A hernia is a very common medical problem identified when one of the body structures or organs protrudes abnormally through an opening in the muscle body tissue that is holding it in place. As per research, one in every ten persons has a hernia.
A hernia is typically caused because of weakening of muscles of the concerned area or stress that could be caused due to factors such as:
- Heavy lifting
- Acute constipation
- Fluid in the abdomen
- Sudden and unexplained weight gain
- Chronic coughing
- Pressurized sneezing
Some of the reasons which contribute towards the weakening of muscles include age, injury inflictions, consistent coughing, surgical complications, and others. Apart from muscle weakening and strain, some other factors that can lead to the formation of a hernia, include:
- Family history
- Obesity or overweight
- Chronic and prolonged cough
- Severe constipation
- Cystic fibrosis
A hernia can form in any part of the body such as the abdomen upper thigh, groin or even the belly button. Some of the common hernias include – inguinal hernia, hiatal hernia, umbilical hernia and incisional hernia. Most of these hernias have prominent symptoms which makes it easier for diagnosis. Some of these symptoms include:
- Bulge or lump
- Pain in the affected area while performing physical activity or coughing/sneezing
- Acid reflux problems
- Severe chest pain
- Problem in swallowing
- Burning sensation in the concerned area
- Weakness in the abdomen
That said, other symptoms of a hernia vary from case-to-case, where some could produce intense problems while others can normally exist without much trouble.
In most cases, hernias are not complicated and can be easily managed. They do not go away on their own and in some cases can require surgical treatment depending on the severity of the case. However, it is possible to manage and effective treat hernia without surgery by practising certain specific and easy yoga forms and exercises, such as below:
Single-Leg Exercise: In this form, the person is required to lay back straight while keeping the hands on the hernia area. Then raise one leg at a time and moving it up and down without touching the ground with the feet. This movement is aimed to increase the overall strength of the abdomen and reduce symptoms of hernia while limiting any future complications. A person with a hernia should perform 2 sets of 10 rounds each every day.
Leg Crossing Form: Leg crossing is another very effective method to treat hernia without surgery. In this form, a person needs to lie down straight on the back while keeping the hands firm on the affected hernia portion. Once in position, raise both legs together at least two feet above the ground level, while alternatively raising one leg even higher than the other. This exercise must be performed twice every day for 10 times each. This exercise helps to prevent displacement of abdominal organs, preventing hernia complications.
Tree Pose: One of the most difficult and also the most effective exercise is to stay in a tree pose. To attain this position, one must stand on their toes while keeping one inner foot firm on the ground and bending one of the knees. Once stable, the person must bend down to grab the ankle of the same leg and then lift it higher to place it against the inner thigh. When the tree pose is attained, one must maintain balance and try to remain in that form while holding hands over the head. This form stretches the hernia affected organ, strengthening the muscles and body tissues.
Other than these specific exercises, a few other forms are very effective in treating hernia by reducing weight and increasing muscle strength. Also, in some cases, a course of targeted medications can help heal hernia without surgery. Moreover, a nutrition-rich diet, balanced physical activity, etc. can go a long way in reducing complications that might arise because of hernia. A person with a hernia should eat smaller and frequent meals instead of gulping down heavy meals; it is also essential to chew properly to avoid acid reflux problems. High nutritional food such as green leafy vegetables, non-citrus fruits, whole grains, nuts, seeds, yoghurt, and lean proteins are a good way to enable treatment of hernia without surgery. These foods tend to equip the body with the required strength and also empower the muscles, enabling them to stay in place. Additionally, water and fluids such as fresh juices (aloe vera, carrot, etc.) are very helpful in avoiding hernia complications such as acid reflux.
On the other hand, to effectively manage hernia and avoid complications, there should be effective management of pressure. One must aim to take the pressure off the concerned area through methods such as colon cleansing, fasting, intravascular fat reduction and supplements. Ask the doctor about wearing a hernia truss which could prevent the tissue from protruding and also provide relief from the pressure and discomfort.
That said, while these methods can be very useful in managing simple hernias but often the complicated and large hernia would require surgical treatment. It is always advisable to consult a doctor for the right treatment for the hernia since it can vary greatly from case-to-case.