The most common movement disorders of the esophagus include esophageal spasm and achalasia. Therapy in naturopathy mainly consists of measures that have an antispasmodic and calming effect.
Table of Contents
- Spasm of the esophagus
- Symptoms of movement disorders of the esophagus
- The esophageal spasm
- Conventional measures & naturopathy
- additional Information
Symptoms of movement disorders of the esophagus
With esophageal dysfunction there is on the one hand esophageal spasm and on the other hand achalasia, which differ greatly in their symptoms.
The symptoms of an esophageal spasm are very similar to those of a heart attack (Image: 9nong / fotolia.com)
The esophageal spasm
The esophageal spasm (esophagus cramp) arises from excessive muscle contraction, usually in the middle and lower esophagus. The symptoms consist of sudden cramp-like chest pain , sometimes with radiation in the jaw, shoulder and arm, as they also occur in a heart attack (angina pectoris ). In addition, there are usually swallowing disorders (dysphagia).
A reliable diagnosis can be made using imaging techniques. The x-ray shows irregular corkscrew-like deformations with pseudodiverticles and measurably increased, uncoordinated pressure (manometry).
The cause is unclear, why it is spoken of diffuse or ideopathic esophageal spasm. Older people are often affected. In contrast to achalasia, the function of the lower esophageal sphincter (esophageal sphincter) is preserved.
Often, those affected already have underlying diseases such as, in particular, diabetes , collagenosis, diseases of the central and peripheral nervous system, generalized muscle diseases, amyloidoses and alcoholism.
Achalasia is characterized by contractions in the lower region of the esophagus, which slowly develop due to the degeneration of the nervous network (Auerbach plexus), which is responsible for central digestive processes. Due to the lack of relaxation of the esophageal sphincter, which actually follows the swallowing reflex, the ingested food cannot pass completely through the esophagus. This causes the upper sections of the esophagus to widen over time, and the typical “champagne glass shape” is shown in the X-ray image.
Symptoms include swallowing disorders (dysphagia), which are only accompanied by pain at the beginning (odynophagia). In many cases, those affected have to drink after eating because the chyme “sticks”. Undigested food flows back into the oral cavity, sometimes leading to weight loss. Middle-aged people are particularly affected by the disorder. Although achalasia is a rather rare disease, it is considered a risk factor for the development of esophageal cancer. In most cases, the cause is unknown; secondary to gastric carcinoma, achalasia can occur.
Conventional measures & naturopathy
In the therapy of esophageal spasm, the underlying disease is in the foreground, the symptom is primarily eliminated with nitro preparations and calcium channel blockers. In the case of achalasia, the narrowing is repeatedly widened by a balloon catheter, and surgery may also be required.
As a general measure, alcohol withdrawal and beneficial eating behavior are particularly recommended: Eating without time pressure, sitting and in a quiet environment, whereby smaller bites should be chewed thoroughly. The last meal should be taken as early as possible. Relaxation procedures can also be helpful, for example in the form of hypnosis, self-hypnosis, autogenic training or progressive muscle relaxation.
Melissa tea calms the nervous system and soothes the symptoms of an esophageal movement disorder. (Image: Maya Kruchancova / fotolia.com)
Naturally, the movement disorders of the esophagus are countered with vegetative soothing and antispasmodic measures that can reduce the symptoms. Herbal medications that have a balancing effect on the nervous system relieve the symptoms. These include, for example
- Hops and
Homeopathic single remedies are used as well as complex remedies that contain, for example, Ignatia, Cicuta virosa, Zincum metallicum or Curare as main remedies. The arrow poison Curare, which is made from poisonous plants from the South American rainforest , acts on the transmission of impulses between the motor nerves and muscles. Since the 1930s, Curare has been used to treat spastic contractures and for muscle-relaxing anesthesia; later, artificially produced agents with fewer side effects were preferred. In homeopathic preparation Curare is used today in naturopathy as an injection or in drops.
Manual therapy methods such as osteopathy either treat the region’s nerve supply on the back or neck (Phrenic nerve) or directly on the diaphragm. Here the esophagus has to go through on its way to the stomach and it is suspected that this can lead to movement restrictions. For this reason, therapists trained in osteopathy also look at those affected for connections to other complaints such as back pain , neck tension or headache