Acid Reflux and Your Jaw with Dr. Jason Piken | The Healthy Me Podcast Episode 019

– All right, hey everybody, I'm super excited This is going to be such a great show

I am joined with Dr Jason Piken, and we are gonna talk about acid reflux But we're not gonna talk about bad acid reflux, we're gonna talk about what might, actually, be causing it, so you can, actually get rid of it 'cause this might shock you that it might not be the reason you think it is, so stay tuned and listen So acid reflux, could the cause really be the tension in your jaw? So let me tell you a little bit about Dr Jason Piken

He is a chiropractor, certified nutrition specialist, and health coach who offers a unique holistic and whole body approach to nutrition and wellness Love that Growing up in Queens New York all of his life, Jason knew that the best of everything was found in New York City, isn't that true? And that's why he chose to start his practice in the heart of New York City just below Central Park Since starting his practice in 1996, he has taught people how to heal from various problems ranging from chronic pain to digestive disorders With a focus on nutrition based total body approach to health, Jason helps his patients tackle issues using the health relationship between the gut and the brain known as the brain-gut axis

He also uses a combination of functional lab testing and applied kinesiology in order to address the three basic causes of all health problems In balances in chemical, emotional, and physical systems in the body You can learn more about Jason's approach to health and wellness in his book Better! 11 Simple Habits to Improve Your Life Welcome Jason – Thanks for having me Trina

That was such a great intro (laughs) – Great, I've been practicing all day I thought I was gonna get stuck on the word kinesiology, but I practiced – You didn't Everything was smooth

– But that's because when I wrote it out, I gotta show everybody, I wrote it out, like so how you pronounce it (laughs) – Phonetically, okay, good – (laughs) All right, so let's get started I really want to know, like, talk to me about the connections between acid reflux and TMJ because I've never heard this connection before – Okay well, here's the story

First, how I came up with it was really, it's because I had acid reflux in my first year in practice I was, you know, a practicing chiropractor, thought I was the epitome of health, and I'd come home at the end of the day, like, gripping my chest, and, like, burping inappropriately at the end of the day with patients, and I just needed to delve into why I was having the problem in the first place, and there really wasn't any good answers And over many years of learning so many different things, I pieced together all three parts of acid reflux, and the most fascinating one was the jaw And this was taught by, actually, Dr George Goodheart

He is the founder of applied kinesiology, passed away, brilliant guy that towards the end nobody was listening to because he was too old, but luckily, I'll be his voice What he said was is that we're stressed, of course, as individuals especially more in modern life, and what most people tend to do in compensation for stress is just grit their teeth, clench Some of us don't do it during the day, we only do it when we're sleeping at night, but so many people do it, and if we don't have the most perfect symmetrical jaw and bite, which very few people do, that small amount of tension, or large amount of tension, if you're a real grinder, over time, creates problems in your jaw Now, in order for you to survive, you need a really well functioning jaw 'cause if your jaw doesn't work, you don't eat, you die – Right, it's as simple as that

– Simple, so the body is so smart that it doesn't let you know about your jaw problem It'll tweak the muscles around the neck area to try to keep the jaw in line, so you keep eating, and talking, and living life, and you'll wind up with tension in your neck Usually the jaw compensates by causing a problem in the middle of your neck, C3, 4, and 5, the middle three bones, and those nerves that come out of those bones innervate your diaphragm – (gasps) That's the connection – That's it, and that is what causes disturbances in the stomach, it can cause breathing issues, but let's just talk about the, you know, hiatal hernia, or stomach issues, that's the connection

– So leave it to a chiropractor to solve your gut issues, right? But it's so true, like, I go to my chiropractor, and they're always talking about that nerve innervation for the different organs, and we as a people forget that, and that's a huge connection So, 'cause you don't look like you would suffer from gastric reflux So what is the next step, and so what causes tension in the jaw in the first place? – So, that's the emotional part of stress, and so what you do about that is there's tons of stress relieving techniques I mean, in my book, I discuss it I do a program called, set the tone for the day

My whole morning routine is set up to erase the first, probably, 25 years of back programing that I had in my head that told me all the wrong things about life, that got my negative thoughts rolling around And if I do this program of whether it's prayer, or gratefulness, journaling, meditation, listening to positive things, like, your podcast, anything to get my brain in a good space, well then I start to feel better, and there's less tension in the jaw That's the emotional aspect And then, you can do physical things and chemistry things for reflux too I don't know how much you want to get into that, or you want to stick with all this? – Well, I'm fascinated with the jaw, like, I'm fascinated with this because with my background, I'm a nurse in ostitis, so with my background in nursing, we've always just discussed how to fix it from down here, you know? Foods or just, obviously, you know, they're always prescribing medications to prevent the acid, but really that's the symptom of the problem, and if you never fix the problem, it's never gonna go away

So I'm fascinated with what you want to talk about with C2, was it 2, 3, and 4? – 3, 4, 5 – 3, 4, 5 C3, 4, 5, so let's talk a little bit about that, and what you can do, you know, how that relates to your gut, and why it's causing those problems – Okay, so besides going to a chiropractor that's familiar with it, that knows how to adjust the neck to free up the subluxations, those are misalignment irritating the nervous system in C3, 4, 5, there are a lot of things that you can do on your own Of course, it's best to go to an expert

I'm gonna tell people to come to me, or go to a local chiropractor, but if you want to start working on yourself, you just have to look for the physical tension to see if you can get some relief, and there are three main areas One, let's just talk about the jaw and how to release tension there Most people that even know they grind, and feel tension in their jaw, don't bother to work on it I mean, all you have to do is rub it I can show you where

– Yeah, show us, yeah show us – Yeah, you drop down from your eyeball, and you have your check bone, and it feels, kind of, hard, okay? And you drop down from that hard bone, and there's, like, a little softness that happens That's the beginning of your masseter muscle, your clenching muscle And if you can just feel underneath that ridge, there's, usually, one or two, you know, if you're going back and forth, tight points If you don't find those tight points, which you can rub if you feel that they're tight, well then drop down to the bottom of your jaw with a few fingers or one finger, or what I like to do because my fingers get sore is a knuckle

– Oh yeah, yeah – Yeah, and I just get in there with a knuckle, and I just rub in there There's internal stuff too So you gotta make sure you have clean fingers, and, literally, you just– – Oh, go in, yeah – Yeah, you just go in there

And what most people don't do is, I just taught you about the masseter, the muscle over here, there's just outside the back molars of your teeth, way back, you can, actually, feel tension in the jaw joint right there And you wanna, you don't want to kill yourself, you don't want to cause torture 'cause it's usually sore on most people, but if there is a especially a difference from side to side, one is a lot more sore than the other, try just putting a little pressure right inside your mouth up there, and see if it feels good, like that good pain, you know, that massage good pain If you have that, well then, stick it up there for 20 seconds, okay? – I've, actually, had a massage therapist that would do that They would put their finger in my mouth and, actually, do that pressure point right there – I do that all day long with people, we work on that

I use a vibration tool, it's called a percussive massager, on my hand, so my finger vibrates into their jaw, and we work on there, and then we use a cold laser, which is a fantastic tool to break up scar tissue and fashion trigger points – Fascinating, that's interesting, yeah So, when you're treating, 'cause a lot of people are like, well, you know, what I take, you know, proton-pump inhibitors, Prilosec, Nexium, so why, tell people why they would want to do this You know, don't stop taking those, obviously, unless your symptoms go away, but let's talk a little bit about this versus medication – Okay, first, the why

The medication, the vast majority of the time, does not address the why, especially in this situation I'd say at least 80% of the time, maybe 90% of the time, the cause of why they're having acid reflux is a lack of acid in their stomach So that is Counterintuitive to most people, why would I have a lack of acid in my stomach? If people have done a lot of searching about it, they've probably heard that before But the basic premise is we need acid in our stomach Our stomach is the most acidic portion of our entire body, and it's protected, the acid is supposed to be there

As long as that acid doesn't escape, we're okay So if we take a proton-pump inhibitor, what we're doing is we're preventing that acid from forming, and we decrease our ability to digest proteins, and certain minerals One of those minerals zinc, actually, helps us to produce more acid So we're basically having a self perpetuating problem we can't ever fix because we're not allowed to absorb the nutrients that heal our gut, and we're taking something that disturbs our digestion – Right

– You feel better sometimes, at least, like, 60 to 70% at a time, I think, is the stat that people feel better from these proton-pump inhibitors, but if you don't, it's either because you have nonacid reflux, a mechanical problem, or you just haven't gotten to your why, and the body is just saying no, I'm gonna keep giving you the symptom until you fix me – Right – [Jason] Yeah – And yeah, I'm all, and I know you're all about getting to the actual source of the problem And what I bet most people don't realize 'cause I had never heard that before is that the cause could, actually, have nothing to do, or little to do with your gut, it could, actually, start from the back of your neck

– Yes – And your nerves So talk for a second about what that connection is I know you said that the nerves that innervate come out, but exactly how does that work? And in what you do, or what, what's the next step for everybody listening 'cause if they're out there going that's me, that's me, I have neck issues, I have this, do people typically have neck pain, neck symptoms that might be something that they can look into, you know, causing their acid reflux? Do you know what I'm saying? Or does sometimes the neck never hurt, but it could still be the problem? – Okay, premise to answering that, only 9% of the nervous system can feel Well let's put it, that only 9% of the nervous system is set out for sensing pain

Because if you knew everything that was wrong with you this second, you'd just, yeah, you'd explode Okay, we wouldn't be able to survive So, we sometimes don't feel the problems Sometimes our problems come out in one way and not in another And this is what I try to make a point with whenever I'm dealing with people is even though most people are coming in for one single thing, that's their driving force of why they made an appointment to see me, I have to uncover all the other little things that are probably contributing to it

And again, with physical, to go over this again is, let's say you still have that tension in your jaw and your neck is compensating to try to realign your jaw, besides the subluxation, besides the misalignment that needs to be adjusted, you can also work on the tension in your jaw Most people, if they do feel pain in their neck as a result of this pattern, they'll feel it in the back of their neck, but that's, actually, not where they need to rub The most important place that they can work on is the front of their neck – Ahhhhh – Yeah

– Like the sternocleidomastoid, is that what you're talking about, or? – SCM's, scalene's, there's a ton of little muscles that attach from your tongue to your neck, you're tongue to your jaw, and all these little muscles can be worked around And so, what I do is just, kind of, use a pincher grip, and just get in here and work it And, again, if you feel spot that's tight, rub it, not so you get injured, but that you feel that good pain, and rub it out And you can go that muscle in your neck goes all along your collar bone all the way up to your mastoid right here behind your ear, and you can feel for trigger points there And most often, if somebody releases tension here, the tension in back of their neck goes away

– [Trina] Goes away – And if you have the whole pattern where it's jaw and the neck, when I told you how to work on your neck, you'll also start to get tension in your diaphragm, which is down here These are the other little places to work Again, crooked fingers like this, just get in there and feel for what's tight You can't believe how many people tell me they feel so much better after I rub one little tender point in their diaphragm for 30 seconds

And they can do this on their own, I teach them to – Yeah, I've done that before I've gotten my finger up under my rib cage and poked around up there, and it can get pretty tight It's pretty crazy, the body is amazing And like you said, the body's always gonna compensate to go back to normal, like your neck is always trying to find that normal position, so it's gonna do whatever it has to, and if you're jaw is not in alignment, or it's tense, or whatever, your neck is always going to try to maintain that normal position, so that's the problem

What about people at nighttime that clench their jaws? – It's really difficult, it's a challenging thing to fix The best thing is, again, when you take away some of that physical tension, it helps Some other things like meditation and journaling to get the thoughts out of your head and be in a calm place mentally, and herbs that help to get rid of the racing from your head that stimulate GABA are also really important Herbs like lavender, chamomile, lemon bomb, magnesium, but not an herb but a mineral, helps to relax muscles, and these are also little tricks that I use depending on the person because more magnesium means more relaxation of muscles, less jaw clenching Some people have been doing it for so long that it's a hard habit to break especially 'cause it's unconscious

– Yeah – But I find over time, if we keep working with it, them doing their homework that I give them to work on themselves and us working on relieving some of that deep down pressure, then it can stop – So what about my listeners that aren't in New York that can't come and visit you? Do you have a program or something that they can go to to find you to be able to get more information about this? – Yes, I was asked about this for many years because everybody said, I have a cousin, I have a friend, they can't get to you, what do we do? And I created a set of videos, a set of videos, an E-book, just like everything I could think of that has to do with acid reflux and understanding the why and learning how to fix yourself, and it's really the acid reflux solution There's links to it on my site I'm gonna give you a link to it

And I'd love for people to take advantage, and learn how to treat themselves because they can – Absolutely, yeah, so we'll post the link to his site, so anybody that's listening or watching can go check it out, and especially if you suffer from gastric reflux, or know someone that does 'cause I think almost everybody knows at least one person that has problems with gastric reflux It's a huge problem, and it can cause bigger problems down the road, and really medication isn't the solution, if the problem isn't being fixed The medication just is a bandaid that, actually, could cause more problems right? – Yeah, could we mention some of that? – Oh sure, I'm open – The biggest, I mean, I take care of people, again, they're usually coming in for neck pain, shoulder pain, knee pain, and then getting to the fact that they have reflux, and they were never even thinking of treating it

– Well, that's what I mean – They don't think much of it – That's why I love talking to you because people don't think about gastric reflux as a real, I mean, it's a problem, and it inhibits your daily life, but when you go to the doctor that's not really the first things you think of unless you're going in for that reason – Right, and people need to pay more attention to it If they're already on the medications, they have to understand that those medications, as a side effect, are gonna be causing nutrient deficiencies over a long-term, inability, we mentioned, to break down minerals and proteins, but what they also lead to is a lot of other GI symptoms

Because when you take away that acid from your stomach, you're actually more prone to infections One of the number one ways we get gastral intestinal infections, why bugs get into our body and infect us, is we're protected by this acid 'cause we eat these bugs on our foods, somebody didn't wash their hands, and, you know, we get it into our bodies, and if we have a lot of acid in our stomach, it can kill those bugs, so we don't get infected If we're taking those medications, we reduce our ability to have a properly functioning immune system, and that can lead to other problems Again, GI issues, SIBO, which is something I take care of a lot, bacteria overgrowth in the small intestine, tons of other issues And, if let's say you ignore it and don't take the medications, acid reflux left untreated, I mean, the worst case scenario, esophagal cancer, stomach cancer, I mean these are horrific cancers, and I'm not saying that's a high percentage of people that are gonna develop it, but it's a lot more likely if you let this go untreated

– Yeah, and if the solution is simply jaw tension, I don't want to say simply, but really it's simple If you can– – Sometimes it is – Yeah, I mean, sometimes you just have to dumb it down to what it is, and if that's really the cause because it's causing the nerves that are coming out of your spinal cord to be pinched or, you know, the innervation can't get to your gut, and that's the reason you're having symptoms, it could be a simple, like, you could never need to take medication again if you get the problem fixed – Yes, I've gotten people off of their medications They've been on 'em for 20 years, and they can release it, they don't need it anymore

They don't even need the supplements I give them that they needed first, but eventually they're, actually, fixed, and that's really the goal is to not be dependent on anybody else or anything else, except your own innate ability to heal – Awesome, I appreciate everything you are doing because, like I said, most people probably have never, ever, ever thought about this causing their gastric reflux, and people walk around with gastric reflux all the time, so I really appreciate that you, you know, this is one way to treat yourself You know, if it doesn't work, what did you lose, you know? But if it gets you off your medication, you don't suffer from gastric reflux, think about how that can change your life – Right – So, – Yeah

– thanks Jason, I totally appreciate it We're gonna post the links so that people can go check that out, and self treat through you, and hopefully get people better without having to take medication And you guys check out his book Better! 11 Simple Habits to Improve Your Life because if it only takes 11, and you can improve one aspect of your life, I'm all in (laughs) So thanks Jason, anything else that you want to say? – No, you've covered a lot There's a tons of info around it, but you can get into nitty gritty, we can talk for hours

– Hours – This is the most important part that I want people to understand – Awesome, I appreciate that, thanks Jason – Okay, thanks Trina – You're welcome, all right bye guys

We'll catch you next time on The Healthy Me (calming tune) Thanks for watching Make sure you subscribe to keep learning how to create your healthy self See ya next time


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