Physical Therapy for Hiatal Hernia

Hiatus hernia is a condition in which part of the stomach protrudes through the diaphragm into the chest wall. Hiatus hernias can be treated surgically, but often physiotherapy is required to ensure that you recover successfully. Some patients also employ physiotherapy or alternative treatments to manage hiatus hernias.


Physiotherapy for hiatus hernia can begin with making some changes in posture and applying some specific methods of massage to strengthen the diaphragm muscles. One method of physiotherapy for hiatus hernia involves a combination of exercises, diet and psychological or relaxation techniques.

Chest Exercises

The emphasis of physiotherapy for a hiatus hernia is on the chest. Some general deep-breathing exercises are suggested before and after surgery to remove a hiatus hernia, so that the lungs can be strengthened. The main physiotherapy for hiatus hernia is massaging certain points in the affected areas by placing pressure on them to relieve pain and discomfort. This is commonly referred to as "trigger therapy," and is done to reduce the need for surgery. The main focus of this kind of physiotherapy is to ease the tightened muscles, the root of the pain or discomfort. The physical therapist uses the hands to locate strained areas. These areas are then massaged and manipulated. The skill of the therapist lies in locating the trigger points and then applying just the right pressure to relieve the pain. The point of doing this is to relieve the stress the diaphragm is under. Next, the physical therapist moves on to relieve the sphincter muscle, which clears the congestion that the hiatus hernia has caused the digestive system. This also helps put a misaligned rib cage back into position.

Trampoline Exercises

The use of mini-trampoline jumping and rebounding exercises is one physical exercise. This exercise can soothe the strained diaphragm muscles. Alternatively, you can also walk or take a pleasant jog in a natural setting. The underlying goal is to make you heal physically by staying relaxed and comfortable. In small quantities, you can also perform more physically strenuous exercises such as aerobics, gymnastics, stretching, swimming and martial arts.

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