Treating sleep apnea can be done with a wide range of appliances and techniques. One of them is known as positional therapy. Positional therapy helps to treat obstructive sleep apnea and uses a device that subtly encourages the wearer to shift into a sideways sleeping position. This helps prevent the throat muscles from closing and blocking off the airway. Positional therapy can be combined with other sleep apnea treatments for a significant reduction in symptoms.
How Does Positional Therapy Work?
Sleeping on your back causes the shape and size of your upper airway to become altered. Combined with the effects of gravity, this increases the likelihood of the airway being obstructed in people with sleep apnea.
Positional therapy works by changing your sleeping position to keep your airway open and alleviates sleep apnea symptoms. To accomplish this, a special device is worn around the waist before going to sleep. This device monitors vital signs and the orientation of the wearer’s body. If it detects that the person is asleep and lying on their back, it will vibrate. The vibrations encourage the sleeper to change positions until they’re lying on their side or back without waking them up.
Can Positional Therapy Be Combined With Other Treatments?
Other treatments can be used in combination with positional therapy. Combining two treatments may be necessary to alleviate your sleep apnea symptoms. Treatments that can be used with positional therapy include:
- Mandibular Advancement Devices (MADs) – MADs are similar to mouthguards, and are one of the best additions to positional therapy. They are more subtle than CPAP machines and less drastic than surgeries. MADs are made from a mold of your mouth and are designed to push the lower jaw forward. This keeps your airway open and allows for easy breathing while asleep.
- Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) Therapy – CPAP machines use motors to gently blow air into and out of the airway, keeping it open and unobstructed.
- Surgery – Surgical removal of non-essential tissues in the throat can open the airway and enable easier breathing. Surgeries of this kind can remove the tonsils, adenoids, and uvula.
What Are The Benefits of Positional Therapy?
The benefits of positional therapy are similar to the benefits of other sleep apnea treatments. Alleviating sleep apnea symptoms can:
- Lower your blood pressure
- Reduce diabetes complications
- Improve energy and stamina
- Decrease your risk for heart attacks and strokes
Positional therapy is one of the many techniques an experienced sleep physician can recommend to help with symptoms of sleep apnea. Contact Chesapeake Sleep Center today for more information about positional therapy and other sleep apnea treatments.
Chesapeake Sleep Center
7711 Quarterfield Road, Suite C-1
Glen Burnie, MD 21061