Diaphragm Spasm

Diaphragm is the biggest yet the strongest muscle in body and it separates the chest and abdomen. It is one of those muscles people don’t think about unless they have troubles with them. In most cases, diagnosing diaphragm spasm or strain is not always done but if there could be simple and fast ways of evaluating how the diaphragm functions, it could help in treatment of many disorders and diseases that present in form of diaphragm strains or avoid the unnecessary treatment that are often based on improper diagnosis.


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 Diaphragm spasm – Symptoms and Causes that Trigger them

Diaphragm strain is not always diagnosed early enough. A majority of people carry the damage and symptoms of a strained diaphragm for a long time and others even carry it for their lifetime. They never get any special attention to determine what could be causing the strains. When the diaphragm is strained, people may suffer from conditions such as hiatal hernia and hiccups.


Hiatal hernia occurs when there is diaphragm strain which causes the stomach to push through diaphragm thus creating the condition referred to as hiatal hernia. The body relies on diaphragm in normal respiratory. The diaphragm contracts to induce different functions such as reduced intrapleural pressure and expansion of rib cage.

 diaphragm picture

A diaphragm spasm takes different forms including strains, hiccups, and having the wind knocked out in a person. One condition that is mostly misdiagnosed is the hiatal hernia, and it causes people to be treated of other conditions like stomach, heart, and circulatory problems.

Diaphragm strain presenting in form of hiatal hernia causes a weak diaphragm, heart problem, and circulatory problem. It also causes gastroesophageal reflux disease or the acid reflux condition.


Medications administered to treat excess stomach acids may induce gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD. Hiatal hernia, if it is properly detected and diagnosed, it just needs simple stretching of diaphragm to return it to its normal position thereby allowing the stomach to get out of the position where it was trapped. This not only improves breathing but also the functioning of the stomach.

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The treatment of hiatal hernia can take as little as 2 minutes but in most cases, people end up being treated of other conditions like heart problems or stomach complications. Moreover, hiccups are triggered by a diaphragm spasm caused by different factors. When breathing, people will take in air in their nose and then it flows to the pharynx and passes the glottis before it reaches the larynx and other parts like the trachea. It then ends up in lungs.


Diaphragm plays an important role in flow of air from and to lungs. As one inhales air, the diaphragm moves down, and when one is exhaling, it moves up. The movement of diaphragm is controlled by nerves called phrenic nerves. An irritation on these nerves could cause diaphragm spasm, and such spasms in turn cause one to have short, quick breathes interrupted by epiglottis closure. It is from that sudden closing which induces a hiccup sound.


A stomach that is full causes the irritation, which causes diaphragm spasm and the subsequent hiccup. Swallowing too much food and air may cause distended stomach to push against the phrenic nerves, which causes the irritation. Moreover, taking hot spicy foods could also lead to irritation of the phrenic nerves.


People who smoke heavily and take a lot of alcohol may develop hiccups. Hiccups are also triggered by things like shock, excitement, stress, and other feelings. Other serious conditions may cause diaphragm spasm and trigger hiccups; therefore, if you are having a hiccup that is lasting more than 48 hours, you would want to see a doctor right away.


At other times, an abrupt force that is applied to abdomen could cause diaphragm strain. A sudden force exerts pressure on your abdomen or solar plexus of the abdomen. This may cause the strain of diaphragm or spasm. This is what is referred to as getting wind knocked out. It is mostly experienced by people who indulge in sports such as boxing when a forceful blow strikes the abdomen.


An abrupt force may occur when you fall on back, and it may result to diaphragm, which causes temporary paralysis of the diaphragm. This makes it difficult for a person to breathe. A residual pain may occur when one has had a temporary diaphragm paralysis and it continues even after the spasm has clearly leading to difficulties in standing, breathing, and sitting.


Treatment of diaphragm spasm

When you experience diaphragm spasm, and it triggers symptoms that do not seem to clear, you should see a doctor. For example, if you have prolonged pain from a diaphragm paralysis or persistent hiccups, you should see a doctor. Some spasm may lead to serious problems such as heart attacks, mental health issues, and hysteria. Treatment is based on the cause of spasm. When hiatal hernia is identified as the cause, it requires pushing the diaphragm muscle physically to release the stomach to its normal position.

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