A hiatal hernia refers to the condition when your upper part of the stomach gets pushed up into your chest region by your diaphragm. You may have symptoms such as heartburn, chest pain, epigastric pain, trouble swallowing, and blenching. The individuals with age of over 50 years may experience hiatal hernia. The senior people with 60 years of age are more prone to get this condition said by Esophageal-Cancer-Awareness-Association.
Doctors and researchers yet not discovered the exact cause of hiatal hernia. However, it is said that damage or injury may result in hiatal hernia by weak muscle tissue. Another possible reason for hiatal hernia is, muscles close to stomach get more pressure when you vomit, cough, or strain of bowel movements.
It can be difficult to see the symptoms of small hiatal hernia. The large one requires medical treatments or surgery to correct it.
Top 15 Exercises for Hiatal Hernia Patients
Table of Contents
The cow pose helps to prevent Hiatal hernia. It works on your torso and neck region. It also massages your belly and spine.
How to do?
- Get your knees and hands in a tabletop. Bring your knees below your hips and let your elbows and wrists get level.
- Bring your head in a neutral position. Look at the floor.
- As you lift, get your chest to the roof. Let your belly sink to the ground.
- Raise your head and look ahead.
- Breath out and get your tabletop position on knees and hands.
- Perform this for 10 to 20 times.
Do some stretches to feel the relief. It helps to strengthen your muscles of abdominal and support. Avoid overstretching, which can cause a significant reduction in the effectiveness of strength training.
Doing side bends using weight helps to develop and strengthen your muscles. It promotes spinal mobility and assists in hiatal hernia recovery. Make sure to bend at a moderate level and avoid bend too much far. Doing an extra range of movement can put potential injury on the spine.
How to do?
- Stand up and put your back straight. Keep your feet little apart.
- Put your right arm down to your side, raise your left, arm straight up.
- Bend to the right side, ensure to not bending front or back in the process.
- Be in that pose for some time and get back to the beginning position.
- Do the same steps to your left arm down to your side, and the keep the right arm raised straight above.
- Perform 20-repetitions on both sides.
- You can also use weight for this exercise.
Hip Extension Stretches
Stretching workout helps to loosen and strengthen abdominal muscles. Hip extension stretch helps to support bending forward side bends while standing. Avoid overstretching as it causes to reduce the effectiveness of strength and flexibility limit.
How to do?
- Hip extension stretch requires to lie down over your sides and put your knees and back straight.
- Now take your legs to your sides. Keep your knees straight.
- Get your one leg up and keep another leg down.
- Be in this position for 3-second and get your leg down.
- Do this 10-times and perform with another leg.
Drink Warm Water
Drinking warm water is a basic thing for hiatal hernia patients. As you do exercise for preventing hiatal hernia, it is essential to drink water. While experiencing hiatal hernia, you need to drink warm water in the morning and practice the exercises.
Drink one glass of water in the morning on an empty stomach. It helps to relax your muscles near your diaphragm and stomach.
Stand straight and then lift your arms. Flex your elbows until your hands come close to your chest.
Elevate your toes as high as you can do, then let the lower down the heel quickly. This exercise helps to drag down the weight of warm water in your abdomen. You can do it multiple times.
Elevate your arms and stand up in a straight form.
Inhale and exhale deeply to lock the hole and increase tightness in your diaphragm.
Try Mini Crunches
Try to do mini crunches as they are one of the best and safe exercises for hiatal hernia. It lowers down the hiatal hernia symptoms by strengthening abdominal walls and muscles. It is suggested to try regular crunches. However, doing mini crunches also help.
- Lie over the flat ground. Move you are lower than your feet and bend your knees.
- Flex your torso and get into a 30-degree angle.
- Put your abdominal muscles engaged.
- Hold this pose for some time and then take down your back to the beginning point.
- Repeat these three times, each with 15 reps.
Abdominal Muscles Massage
Do massaging your abdominal muscles to reduce the hiatal hernia. It is one of the best exercises for hiatal hernia. It will reduce the discomfort quickly.
How to do?
- Lie down over the bed and relax.
- Put your fingers at the rib cage pose under your breastbones.
- Do gentle massage on your belly.
- Repeat this massage exercise for 5-minutes.
- Perform the abdominal massage twice a day for better result. You can do the massage in the morning and evening.
Yoga is the best and popular magical workout for good health. Hiatal hernia patients should include yoga in their exercises. Yoga helps to reduce the pain and discomfort of hiatal hernia.
How to do?
- Stand up with relaxing arms to your sides and keep feet far apart.
- Raise your arms over your head.
- Flex your torso at 45 degrees till your chest come close to thighs. Keep your arms straight and palm over the ground.
- Gently twist your knees.
- Add pressure to the floor and set your eyes ahead. Hold it for some time while breathing and exhaling deeply.
- Stretch your shoulder to the backside and turn your tailbone down to the ground. Stay in this position for 30 seconds while concentrating on deep breathing.
- Take again relaxing pose and repeat the workout for some time.
Yoga decreases the signs of hiatal hernia by keeping the pressure over your abdomen. However, it is essential for the keep track of your body. Make sure to relax when you are tired or difficult. Take some rest before doing the exercise again.
The pool exercises another good workout for hiatal hernia patients. If you are interested in swimming, then it is a good choice for you. Pool exercise can be safe for reducing hiatal hernia. It helps to boost resistance and balance by decreasing the symptoms. It also strengthens abdominal muscles.
How to do?
- Try to do walking in the swimming pool for some time.
- Perform each flexion, extension, abduction, and hip abduction for 30 times.
- Also, do 30 times half squats.
Daily Chores Exercise
If you are unable to perform the complicated exercise as a patient of hiatal hernia, do exercise while doing daily life activities. Performing 30 minutes of physical activity can help provide the best health benefits. It doesn’t require to go to the gym or spend a lot of time on a workout. Treating and reducing hiatal hernia is easier than you have thought.
Here is some suggestion for busy people with hiatal hernia.
- Use stairs for going and coming rather than the elevator.
- Perform household activities such as dusting and vacuuming.
- Take your pets to the daily walk in the park.
You might have heard of many benefits of chair pose. It also helps to reduce the symptoms of Hiatal hernia.
How to do?
- Stand and inhale. Lift your arms at 90-degree angles to the floor. Keep both arms parallel and palms facing in or join the palms.
- Breath out and flex your knees. Bring your thighs closely parallel to the ground as possible. The knees will extend out on the feet, and your torso will lean somewhat front on the thighs until the front body from a correct angle with the top of your thighs.
- Put your inner thighs equal to each other and push the heads of the thigh bones down to your heels.
- Keep your shoulder bone opposite to the back. Put your tailbone down to the floor and in your pubis to put lower back stretched.
- Hole this chair pose for 30 seconds to one minute.
- Return of this poses by straightening your knees by breathing in and exhale to release the arms to both sides.
Slide bend is the best exercise to help the hiatal hernia patient. It helps to stretch your muscles and provide comfort.
How to do?
- Stand up and keep your back straight. Keep your feet somewhat wide.
- Let your right arm relax with your side.
- Turn your left arm over your head and then flex it to your right side.
- Be in this position for some time before relaxing.
- Do it again with your opposite arm.
- You can also perform this exercise with weights.
Strengthen the Diaphragm
This workout helps to lower down the symptoms of hiatal hernia and promote diaphragm health. Regularly doing this workout helps to prevent the risk of hiatal hernia more effectively.
How to do?
- Lie down using your back and keep a pillow below your head and one pillow below your knees.
- Put one hand over your upper chest and another under the rib cage.
- Inhale and exhale slowly.
- Turn your hand over the rib cage while putting your hand over your chest in that position.
- Engage your muscles close to your stomach.
- Inhale from your nose and breath out by your mouth.
- Keep your hand over your chest while doing this workout.
- Regularly perform this workout to get effective results.
Pillow squeeze is another exercise for hiatal hernia patients. It also helps to strengthen your abdominal muscles and build resistance.
How to do?
- Lie down over your back and turn your feet higher than your head and flex your knees.
- Put one pillow under your knees.
- Breath in and breath out slowly and deeply while pressing the pillow by using muscles of your thigh.
- Put the pelvis motionless and let your thigh muscles relax.
- Perform this work out every day to get an effective result.
- It is recommended to start with one set if 10-reps and then slowly increase to 3-sets.
Walking is a basic and simple exercise for a patient with hiatal hernia. Walking work effectively for strengthening your lower, upper abdomen, and pelvic muscles. The people who are experiencing hiatal hernia should walk 45-60 minutes every day. However, walking needs a quick pace to get an effective result. It is the best idea to add walking into your everyday routine. You can walk in the park in the morning or evening.
Strengthen Stomach Muscles
Having strong stomach muscles helps to prevent the hiatal hernia risk. It is a safe exercise for hiatal hernia patients. This workout helps to strengthen stomach muscles. This workout does not need any equipment. Furthermore, it is a simpler exercise.
How to do?
- Lie down on the back and flex your knees to let your feet reach the ground.
- Turn the next butt and use your back from the ground and put your shoulders and feet stay still on the floor.
- Be in this position for some time before getting back to the original point.
- Do this exercise for 10-times every day.
- You may experience a tight stomach while doing this exercise. It happens because of stomach muscles contractions.
The Inclined Cycling Activity
The patients of hiatal hernia can do inclined cycling exercise. While experiencing hiatal hernia, you should avoid heavy activities and exercises such as lifting, pushing, or pulling. This workout is safe for hiatal hernia.
How to do?
- Lie down on your back and set your feet larger than your head.
- Put your hand on your sides.
- Turn your knees on your body.
- Do cycling moves using your legs.
- Make sure to follow your feelings and body. If you feel a burning sensation, then stop this exercise.
The Inclined Leg Lifts
A weak abdominal wall causes a bulge of intestines, which result in hiatal hernia. The inclined leg lifts are a safe workout for hiatal hernia patient as it helps to strengthen stomach muscles and promote fitness.
How to do?
- Lie down with your back and hold your head lower than your feet.
- Gently turn your legs for 30 to 45 degrees.
- Be in this position for a few seconds and relax.
- Beginners should do with one set of 5-reps and then slowly increase 2-sets.
Home Remedies for managing hiatal hernia
Here are some home remedies to try at home for managing hiatal hernia naturally.
- Drink one glass of warm water after waking up in the morning. Avoid drinking tea, coffee.
- When you stand, get your arms to the sides and flex the elbows to move your hands near the chest.
- Stand over your chest as much as possible for and dropdown.
- Make sure to breathe with your mouth open and pause for 15 seconds.
Additional Important Information
Hiatal hernia patients can get effective results from the above exercises when consumed right foods and a healthy diet.
Foods to eat
Hiatal hernia patients should include leafy green vegetables in your diet. Less acidic foods will help to prevent the risk and severity of the hiatal hernia problem. The best food hiatal hernia patient can have non-acidic, less processed, and more dietary fiber foods.
People with food intolerance can have exceptions. Eliminating certain foods improve the symptoms. Here is the list of safe foods for hiatal hernia patients.
- Leafy greens
- Whole grains
- Pease and beans
- Lean protein including fish and tofu
- Non-citrus juice and fruits
- Seeds and nuts
- Asparagus and artichoke
- Low-fat dairy food
- Apple cider vinegar
- Non-caffeinated teas.
Cultured or fermented foods are rich in acid-neutralizing stomach bacteria, which helps to reduce symptoms of hiatal hernia.
Famous fermented foods include
It is essential to note that eating processed sugar with probiotics provide negative effects. Sugar helps the stomach microbe’s growth that can kill and use probiotics. It helps probiotic such as juices, ice creams, yogurts, gummies, and sweetened protein powders.
Foods to avoid
Onion and tomatoes should be avoided as they will increase the risk of hiatal hernia.
Avoid some specific food to reduce and prevent symptoms such as bloating, regurgitation, gas, heartburn.
It is a good idea for hiatal hernia patients to remain away from foods that are rich, acidic, and oily.
Here are some foods to avoid.
- Fatty foods
- Oily and fried foods
- Red meat
- Chocolate and cocoa
- Tomato sauce and tomatoes
- Carbonated drinks and soft drinks
- Sweetened juice
- more oily food
- Salty foods
Apart from diet, the Hiatal hernia patient can also try to make some lifestyle changes to manage their hiatal hernia problems. Here are the lifestyle tips.
- Keep yourself hydrated
- Avoid foods which trigger the symptoms
- Eat when you are hungry and have a smaller snack and meal.
- Eat slow and drink enough water
- Consume more dietary fiber
- Avoid having non-clear liquid before going to bed.
- Don’t eat before exercise.
- Avoid flexing over or laying down within 3-hours of having food.
- Wear loose and comfortable clothes.
- Manage a healthy weight.
- Use a wedge pillow to lift your head 8-10 inches while sleeping.
- Avoid smoking.
- Avoid processed foods and eat whole foods.
- Skip fried foods
- Use healthy cooking oil.
Consuming diluted apple cider vinegar before having a meal also reduce the symptoms of hiatal hernia.
Manage your stress and practice stress lowering strategies such as walking, mindfulness, yoga, and mindfulness to make you feel better.
You can also take OTC antacids but check with your doctor because more use can cause risk.
Hiatal hernia dietary changes
Doctors suggest medicine can help to relieve indigestion. Indigestion is the foremost cause of hiatal hernia. Most of the people experience hiatal hernia because of chronic indigestion.
The indigestion complication causes esophageal scarring and inner bleeding. Diet works here in a good way and reduces the symptoms of hiatal hernia. But still, certain foods cause irritation and inflammation, which creates a risk of hiatal hernia.
When you are doing the right exercise and following a healthy diet for hiatal hernia, also follow the prevention steps.
Managing portion size helps to prevent heartburn. Following good diets helps to prevent heartburn. Avoid certain foods, which causes to induce acid reflux.
Try to reduce the following food and beverage intakes.
- Spicy and fatty foods
Eating time is also another factor for acid reflux, which backflow into your food pipe. People who get heartburn should sit straight while eating and eat 3-hours before sleeping. Lifting the head end of your mattress also helps to slope down your food pipe and prevent symptoms. Make sure to keep your body level and comfortable.