpful book is “Hiatal Hernia Syndrome” by Theodore A. Baroody. It is a guide to self-healing and includes numerous exercises to help ease the stomach back into place. He is a chiropractor and shows demonstrations of manipulating the stomach into place. I had read about this through a hiatal hernia group on Facebook and some talked about how chiropractic had helped ease their symptoms.

I decided to google hiatal hernia/GERD and chiropractors in Grand Rapids, MI. Included in the search was a link to Clear Connections Chiropractic with a long article about acid reflux and how chiropractic can help. They explained how adjustments to certain areas of the spine can help with the nerves to my digestive organs so I decided to go for an evaluation.

I was asked many questions about my symptoms and was so impressed by the doctors. They are kind, personable and knowledgeable. Then I started going for adjustments 3 times a week and along with my spinal adjustments, they actually do a compression of sorts of the area of my hernia to help ease it into place. I noticed quite an improvement of my symptoms.  There are horror stories of some who have had surgery to fix their hernia and actually end up not being able to burp or vomit because the wrap was too tight. I want to avoid surgery at all costs.

That is why I am so happy that I researched the different ways to help ease symptoms and Clear Connections Chiropractic has helped me so much in doing that.