Sleep Apnea Increases Chance of Stroke by 60%

Sleep Apnea Increases Chance of Stroke by 60%

Studies conducted by experts in cardiovascular medicine at Stanford University have shown that people with sleep apnea are five times more likely to develop atrial fibrillation and have a 60% increased risk of sleep apnea related strokes. This connection between sleep apnea and stroke risk makes untreated OSA even more serious.

What is Obstructive Sleep Apnea?

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a condition where someone stops breathing multiple times while sleeping because their airways have become blocked or obstructed, usually by the back of the tongue. This can occur as many as 80 to 120 times per hour, and often a person can stop breathing for a dangerously long period of time. Each time your breathing stops, your heart rate and blood pressure increase and dangerously low levels of oxygen are created in the body.

Health Complications of Untreated OSA

Untreated OSA creates short-term and long-term health issues that can degrade a person’s quality of life. In some cases, untreated obstructive sleep apnea may potentially incapacitate affected individuals. When OSA is left untreated, the short-term symptoms a person experiences can lead to chronic long-term issues.

People who have untreated obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) may begin to experience health issues like high blood pressure, heart problems, and diabetes at an earlier age. Additionally, if sleep apnea goes ignored, they may also experience cognitive problems like poor concentration and memory loss or early-onset dementia at younger ages than is typical.

A multitude of symptoms are associated with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). Short-term effects experienced by people with untreated OSA include excessive daytime sleepiness, interrupted sleep, reduced deep sleep, poor sleep quality, fatigue, and lack of concentration.

When left untreated, OSA begins to impact overall health in ways that become long-term issues. Untreated sleep apnea can be a precursor to several chronic and/or debilitating health conditions such as cardiovascular disease, irregular heart rhythm, heart failure, and stroke, type 2 diabetes

The Connection Between Stroke Risk and Sleep Apnea

Researchers who have conducted sleep studies have discovered a connection between sleep apnea and stroke risk. If you experience more sleep problems, your risk for sleep apnea–related strokes increases. Factors that contribute to poor-quality sleep like restless sleep, snoring, snorting, nighttime awakenings, napping for a long time during the day, and sleeping too little or even too much all contribute to poor-quality sleep and can increase your risk of suffering a stroke.

Previous research has linked unhealthy, poor-quality sleep to blood vessel impairments and high blood pressure, which are risk factors for stroke. According to PhD researcher Dr. Christine McCarthy, a stroke and geriatric medicine physician with the College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences at the University of Galway in Ireland, an individual’s risk of stroke increases with the number of sleep issues they experience. For someone who has sleep apnea, experiencing more than five sleep apnea symptoms can lead to five times the risk of stroke in comparison to people who do not have sleep problems.

How Can I Reduce My Risk of Stroke?

Reducing the negative impact of sleep apnea and other sleep disorders will also reduce your risk of stroke and cardiovascular disease. Some of the main ways you can reduce the negative impact of sleep apnea are practicing good sleep hygiene, getting regular physical activity, and eating a healthy way.

Improving poor sleep hygiene can be challenging at times, but the benefits of decreased risk of cardiovascular disease and sleep apnea–related stroke are worth it. Poor sleep hygiene can be improved by getting a consistent amount of uninterrupted sleep each night. Your goal should be about seven or eight hours of uninterrupted sleep each night, which means you may need to go to bed and wake up around the same time every day of the week. Studies have shown that getting about seven hours of uninterrupted sleep per night is associated with the least amount of cardiovascular disease.

Sleep Apnea Symptoms

Sleep apnea has several signs and symptoms, but it’s easy to mistake many of the signs and symptoms as something else since they can be confusing. For example, many people with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) snore, but not everyone who snores has OSA.

Everyone with sleep apnea doesn’t experience every symptom or the same symptoms. Usually, sleep apnea symptoms are noticed by someone who sleeps in the same house as a person who suffers from sleep apnea. Depending on the severity of their sleep-disordered breathing, most patients present with at least a few of the following symptoms:

  • depression
  • difficulty concentrating
  • excessive daytime sleepiness
  • fatigue after a full night’s sleep
  • forgetfulness
  • frequent nighttime awakenings
  • frequent nighttime urination
  • headaches
  • increased anxiety
  • memory difficulties
  • mood swings
  • morning dry mouth
  • morning headaches
  • night sweats
  • restlessness during sleep
  • sexual dysfunction
  • snoring
  • waking up gasping for air or choking
  • waking up with a sore throat

Treating OSA to Improve Health and Reduce Risk

Treating OSA will reduce risk of stroke and other health conditions. Your treatment plan may include lifestyle changes such as increased and/or frequent physical activity, weight loss when indicated, and avoiding alcohol and sedative medications before bedtime. Nonsurgical treatment options that might be a part of your treatment plan include the use of oral appliances, nasal resistors, oropharyngeal exercises, positional therapy, and continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machines.

To manage obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and its symptoms effectively and improve your health, it’s extremely important that you are compliant with your sleep apnea treatment plan. Unfortunately, many people who try CPAP therapy may find compliance with their treatment challenging when they discover they struggle with using the machine or cannot tolerate the mask or the noise.

For patients diagnosed with mild or moderate sleep apnea, FDA-registered oral appliances can be used to treat their sleep apnea. A qualified dentist trained in dental sleep medicine will choose the right oral appliance for you based on factors such as degree of snoring and mouth size. Oral appliances are an effective treatment option that can reduce your risk of sleep apnea related strokes, and many people find oral appliances to be comfortable and relatively nonintrusive.

Learn how you can sever the connection between sleep apnea and stroke risk in your life with effective treatment through Sleep Better Columbus. Call us at 614-777-7350 or contact us online.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea Accelerates Aging

Obstructive Sleep Apnea Accelerates Aging

Research has shown a connection exists between sleep apnea and aging. When obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is left untreated and deprives someone of healthy sleep long-term, they age more quickly.

What Happens to Your Body with Untreated OSA?

Untreated OSA creates short-term and long-term health issues that can degrade a person’s quality of life. In some cases, untreated obstructive sleep apnea may potentially incapacitate affected individuals.

People who have untreated obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) may begin to experience health issues like high blood pressure, heart problems, and diabetes at an earlier age. Additionally, if sleep apnea goes ignored, they may also experience cognitive problems like poor concentration and memory loss or early-onset dementia at younger ages than is typical.

Short-Term Effects of OSA

A multitude of symptoms are associated with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). Short-term effects experienced by people with untreated OSA include excessive daytime sleepiness, headaches, interrupted sleep, reduced deep sleep, poor sleep quality, fatigue, and lack of concentration.

If obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is left untreated, short-term symptoms can lead to chronic long-term issues.

Long-Term Effects of OSA

When left untreated, OSA begins to impact overall health in ways that become long-term issues. Untreated sleep apnea can be a precursor to several chronic and/or debilitating health conditions such as:

  • Adult asthma: sleep apnea can increase your risk of asthma complications and worsen your symptoms.
  • Heart problems: OSA has been linked to cardiovascular disease, irregular heart rhythm, heart failure, and stroke.
  • High blood pressure (hypertension): sleep apnea can increase your risk for high blood pressure overall and your chance of developing it at a younger age.
  • High blood sugar: sleep apnea increases the likelihood of developing Type 2 diabetes, and if you already have Type 2 diabetes, loss of sleep from sleep apnea can make it worse.
  • Liver problems: sleep apnea has been linked to higher-than-average liver enzymes and fatty liver disease.
  • Low blood oxygen levels: over time, obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) can deprive your body of essential oxygen, which can affect the health of your body tissue and organ tissue.
  • Mental health issues: untreated sleep apnea can lead to anxiety and depression or worsen these conditions if you already have them; it can also cause mental confusion, poor concentration, memory loss, dementia, and other cognitive challenges.
  • Weakened immune system: deprivation of sleep and poor sleep quality from obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) can weaken your immune system and leave you more susceptible to infections and illnesses as well as extend the amount of time it takes to heal.

A timely diagnosis of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and the appropriate treatment of sleep apnea may help manage these chronic conditions as well as other conditions that have been connected to sleep apnea like chronic insomnia, sexual dysfunction, metabolic syndrome, vision impairment, and chronic kidney disease.

How Sleep Apnea Affects Aging

When obstructive sleep apnea is left untreated, it also accelerates your biological aging process. Biological aging is the cell breakdown process that eventually leads to muscle weakness, issues with cognitive functions, and other health problems common in older age.

Sleep apnea may also accelerate the aging process. Consistent and chronic deprivation of sleep will begin to deteriorate your body the same way that aging does.

Sleep Apnea Treatment Can Slow Premature Aging

While sleep apnea can affect aging in negative ways, consistently following an appropriate treatment plan can slow premature aging or potentially reverse the trend created by untreated sleep apnea.

When patients are compliant with OSA treatments, the sleep apnea treatments will restore good nighttime oxygenation and minimize the number of their sleep disruptions, which, in turn, will promote sleep that is restful and of good quality.

OSA Treatment That Works for You

There are several treatment options for OSA, and you and your doctor will work together to find the best treatment that works for you. Treatment plans may include lifestyle changes like avoiding alcohol and sedative medications before bedtime, frequent and/or increased physical exercise, and weight loss when indicated. Other nonsurgical treatment options include oropharyngeal exercises, positional therapy, the use of oral appliances, nasal resistors, and continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machines.

Compliance with your sleep apnea treatment plan is important to effectively manage obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and its associated symptoms. However, many people who try CPAP therapy may have difficulties being compliant since they struggle with using the machine, cannot tolerate the mask or the noise, or have issues with the inconvenience of traveling with a CPAP machine.

If you have been diagnosed with mild or moderate sleep apnea, FDA-registered oral appliances are available as a treatment option. A qualified dentist trained in dental sleep medicine will choose the right oral appliance for you based on a number of factors such as mouth size and degree of snoring. These appliances are comfortable and relatively non-intrusive. Many people find they make it easier to be compliant with their sleep apnea treatment so they can begin effectively treating symptoms attributed to the link between sleep apnea and aging.

Contact Sleep Better Columbus today either online or by calling 614-777-7350 to find out if you’re a candidate for oral appliance therapy for sleep apnea and put a stop to premature aging.

Breaking the Chains of Sleep Divorce: A New Perspective on Treating Sleep Apnea

Breaking the Chains of Sleep Divorce: A New Perspective on Treating Sleep Apnea

The Rise of Sleep Divorce

Sleep divorce, an unconventional concept where couples choose to sleep separately for a better night’s rest, is gaining traction. Recent studies suggest that one in three Americans are opting for this arrangement, particularly among couples dealing with conditions like sleep apnea and snoring.

Research indicates that when one bed partner experiences a sleep disorder or sleep-disordered breathing, it can have a detrimental impact on the other person’s sleep quality and overall well-being. The close proximity and shared sleeping environment can amplify the effects, highlighting the importance of addressing and seeking treatment for sleep-related issues to promote harmonious and restful sleep for both individuals involved.

Sleep Disordered Breathing and Its Impact on Relationships

Whilst a sleep divorce can provide relief from the noise and disruptions associated with certain sleep disorders, it also comes at a cost. The absence of physical contact while sleeping can create emotional distance between partners, potentially leading to feelings of isolation or loneliness.

When romantic partners sleep next to one another, their bodies release oxytocin and other chemicals known as the “cuddling hormones.” These hormones foster a sense of closeness between couples. Nevertheless, while these hormones play a significant role, they alone cannot offset the detrimental and long-lasting impacts of a lack of quality sleep.

A sleep divorce can also have detrimental impacts on relationships over time as feelings of resentment can surface, particularly if one partner feels like they are being forced or coerced into sleeping separately.

A Better Alternative to Sleep Divorce: Treating Sleep Apnea

Instead of resorting to a sleep divorce, couples can proactively take steps to address the underlying causes of their sleep-related issues. With the advancements in treatment options for sleep apnea and other related conditions, finding effective solutions has never been easier or more accessible.

The Impact of Sleep Apnea on Sleep Quality

Sleep apnea, particularly Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA), is a common sleep disorder characterized by repeated interruptions in breathing during sleep. These disruptions can lead to poor sleep quality, daytime fatigue, and a host of other health complications.

It is important to seek medical attention if you suspect you or a loved one may be experiencing symptoms of sleep apnea. A proper diagnosis and treatment can greatly improve sleep quality and overall health. Don’t hesitate to reach out to a healthcare professional for guidance and support.

Snoring, a common symptom of OSA, can also disrupt a partner’s sleep, leading to frustration and strained relationships. In addition to snoring, people who suffer from sleep apnea often experience restless sleep, waking up gasping or choking, and twitches and jerks that not only disrupt their own sleep but their partner’s sleep as well.

The effects of sleep apnea don’t stop when the sufferer wakes up, however. Sleep apnea often results in excessive daytime sleepiness, irritability, moodiness, forgetfulness, headaches, and other physical and mental conditions that can lead to problems in the relationship or even outside the home at the workplace and in social situations.

These are other reasons why it is so important to seek sleep apnea diagnosis and treatment.

The Role of Sleep Specialists

Sleep apnea, particularly obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), can have serious effects on overall health, going beyond just disrupted sleep. Left untreated, OSA can lead to higher risks of heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. By treating sleep apnea, you’re not only improving your sleep but also taking a significant step towards better overall health.

Professional sleep specialists play a crucial role in diagnosing and treating sleep disorders like sleep apnea. A sleep apnea professional brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to the table. They can provide a comprehensive understanding of your condition, helping you navigate the complexities of sleep apnea. From explaining the underlying causes of your specific form of sleep apnea to exploring how it impacts your overall health and daily life, they equip you with the necessary information to better manage your condition.

Additionally, they guide you through the plethora of treatment options, taking into account your personal needs, lifestyle, and preferences. This helps you make an informed decision about your treatment plan, ensuring it’s not only effective for addressing your sleep apnea but also sustainable in the long run. By collaborating with a sleep apnea specialist, you become an active participant in your healthcare journey, taking strategic steps towards improved sleep quality and overall health.

Navigating the World of Sleep Apnea Treatments

Treating obstructive sleep apnea can drastically improve sleep quality and relationship dynamics. Common solutions include:

  1. Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) therapy: This involves using a machine to keep your airway open while you sleep. However, some partners find the noise from CPAP machines disruptive, contributing to the rise of sleep divorce.
  2. Weight Loss: Obesity is a major risk factor for OSA. Losing weight can reduce the severity of sleep apnea symptoms.
  3. Dietary Changes: Avoiding alcohol, sedatives, and certain foods before bedtime can help decrease episodes of sleep-disordered breathing.
  4. Oral Appliances: These devices, worn in the mouth like orthodontic retainers or sports mouthguards, can be a quieter solution for treating sleep apnea. They adjust the position of your lower jaw and tongue to help keep your airways open while you sleep.

Ending Sleep Divorce Through Sleep Apnea Treatment

While sleep divorce may offer temporary relief from the lack of sleep caused by sleep-disordered breathing, it often doesn’t address the root cause and it could create emotional distance between partners.

Treating sleep apnea can help couples end their sleep divorce and return to sharing a bed. Treatment improves both sleep quality and relationship dynamics, making it a win-win situation for couples and everyone’s overall health. Improved sleep quality can lead to increased daytime alertness, improvements in mood, memory, and concentration, as well as enhanced relationship satisfaction.

Consult with a sleep specialist at Sleep Better Columbus to determine the most effective treatment option for your unique sleep apnea situation.

To learn more about sleep apnea diagnosis and treatment, contact the professionals at Sleep Better Columbus online or at (614) 777-7350 today for a consultation and take the first steps toward better sleep.

The Types of Sleep Apnea, Common Causes, Risk Factors, and Health Effects

The Types of Sleep Apnea, Common Causes, Risk Factors, and Health Effects

Adults are very susceptible to snoring. About half of all people have snored at some time in their life. According to statistics, 25% of those who snore regularly are habitual. You might have an annoying partner or snore so much that you are unable to sleep at night. People often ignore the fact that snoring is not a good sign. Despite popular belief, snoring doesn’t mean you’re sleeping deeply. This is often an indicator of a larger problem.

Although there are many sleep disorders that can cause snoring to occur, the most common is sleep apnea. Sleep disorder is sleep apnea, which affects the throat. Sleep apnea is a condition in which the muscles at the back of your throat are unable to keep the airway open. It doesn’t result in a good night of sleep. A person may stop breathing for as long as 10 seconds, while their throat is closing. It can lead to high blood pressure, which in turn leads to poor sleep. It could be a problem if you are prone to snoring and wake up tired every morning.

It’s important to get checked if you think you may have sleep apnea. It is important to get your sleep apnea diagnosed as soon as possible so that you can begin working on eliminating it. It’s not a time for panic if you have been diagnosed. According to the National Sleep Foundation, more than 18,000,000 Americans suffer from sleep apnea. This doesn’t include all other countries. This is a very common condition. The good news is that it can be treated. You can cure it.

How can I treat sleep apnea?

There are many reasons that sleep apnea may occur in different people. Although no one can be exempt from suffering from sleep apnea (which is possible), certain people are more likely to experience it. Some risk factors that can lead to sleep apnea include, but are not limited:

  1. Upper airways for small amounts
  2. Obesity
  3. Diabetes
  4. The family history
  5. Small jaw
  6. An elongated chin
  7. Smoking
  8. Excessive alcohol use
  9. Age 40 and above
  10. Race
  11. What are the symptoms of sleep apnea?

We’ve already discussed that snoring can be a sign of sleep apnea. Did you know there were other signs to watch out for? These symptoms are:

  1. Exhaustion/Fatigue
  2. High blood pressure
  3. Concentration is difficult
  4. Irritability
  5. You can fall asleep at any time (e.g., at work)
  6. Sexual dysfunction
  7. Learning difficulties

What is the treatment for sleep apnea?

After you have been properly diagnosed, make sure to see a professional. Don’t try to diagnose yourself! It is now time to act. It is not possible to get rid of sleep apnea by itself. If you desire more energy and better sleeping, it is important to make dietary changes as well as seek medical intervention. It can seem overwhelming to be presented with all of the options. It can be overwhelming to decide what your next steps should be. Every doctor will offer their opinion. Let’s first look at all the choices that are available to us.

Lifestyle modifications

Your lifestyle is the most important change that you’ll be required to make. Many people suffer from sleep apnea because of poor diets and insufficient exercise. Losing weight is more challenging after a certain age. You have many options when you want to lose weight. You will need to get started on your mobility and diet.

Some people may experience significant changes when they go on sleep apnea treatments. Some foods should be avoided, and others must be eaten more often. It is important to eat a diet rich in whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Avoiding heavy and greasy food is also advisable. If you are looking to lose weight or feel healthier, alcohol must be eliminated completely from your diet. Saturated fats are often linked to obesity so it’s important to eliminate red meat, fast food, and other unhealthy foods. It is also a good idea to quit smoking.

Also, you’ll be required to exercise for at least 30 minutes each day. You can do anything, from walking each day to high-intensity cardio. Start small, particularly if your previous exercise habits have been very sedentary. You can’t stop yourself from starting a routine of exercise by going all-in immediately only to fail and then giving up. You can start slowly and increase your heart rate at your own speed until you feel comfortable.

You can take other steps if diet and exercise have not worked for you.

CPAP Therapy

CPAP machines have become very popular among sleep apnea sufferers. This is essentially a mask you use at night. The mask covers your mouth and nose and pushes oxygen through the tube. This ensures that you have a constant oxygen supply throughout the night. They work well for certain people. They can be a challenge for others. They can be very difficult on partners. These people can be quite noisy. These devices can also be uncomfortable and limit the position of your sleep. A CPAP can cause sensitive skin problems for people who have it. It may be too aggressive in the mouth and nose area.

Oral appliances

Because they are less invasive, oral appliances can often be preferred to CPAP. The positioning of your jaw, while you sleep, can be improved by dental devices. This allows for more airflow through your throat. This is a great option for those who can’t tolerate CPAP or don’t wish to use it. They are less intrusive and easier to use. Sleep Better Columbus (614) 777-7350 can help reduce the severity of sleep apnea, improve your quality of life and even eliminate it altogether.

There are many options available for sleep apnea treatments. There’s no need to do anything that you don’t like. It can be scary to have sleep apnea. You’ll do fine if you take proper care.

For a friendly consultation, call Sleep Better Columbus at 614-777-7350.


Preventing TMJ/TMD

Preventing TMJ/TMD

Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders can cause pain in the jaw joints and the muscles and ligaments controlling jaw movement. TMJ disorders, sometimes referred to as temporomandibular dysfunctions (TMD), can have a significant impact on your life by affecting your ability to speak easily, chew, or yawn. The TMD experts at Sleep Better Columbus are dedicated to improving and preventing TMJ/TMD symptoms.

Types of TMD (temporomandibular dysfunctions)

  • Disorders of the chewing muscles, the most common form of TMD, can cause myofascial pain. Myofascial pain is pain or discomfort in the fascia (connective tissue covering the muscles) and muscles controlling jaw, neck, and shoulder function.
  • Disorders of the jaw joints, including disc disorders and degenerative joint diseases, such as osteoarthritis.
  • Headaches resulting from TMD and/or the associated pain.

Causes of TMJ Disorders

The exact cause of a person’s TMJ disorder is hard to pinpoint, and the pain is usually from a combination of factors, which can be jaw injury, arthritis, or genetics.

TMJ causes may include:

  • Bruxism (grinding or clenching the teeth)
  • Malocclusion (improper alignment of your top and bottom teeth)
  • Arthritis in the jaw joint
  • Jaw injuries, such as a dislocated or broken jaw
  • Stress

Symptoms of TMJ Disorders

TMJ disorder symptoms vary widely. People may experience jaw pain, facial pain, and/or shoulder or neck pain. The pain a person feels from TMD can range from mild to severe with some people experiencing chronic pain. Common signs and symptoms of temporomandibular joint dysfunction include:

  • Pain in the jaw joint and/or chewing muscles (the most common symptom)
  • Difficulty chewing or pain while chewing
  • Pain in one or both temporomandibular joints
  • Aching pain in and around your ear
  • Pain or tenderness of the jaw
  • Stiffness in your jaw
  • Aching facial pain
  • Swelling of the side of the face
  • Toothaches
  • Pain that spreads to the face and/or neck
  • Shoulder or neck pain
  • Tinnitus (ringing in the ears), hearing loss, or dizziness
  • Headaches and/or migraines
  • Blurred vision
  • Limited movement or locking of the temporomandibular joint, making it difficult to open or close your mouth
  • Painful clicking, grating, or popping in your jaw joint when you open or close your mouth
  • Changes in how your upper and lower teeth align or fit together

TMJ disorders can cause a clicking sound, a grating sensation, or popping in your jaw joint when opening and closing your mouth or chewing that causes pain and/or limits jaw movement.

Sounds without pain in the temporomandibular joints are normal, happen often, and do not need treatment.

Managing and Preventing TMJ/TMD Flare-ups

Any number of things can create issues with your TMJ disorder, but you can take steps to prevent flare-ups and minimize pain and discomfort if you do have a TMD flare-up.

The first preventive measure you can take is recognizing any activities that might cause a flare-up or increase your pain or discomfort. Once you’ve identified these activities, you can work on avoiding them or taking steps to prevent them from occurring. For example, if you have sleep bruxism (grinding or clenching your teeth at night while sleeping), you can wear a mouth guard at night. If you experience pain and discomfort after eating hard, difficult-to-chew foods like taffy, gummy candies, or jerky, avoid eating these foods as much as possible.

Things That Make TMJ Disorders Worse

While you might not be able to control the factors that cause TMJ disorders, you can control things that can make your TMD, and its symptoms, worse. Being aware of these habits can help when it comes to avoiding or preventing TMJ/TMD symptoms so you can decrease pain and TMJ disorder flare-ups.

Habits that can make temporomandibular disorders worse include:

  • Chewing on pens, pencils, toothpicks, or other items (These habits are often related to anxiety.)
  • Chewing ice, lollipops, or other hard candies
  • Excessively chewing gum
  • Grinding or clenching your teeth during the daytime
  • Taking large bites of food (This overworks jaw muscles.)
  • Sleeping on your stomach
  • Using your teeth as tools (e.g., opening packages, tearing tags off clothes, holding items, opening bottle caps)

Treatment Options for Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) Disorders

For many people, the pain and discomfort from TMJ disorders is temporary and can be relieved with home remedies, self-managed care, and/or other nonsurgical treatments.

Most home remedies deal with managing pain. Typical home remedies include using ice packs and taking over-the-counter pain medications like ibuprofen, acetaminophen, or naproxen. While home remedies may help reduce the pain, they are temporary solutions and won’t always resolve the problems for long periods of time.

Sedatives, muscle relaxers, and pain relievers can be used to help treat TMJ disorders. Sedatives can help you sleep more peacefully at night. Muscle relaxers will help relax the muscles in the area. Muscle relaxers are often paired with pain relievers that help with the immediate pain.

Self-managed care options are all the activities you can do yourself. These activities can include learning everything you can about your type of temporomandibular joint disorder, identifying activities that cause TMD flare-ups, setting specific goals for managing your condition, and learning meditation and relaxation techniques to reduce and/or eliminate stress that might be contributing to TMJ pain or lead to habits that cause TMJ pain (e.g., clenching or grinding teeth, chewing on non-food items).

Other Options for Preventing TMJ/TMD Pain

Additional nonsurgical treatment options for TMJ disorders that do not involve medications include using a bite guard while you sleep or occasionally during the day, wearing a dental splint or mouth guard to realign the jaw, or physical therapy options. Physical therapy for temporomandibular dysfunctions typically includes stretches and exercises to strengthen the jaw along with using ice and moist heat.

If you have a severe case, your dentist or doctor may suggest other more aggressive treatment options. Corticosteroid injections directly into the joint can be helpful. Arthrocentesis, a medical procedure during which the jaw joint is washed out with sterile fluid to rinse away any debris, may also be helpful. If these and other nonsurgical treatments are not effective, surgery may be suggested as a last resort. Surgical options are generally only used when there is something structurally wrong with the joint of a patient with a TMJ disorder.

What to Do If You Think You Have a TMJ Disorder

If you think you have a TMJ Disorder or have been diagnosed with one, do not ignore the effects of it. Take steps to avoid things that can increase pain or worsen the condition. Consult a dentist or doctor who can help you find ways to treat the condition. Fortunately, there are multiple things a person can do to manage temporomandibular joint disorders, decrease pain, and eliminate symptoms.

Learn how the TMD experts at Sleep Better Columbus can help you manage and treat your TMJ/TMD while preventing TMJ/TMD pain and symptoms. Schedule your consultation today online or call 614-777-7350.

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