Hernia is quite a common problem suffered by people today. In fact, as per research, one in every ten people have hernia. Hernia is caused when one of the structures/organs in the body abnormally protrudes through an opening in the muscle body tissue that holds it in place. Hernias are caused by a combination of weak muscles and stress which could be because of a lot of activities such as pregnancy, constipation, heavy weight lifting, fluid in the abdomen, sudden weight gain, surgery, consistent coughing, and sneezing. Some of the reasons that lead to weak muscles are – age, chronic coughing, damage from injury, complications from surgery, etc.
Apart from weak muscles and consistent strain, a couple of factors can also increase your risk of developing a hernia, these factors include:
- Family history
- Obesity or overweight
- Chronic and prolonged cough
- Severe constipation
- Cystic fibrosis
A hernia could develop in any part of the body including the abdomen, upper thigh, groin, and belly button. Some of the common hernias include – inguinal hernia, hiatal hernia, umbilical hernia, and incisional hernia. All of these hernias can be detected via their symptoms; few common symptoms that can help detect a hernia include a bulge or lump in an area; pain in the affected area while bending, coughing or lifting; abdomen weakness; aching or burning sensation on the bulging portion; acid reflux; acute chest pain; and difficulty in swallowing. Symptoms of a hernia depend on case-to-case and while some hernias might show severe symptoms, some might exist without producing any symptoms.
That said, most hernias are not complicated and often are not life-threatening. However, complications arising out of hernia depend on the severity of the condition. Hernias do not go away on their own and hence, can require surgery which would involve a six-week recovery and prolonged precautions. Alternatively, it is possible to heal hernia without surgery provided you follow some easy yoga forms and exercises (listed below) in your routine to minimize complications.
Exercises to heal hernia without surgery
Single-Leg Raise: This movement increases the abdominal strength and prevents any complications arising from hernia. In this form, you need to lie back straight while keeping your hands on the area of hernia. Raise one leg at a time and move it up and down without touching the ground. Do 2 sets of this exercise, each with 10 rounds of each leg; repeat this form every day to strengthen the affected hernia organ.
Leg Crossing: Another effective way to heal hernia without surgery is to practice the leg-crossing form of exercise. This exercise needs you to lie down straight on your back with hands on the hernia region, and then raise both legs two feet above the ground and alternately raise one leg further up, while putting the other one down. Repeat this form every day for 10 times in one set, relax and then go for another set. This exercise helps to prevent the displacement of abdominal organs, preventing hernia complications.
Tree Pose: Though difficult, the tree pose is one of the most effective exercises for healing hernia. In this pose, you need to stand on your toes and keep your inner foot firm on the floor while bending one of your knees. Once firm, bend down to hold your same leg ankle and then raise your leg to put it against the inner thigh. Stay in that position and try to maintain balance while raising your hands to fold over your head. This form stretches the hernia affected organ, strengthening the muscles and body tissues.
Apart from these exercises, a few other things such as maintaining a healthy weight, increasing muscle strength by targeted physical activity and medications can help heal hernia without surgery. Additionally, a diet rich in fibre can help heal hernia or at least reduce the complications to a large extent. A person with hernia should focus on eating quality food and in smaller quantities. High nutritional food such as green leafy vegetables, non-citrus fruits, whole grains, nuts, seeds, yogurt, and lean proteins are a good way to enable the treatment of hernia without surgery. These foods provide strength to the body muscles, enabling them to stay in their place. Additionally, water and fluids such as fresh juices (aloe vera, carrot and others) are very helpful in avoiding hernia complications such as acid reflux.
Moreover, amongst other ways to treat hernia, it is important to take off the pressure off the hernia affected area by using methods such as colon cleansing, fasting, intravascular fat reduction, and supplements. A person with hernia should wear a hernia truss that keeps the protruding tissue in its place and provides relief from discomfort.
While these methods may be useful for some cases, not all hernias can be treated with these and hence, it is important to consult your doctor regarding the best treatment for your hernia.