Are there exercises that strengthen the lower esophageal sphincter?

Posted by pd02 @pd02, May 13, 2016

I wonder if there are certain exercises that might strengthen the lower esophageal sphincter?

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Good question @pd02. According to this article by LiveStrong the lower esophageal sphincter doesn’t respond to exercises http://www.livestrong.com/article/312504-lower-esophageal-sphincter-exercise/

“The upper esophageal sphincter can respond favorably to isometric and isokinetic neck extensions, but no physical exercise exists to strengthen the lower esophageal sphincter. By lifting and holding the neck from a supine position for 60 seconds at a time, you create enough tension in the muscle associated with the upper esophageal sphincter that it can strengthen the valve. Doing a similar lift and holding within the abdominal region of the body cannot provide the same results for the lower esophageal sphincter.”

This article http://www.everydayhealth.com/gerd/take-a-deep-breath-for-gerd-relief.aspx cites a “small study published in The American Journal of Gastroenterology showed that participants who learned breathing techniques to strengthen the diaphragm had less reflux over time than those who didn’t get the training.”

Has anyone has success with such breathing exercises? cc @jafd @dandl48 @cbs61752

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@colleenyoung

Good question @pd02. According to this article by LiveStrong the lower esophageal sphincter doesn’t respond to exercises http://www.livestrong.com/article/312504-lower-esophageal-sphincter-exercise/

“The upper esophageal sphincter can respond favorably to isometric and isokinetic neck extensions, but no physical exercise exists to strengthen the lower esophageal sphincter. By lifting and holding the neck from a supine position for 60 seconds at a time, you create enough tension in the muscle associated with the upper esophageal sphincter that it can strengthen the valve. Doing a similar lift and holding within the abdominal region of the body cannot provide the same results for the lower esophageal sphincter.”

This article http://www.everydayhealth.com/gerd/take-a-deep-breath-for-gerd-relief.aspx cites a “small study published in The American Journal of Gastroenterology showed that participants who learned breathing techniques to strengthen the diaphragm had less reflux over time than those who didn’t get the training.”

Has anyone has success with such breathing exercises? cc @jafd @dandl48 @cbs61752

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Thank you, Colleen Young, for the articles. The second article again has referred me to yoga meditation. Some doctors in Kathmandu have suggested that kapalvati and bhastrika breathing may help the LES. I just wanted to make sure.
Thanks anyway.

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@colleenyoung

Good question @pd02. According to this article by LiveStrong the lower esophageal sphincter doesn’t respond to exercises http://www.livestrong.com/article/312504-lower-esophageal-sphincter-exercise/

“The upper esophageal sphincter can respond favorably to isometric and isokinetic neck extensions, but no physical exercise exists to strengthen the lower esophageal sphincter. By lifting and holding the neck from a supine position for 60 seconds at a time, you create enough tension in the muscle associated with the upper esophageal sphincter that it can strengthen the valve. Doing a similar lift and holding within the abdominal region of the body cannot provide the same results for the lower esophageal sphincter.”

This article http://www.everydayhealth.com/gerd/take-a-deep-breath-for-gerd-relief.aspx cites a “small study published in The American Journal of Gastroenterology showed that participants who learned breathing techniques to strengthen the diaphragm had less reflux over time than those who didn’t get the training.”

Has anyone has success with such breathing exercises? cc @jafd @dandl48 @cbs61752

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Interesting article and it couldn’t hurt as a adjunct to your prescribed meds. But please note the 1st sentence where it says ” if you have mild gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), your breathing could play a role in your overall treatment plan. I don’t have “mild” GERD and most people here don’t.

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@colleenyoung

Good question @pd02. According to this article by LiveStrong the lower esophageal sphincter doesn’t respond to exercises http://www.livestrong.com/article/312504-lower-esophageal-sphincter-exercise/

“The upper esophageal sphincter can respond favorably to isometric and isokinetic neck extensions, but no physical exercise exists to strengthen the lower esophageal sphincter. By lifting and holding the neck from a supine position for 60 seconds at a time, you create enough tension in the muscle associated with the upper esophageal sphincter that it can strengthen the valve. Doing a similar lift and holding within the abdominal region of the body cannot provide the same results for the lower esophageal sphincter.”

This article http://www.everydayhealth.com/gerd/take-a-deep-breath-for-gerd-relief.aspx cites a “small study published in The American Journal of Gastroenterology showed that participants who learned breathing techniques to strengthen the diaphragm had less reflux over time than those who didn’t get the training.”

Has anyone has success with such breathing exercises? cc @jafd @dandl48 @cbs61752

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But leg raises help the lower esophageal sphincter per this study https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27634073 "Leg raise increases pressure in lower and upper esophageal sphincter among patients with gastroesophageal reflux disease."

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I have read that the following breathing technique can help relieve some discomfort during a GERD attack: put one hand lightly on your upper chest. Breathe from your stomach area as though you are drawing air in directly from there. Make sure (with the hand on your chest) that your chest is not moving. It sounds kind of silly but This has helped me on occasion when I’ve had reflux attack during the night. At the opposite end of the exercise spectrum: I have tried yoga for my IBS. Didn’t get very far with that after some of the positions caused reflux. I think tai chi is better for me.

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@jackiem95

I have read that the following breathing technique can help relieve some discomfort during a GERD attack: put one hand lightly on your upper chest. Breathe from your stomach area as though you are drawing air in directly from there. Make sure (with the hand on your chest) that your chest is not moving. It sounds kind of silly but This has helped me on occasion when I’ve had reflux attack during the night. At the opposite end of the exercise spectrum: I have tried yoga for my IBS. Didn’t get very far with that after some of the positions caused reflux. I think tai chi is better for me.

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Another way to do this breathing exercise is to breathe into 'the back and sides of a waistcoat' (that may be called by another name in US English). This is a breathing technique I was taught as a young opera student.

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@sianross

Another way to do this breathing exercise is to breathe into 'the back and sides of a waistcoat' (that may be called by another name in US English). This is a breathing technique I was taught as a young opera student.

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Hi, @sianross, and welcome to Mayo Clinic Connect. Thanks for the tip on the breathing exercise from your experiences in opera singing.

Have you also been diagnosed with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), sianross?

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@dandl48

Interesting article and it couldn’t hurt as a adjunct to your prescribed meds. But please note the 1st sentence where it says ” if you have mild gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), your breathing could play a role in your overall treatment plan. I don’t have “mild” GERD and most people here don’t.

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However, PPIs were never intended for long term use. It can be the very thing making it worse, as it can cause hypochloridia, among other complications. Look on PubMed for the following article: Long-term use of proton pump inhibitors as a risk factor for various adverse manifestations

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@terigo

However, PPIs were never intended for long term use. It can be the very thing making it worse, as it can cause hypochloridia, among other complications. Look on PubMed for the following article: Long-term use of proton pump inhibitors as a risk factor for various adverse manifestations

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Welcome, @terigo. I noticed that you wished to post a URL to a resource with your post. You will be able to add URLs to your posts in a few days. There is a brief period where new members can't post links. We do this to deter spammers and keep the community safe. Clearly the link you wanted to post is not spam. Please allow me to post it for you.

– Long-term use of proton pump inhibitors as a risk factor for various adverse manifestations https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32718584/

Do you use a PPI or have in the past?

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My Gastro from Mayo Clinic Jacksonville said this may help . Doesn’t help me with all my Gastro Disorders but may help you .

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@rozy288

My Gastro from Mayo Clinic Jacksonville said this may help . Doesn’t help me with all my Gastro Disorders but may help you .

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Thank you for sharing I am going to use this exercise!

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@sph

But leg raises help the lower esophageal sphincter per this study https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27634073 "Leg raise increases pressure in lower and upper esophageal sphincter among patients with gastroesophageal reflux disease."

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I think that you may be misinterpreting the results of the study. Pressure on the lower esophageal sphincter generally does not "help the lower esophageal sphincter", but rather the pressure can further cause more LES leakage. The results of the study seem to indicate that those with GERD may want to avoid or limit leg raises.

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