Sleep apnea is a chronic condition that has the following characteristics: pauses in breathing, or several, pauses in breathing, or very shallow breathing while a person sleeps. If you have ever slept near someone with sleep apnea you will recall periods of silence when breathing stops followed by gasps for breath as they struggle to get air into the lungs.
This can be scary for someone who has never been around someone who suffers from sleep apnea. Sleep apnea affects 22 million Americans according to sleep experience in America.
Sleep Apnea Definition
Sleep apnea, also spelled sleep apnoea, is a sleep disorder characterized by pauses in breathing or periods of shallow breathing during sleep.
Types of Sleep Apnea
There are three types of sleep apnea, obstructive, complete and mixed. The obstructive type is the most common and is due to extra tissue in the soft palate or swollen tonsils blocking the airway. People who have suffered from some type of head trauma or obesity are much more likely to experience issues of sleep apnea. As we will discuss this may be the result of the soft palate muscle tone loss resulting from nerve irritation to the brain stem due to misaligned atlas and or axis misalignment.
Sleep Apnea Symptoms
• Restless sleep or insomnia. None restored sleep
• Reduced libido and forgetfulness.
• Headaches in the morning.
• Low energy or sleepiness during the day.
• Waking up because of choking or gasping.
• Loud times of snoring when you are asleep.
• A sore or dry throat when waking up.
What Cause Sleep Apnea
Obstructive sleep apnea has a multifactorial cause. The combination of being overweight ( increased tissue at in the soft palate), changes in the cervical curve, and decreased resting tone of the muscles that control the soft palate can increase the risk of obstructive sleep apnea.
Lack of tone in the soft palate can be caused by structural changes in the neck resulting from prior neck trauma. Injury to the upper cervical spine from whiplash-type trauma can misalign and injure the soft tissue surrounding the joints in the neck.
These spinal misalignments can irritate brain stem function causing loss of cervical lordosis and interfere with the tone of the muscles of the soft palate increasing the risk of developing sleep apnea.
Sleep Apnea and Chiropractic Treatment
In our Los Angeles upper cervical health care offices our doctors specialize in specifically correcting misalignments in the neck. By increasing aberrant joint motion, the surrounding soft tissue can heal and repair and over time allow the central nervous system to function more optimally.
We have seen patients in our office often improve with snoring and sleep apnea following specific Blair upper cervical corrections in our offices.
What exactly does an upper cervical chiropractor do? Blair upper cervical chiropractors are specially trained to locate and correct structural misalignments in the upper cervical spine, called subluxations. While the goal of Blair upper cervical care is not to treat sleep apnea, it’s improvement can be a side benefit of removing nerve interference in the upper cervical spine.
Blair Upper Cervical Chiropractors take precise imaging in the form of cone beam computed tomography (CBCT) or digital x-ray to determine the exact direction of joint misalignment. This works because the joints in the neck are mirror images of one another.
Therefore, if a whiplash or other injury damages the soft tissue and ligaments that support normal joint motion the joints can become misaligned. Imaging the joints will allow the doctor to see how you are out of alignment and the angulation of your joints.
This information is then used to make a precise spinal correction unique to the individuals misalignment and anatomy. Once corrected, the patient is then monitored overtime to ensure that the body is healing, and the correction is staying in its normal range of motion.
If on subsequent visits the vertebrae have misaligned again another correction is administered. If the objective tests indicate that there is no interference and the vertebrae are in their proper range of motion, then no correction is necessary.
If you or a loved one is looking for relief from sleep apnea or you are just looking for better health our Los Angeles offices offer a FREE consultation.