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Hourglass Syndrome – Symptoms, Causes & Natural Treatment

Hourglass syndrome is a condition characterized by a narrowing of the lower part of the esophagus. This can cause difficulty swallowing and, in some cases, chronic respiratory problems. There is no cure for hourglass syndrome, but treatment options are available to help manage its symptoms. Learn more about hourglass syndrome and how to cope with its effects.

This syndrome is not the same as the famous hourglass figure, in which a woman has proportionate and appealing curves. Women with hourglass syndrome have undernourished lower core muscles and undeveloped top abdominal muscles.

Hourglass syndrome is caused by regular stomach gripping, also known as sucking in your tummy, to appear slender. Some individuals try to improve their core muscles by gripping their abdomen, but they don’t realize that they’re creating extra lines on their stomach by not involving key core muscles.

What exactly is Hourglass Syndrome?

The hourglass syndrome is a condition in which you squeeze in your stomach regularly. Pressing in your stomach activates your top stomach muscles because the diaphragm squeezes in the reverse direction. This provokes your lungs to expand.

You lift your diaphragm and lower ribs inward when you squeeze in your abdomen. If you do this for a longer length of time, you will notice an upturned belly button, a tinier waist, and a horizontal line on your belly. It appears to be an excellent way to “keep losing fat” momentarily, but it is harmful.

What causes Hourglass Syndrome?

The causes of this syndrome can be long-term and short-term. The following are the three main factors of hourglass syndrome:

  • Poor behaviors or social phobia:

Many people desire a flat stomach. Nevertheless, holding it in for an extended period is not wise.

When this is done for an extended period, it has the potential to “rewire” the brain from its usual way of adaptation to this altered form. In these times, many teenage girls suffer from body shaming and desire a thin body and waist. Due to this obsession, many people struggle to adopt healthy habits and patterns in their lives.

  • Childhood growth that isn’t ideal:

The tummy gripping or hourglass syndrome is a standard remuneration process in response to poor muscle building in approximately 30% of babies and children, and it can continue into adulthood.

  • Patterns of defense:

Stomach gripping can cultivate as a characteristic of muscle defense following an injury and can last for a long time after the distress has subsided. Harmed tissues recover after an accident, but muscles take a lesson. They quickly develop a protective instinct, even after they have recovered.

Is Stomach Gripping a Severe Problem?

In simple words, no, it is not a severe problem. Doctors recommend many treatments and exercises to help you break these patterns and rewire your brain back to normal. In most cases, therapy has proven to be very effective in helping an individual form new behavior. Some results are unhealthy and can disturb your lifestyle. If someone is practicing it for an extended period, breaking these toxic habits can be a challenge, but with the proper assistance, the results are satisfactory.

Hourglass Syndrome Consequences

There are many consequences of hourglass syndrome. Some of them are discussed below:

  • Pain in the lower back:

The diaphragm is an important lower back stabilizer. As a result, when it fails to function correctly, the lower back becomes weak. This means that the other muscles, particularly the extensors of the lumbar region, must work harder to compensate for the diaphragm’s abnormalities. Constant muscle workload can result in stiffness and pain.

  • Hourglass syndrome causes neck ache:

If the diaphragm does not move down usually as anticipated, stabilization will be compromised, and so will breathing. This can put a lot of pressure on the neck. The diaphragm’s center should fall, extending the abdomen and widening the lungs. This regular movement sequence is disrupted in the hourglass disorder, and the breast and shoulders raise instead of trying to compensate when breathing.

This puts a lot of strain on the back and neck and is a major cause of migraine headaches and neck pain. Allow cracking your neck; a trained chiropractor can do it with ease and bring you great relief. 

  • Acid reflux:

 Aside from trying to balance and breathe, your diaphragm also acts as a sphincter. It prevents food from passing through your throat. You are more likely to experience acid reflux if your diaphragm is punctured.

Treatments for Hourglass Syndrome

The first step to recovery is to be aware of your stomach gripping habits. If your workout includes these exercises for a short amount of time, it is considered acceptable. But if you find yourself constantly doing it and want to get rid of it, then seek medical assistance. 

Physiotherapy is the standard therapy for hourglass syndrome. The primary goal of physiotherapists is to stimulate proper diaphragmatic activation and relieve stress in the overloaded muscle groups of the stomach and back.

The first step to treating hourglass syndrome is to help the individual break free from the pattern of sucking in the stomach. It can be achieved through many exercises and therapy recommended by the physiotherapist. 

Exercises to Overcome the Hourglass Syndrome

Some simple at-home exercises can help you get rid of hourglass syndrome. Here’s what to do.

  • Breathing the right way:

One of the most effective exercises is breathing. You should inhale for 5 seconds. And then, after 15 to 10 seconds, exhale. This exercise brings awareness and helps to keep yourself under check. It will help you get rid of sucking in your stomach and has many health benefits as well.

  • Hypopressive exercises:

If one is very concerned about their core muscles, then hypopressive exercises are an ideal option for you. They are low-intensity exercises that will help you get in shape without feeling the need to turn towards exercises that are not healthy in the long run. You can do these exercises 3 to 4 times a week for effective results.

  • Planks for hourglass syndrome: 

This exercise works the whole abdominal group of muscles and the relatively low abdominals and deep anterior abdomen. Allow people to complete this exercise until they are in the postural breakdown. Allow them to unwind as they lose form, then re-start when they have the endurance to do over one Core Plank.

Common errors in this workout include raising the gluteal, curving the lower back, and dropping the pelvis towards the ground.

  • Wall posture: 

Wall Posture is an essential workout that many of your patients, even those with Hourglass Syndrome, will gain from. The most important aspect of this exercise is to keep good posture and to complement pelvic motions with deep, diaphragm breathing exercises.

The patient will sneak their pelvis against the door frame, straighten their spinal column, and curve their lower back, allowing room between the lumbar region and the surface. They keep their top back against the wall and their feet straight as they conduct these movements.

Patients with poor core stimulation will frequently recompense by bending their knees to achieve pelvic motion. Request that your patients keep their feet firmly.

Final Thoughts

The hourglass syndrome can be treated with the correct number of exercises. To gain effective results, one must first engage with the individual and talk about their problems. If you feel like the problem cannot be solved. You can contact a physiotherapist and start the treatment there. This problem is constantly increasing in young girls, so it is advised to talk to them and help them overcome the issues. 

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