Exercises to Stop a Hiatal Hernia

A hiatal hernia, which occurs when the stomach presses up into the diaphragm, can vary in severity of pain and symptoms. Large hernias often require surgery, but smaller ones may go unnoticed. While a hernia can appear under many conditions, certain exercises and life choices can severely diminish the chances of suffering from one. Exercises that strengthen your diaphragm can help improve less-severe hernias.

Strengthen your diaphragm to reduce symptoms from hiatal hernia. (Image: Koldunov/iStock/GettyImages)

Identify the Hernia

Food travels down the tube-like esophagus and passes through the hiatus, which is the opening to the diaphragm on the way to the stomach. A hiatal hernia occurs when part of the stomach pushes through the hiatus.

Small hernias may not be noticeable, but larger ones can cause food and stomach acid to be pushed back into the esophagus.

Symptoms of a hernia include acid reflux, indigestion and chest pain. While exercises can help relieve the pain and limit further risk of a hernia, a doctor should be consulted if you believe you have such a condition.

Yoga for Hiatal Hernia

Home remedies can include yoga for hiatal hernia. Many yoga poses are specifically designed to strengthen the diaphragm and the stomach. One example is the Chair Pose, done while standing with arms perpendicular to the ground.

Move your arms above your head and press your palms together. Exhale and bend your knees, pushing them out over your feet. The goal is to bring your thighs as close to parallel with the ground as possible. Press your shoulder blades to your back and lower your tailbone in the direction of the floor. Hold the pose for at least 30 seconds before straightening up.

Strengthening Stomach Muscles

Strengthening the stomach muscles can help reduce the risk of a hiatal hernia. One simple exercise that requires no equipment can be done by lying flat on your back and bending your knees so your feet touch the floor.

Lift your lower back and buttocks off the ground so that only your shoulders and feet are on the floor. Hold this position for a few seconds, then lower yourself back to the ground. Repeat the move 10 times per day. When you first attempt this, you may feel some tightness in your stomach as your muscles contract.

Strengthening the Diaphragm

A strong diaphragm can keep the stomach from encroaching and reduce the risk of hiatal hernia. A simple breathing exercise can be done while lying on your back with a pillow under your head and another under your knees.

Put one hand on your upper chest and the other below your rib cage and breathe in slowly through your nose. The hand on your rib cage should move out with your stomach while the hand on your chest stays still. Tighten your stomach muscles while you exhale through your mouth, again keeping the hand on the chest motionless.

Natural Remedies for Hiatal Hernia

While exercise plays a large role in maintaining a healthy body, there are other natural remedies for hiatal hernia. Stop eating at least three hours before going to bed to cut down on acid reflux caused by hiatal hernia, and don't lie down soon after eating. Elevating the head of the bed about six inches also will keep food and acid down.

REFERENCES & RESOURCES
Load comments
PARTNER & LICENSEE OF THE LIVESTRONG FOUNDATION

Copyright © 2019 Leaf Group Ltd. Use of this web site constitutes acceptance of the LIVESTRONG.COM Terms of Use , Privacy Policy and Copyright Policy . The material appearing on LIVESTRONG.COM is for educational use only. It should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. LIVESTRONG is a registered trademark of the LIVESTRONG Foundation. The LIVESTRONG Foundation and LIVESTRONG.COM do not endorse any of the products or services that are advertised on the web site. Moreover, we do not select every advertiser or advertisement that appears on the web site-many of the advertisements are served by third party advertising companies.