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July 24, 2010

Mattress Wedges for Reflux Treatment

I often see patients with throat symptoms of reflux including:

Cough
Throat-Clearing
Phlegmy or Mucus Sensation in the Throat
• Mild Sore Throat
Swollen sensation in the throat
etc, etc, etc

Although this can be treated with medications including proton pump inhibitors (prilosec, prevacid) as well as H2-blockers (zantac, pepcid, axid, etc), there are some lifestyle changes which also can be just as if not more effective than medications. Such lifestyle changes include:

• Nothing to eat/drink within 3 hours of lying down to sleep (the stomach would be empty minimizing chance of reflux)
• No fatty, spicy, acidic, tomato-based products in the diet
• No caffiene
• No alcohol
• Keep the head elevated more than 30 degrees when sleeping

This last bit of advice where the head should be higher than your feet is best accomplished by tilting the entire body rather than just the head by using more pillows.

Why?

You want not just the head tilted higher, but your chest too as you do not want the reflux entering the chest region either.

There are three ways of accomplishing this.

• Sleep in a chair
• Tilt the ENTIRE bed by placing 2-3 bricks under the legs of bed
• Get a mattress wedge!

What is a mattress wedge?

It is pretty much what it sounds like... It's a wedge you can place under the mattress so the mattress is tilted rather than the entire bed.

All sorts of wedge sizes and placement can be purchased. Here's a few I found on Amazon.com:

Fauquier blog
Fauquier ENT

Dr. Christopher Chang is a private practice otolaryngology, head & neck surgeon specializing in the treatment of problems related to the ear, nose, and throat. Located in Warrenton, VA about 45 minutes west of Washington DC, he also provides inhalant allergy testing/treatment, hearing tests, and dispenses hearing aids. Google+ Christopher Chang, MD Bio

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