Sleep apnea is a disorder that is defined by periods of halted breathing while asleep. The word “apnea” means lack of breathing. These periods of arrested breath may last anywhere from ten seconds up to three or four hundred, depending on the condition’s severity. Sleep apnea goes undiagnosed in somewhere between two and four percent of the population. It’s a chronic condition that if untreated will worsen over time. Often, people who have sleep apnea are unaware until alerted by their spouse or partner. Chiropractic care can provide relief for some cases of sleep apnea.
Sleep Apnea Causes
There are three different types of sleep apnea: Obstructive, central and mixed. Obstructive sleep apnea is overwhelmingly the most common variety. In obstructive cases, enlarged tonsils or extraneous throat tissue can block air ways as they relax during sleep. People who have suffered head traumas or are obese are more likely to experience sleep apnea.
Sleep apnea symptoms include:
- A very dry or sore throat upon waking
- Loud Snoring while asleep
- Occasionally being woken up by a choking or gasping sensation
- Sleepiness and low energy during the day
- Morning Headaches
- Forgetfulness and reduced libido
- Insomnia and restless sleep
Sleep Apnea: The Chiropractic Approach
A chiropractor will begin by interviewing you about your symptoms and lifestyle. If they believe you suffer from sleep apnea, they will usually make use of soft tissue massage and spinal adjustment to relax muscles and promote proper breathing. They may also give you special breathing exercises to practice in order to bring more oxygen into your body and retrain your body’s respiration habits. Additionally, they may recommend changes in diet and lifestyle that will limit your risk of continued sleep disorder issues.