Face mask-wearing has become the norm these days due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The CDC has recommended wearing face masks to stop the spread of the coronavirus through particles released in the air. In many areas, wearing a face mask is mandatory in public.
While dentists and surgeons have been used to wearing surgical masks as part of their job for years, it’s an entirely new concept for most of the general public. Many people have had to get used to wearing masks, or in many cases, are still getting used to it.
As we wear face coverings to protect us from coronavirus, some people have begun experiencing headaches and jaw pain associated with TMJ. We’re going to take a look at these pains as well as what you can do to relieve them while still wearing your mask to prevent infection.
Headaches from Wearing Face Masks
Face mask-wearing has led many people to change the way they breathe. This may mean holding their mouths open and taking shallow breaths. Holding your mouth open when wearing a mash can cause muscle imbalances in the neck and jaw. These types of imbalances can cause headaches.
When you’re wearing a face mask all the time, you may not be drinking as much water as you used to. This can leave you dehydrated. Dehydration can lead to headaches and fatigue. One easy way to eliminate this problem is to set a timer for yourself to drink water. This will help to keep you hydrated while giving you a quick mask break throughout the day.
Jaw Pain From Wearing Face Masks
You may not even realize it, but you may be pressing your lips together or clenching your teeth under your mask. When the jaw and facial muscles are in this contracted position for a long time, they can get overworked, just like any other muscle in your body. When this happens, lactic acid builds up and irritates nerve fibers, causing pain.
Other factors that can contribute to TMJ pain while face mask-wearing come from tugging down on your ears or wearing a face mask with tight bands. When you do this, you draw your ears down and forward toward your jaw. This creates compression on the disc of your jaw.
If you are experiencing jaw pain from wearing a mask, you may want to consider the type of mask you’re wearing. There are cloth masks, surgical masks, and N95 masks. N95 masks can give a tight fit and when you combine that with a tugging on your chin, it can lead to more compression of the jaw and jaw pain. If you find this happening, you may want to try out different types of masks that will still give you protection from COVID-19, but with more comfort for your face.
What Can You Do to Relieve Pain from Face Mask-Wearing?
Since face mask-wearing is not something you can ignore, you have to find ways to decrease pain while remaining safe. Here are some ideas:
1. Be aware of your jaw when wearing a face mask
When you have your mask on, try not to make your jaw tense or push it forward to keep your mask on. The elastics are on your mask are supposed to keep your mask in place. If you find this is not happening, it may be time to look for a better fitting mask. When you wear your mask, your jaw should be relaxed when it’s resting, your teeth shouldn’t be touching, and your lips should be lightly together. Keeping these things in mind should reduce jaw pain when wearing a face mask.
2. Be aware of ear loops and look for alternatives.
Earloops can pull and tug on your ears, leading to headaches and jaw pain. When your mask’s ear loops are constantly tugging, the trigeminal nerve is triggered. This can lead to pain and tension in your jaw.
If you feel this pain, you may want to try ear savers. These fit around your head, eliminated ear loops and the pulling they cause. If you’re crafty, you can try to make one yourself. If not, there are plenty that are already made and available online.
3. Be aware of your breathing pattern.
Face mask-wearing might prompt us to breathe through our mouths instead of our noses. When we breathe through our mouth, our jaw is held open slightly, leading to tension around the jaw. Try to still breathe through your nose when you’re wearing a face covering. When you breathe through your nose, it allows the jaw to stay in a better resting position.
4. Keep your neck muscles loose.
When you wear a mask, it can change your normal head position. This can hurt your neck muscles and lead to jaw aches. If you can try to keep your neck muscles loose, you can eliminate the strain and keep TMJ symptoms at bay.
5. Ensure masks fit properly.
Your mask should fit snug across the nose and not slip up toward the eyes. This will prevent you from clenching or protruding your jaw. Ear savers can also help keep your mask in place and reduce tension on the jaw.
It’s important to find a face mask that fits properly and doesn’t cause unnecessary problems. In the end, proper face mask-wearing should not only protect you from the coronavirus but also be comfortable and not lead to TMJ pain.
If you’re reading this article through blurry eyes, you’re not alone. Columbus was recently ranked one of the most sleep deprived cities in the United States by a study from RetailMeNot.
The study looked at data from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in which adults reported getting less than seven hours of sleep per night. Additional metrics include statistics on poor mental health and physical health, as a lack of sleep can have a drastic impact on both.
Columbus ended up in 6th place on the list of large cities with a whopping 41.8% of adults reporting getting less than seven hours of sleep per night. The only large cities to rank higher include Detroit (#1 with 51.4% of adults reporting less than seven hours of sleep per night) followed by Cleveland, Memphis, Philadelphia and Baltimore.
“Many facets of modern life contribute to the lack of sleep,” states the RetailMeNot blog post that features the results of the study. “One example is technology, as people spend more time in front of brightly-lit devices that disrupt the body’s natural circadian rhythms. But more fundamental patterns of working and living are also at play. Factors like longer commutes and longer working hours in the U.S. workforce may be key reasons why a good night’s rest is harder to come by.”
As a whole, the CDC reports that the United States has a national rate of 36.2% of adults getting less than 7 hours of sleep per night, which means that Columbus isn’t that much higher than the national average.
With almost 15 million cases of coronavirus and over 280,000 deaths in the U.S., we have fortunately learned much about COVID-19 prevention measures and treatments since the early days of the pandemic, and a vaccine is now in sight. Most of our knowledge regarding risk factors for worse outcomes, include immunocompromised status, diabetes, older age and high blood pressure.
One risk factor remains hidden in plain sight: obstructive sleep apnea.
Sleep apnea is a seriously dangerous sleep disorder. It’s causing more than 18 million people to be at risk for further health problems as a result. But how serious is sleep apnea? Besides the mind-boggling figure mentioned earlier, what else about this chronic disorder makes is so dangerous?
Those are the questions we are going to answer in this article. We are going to talk about the seriousness of sleep apnea, and how so many go undiagnosed. On top of that, we’re also going to discuss the medical conditions that escalate because of sleep apnea.
Sleep apnea is ignored because so many aren’t aware of how serious it is. After this article you will have a command and awareness of sleep apnea, knowing exactly what you must do to get help.
What Is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is a disorder that causes you to stop breathing during your sleep. There are 3 types of sleep apnea. Obstructive Sleep Apnea, Central Sleep Apnea, and Complex Sleep Apnea Syndrome.
When you compare them to each other the symptoms they cause can overlap. However, there specific differences to be aware of. Obstructive Sleep Apnea is caused by a relaxation of throat muscles that block your upper airway as you sleep. This is the most common.
Up next is Central Sleep Apnea is the lack of communication between the brain and the central nervous system. Because of this disconnection your brain does not receive the signal it needs to stimulate breathing. This is severe.
Lastly, Complex Sleep Apnea Syndrome is a mix of both OSA and CSA. This is the most severe because there are two impairments preventing quality sleep to focus on.
What Are Some Common Symptoms of Sleep Apnea?
When sleep is impaired your health and wellness suffer. After all, how can you be happy or do anything safely when you are deprived of quality rest? Here are some symptoms you want to pay attention to.
Difficulty staying focused or paying attention throughout the day.
Difficulty keeping your attention on tasks throughout the day.
Waking up gasping for air from a nap or in the middle of the night.
Difficult time insomnia or sleeping through the night.
Early morning headaches.
Interrupting partners or spouses from their rest because of noisy snoring.
You wake and have excessive dry mouth.
You suffer from hypersomnia (severe tiredness during the day).
The Seriousness of Sleep Apnea
The list above shows 7 reasons sleep apnea can’t be taken lightly. But these symptoms lead to very troublesome medical conditions and lifetime problems if left unchecked. What is even more disturbing is that childhood sleep apnea is on the rise. By you becoming aware of the signs, symptoms, and health concerns sleep apnea causes you may help your son or daughter or someone else’s.
Sleep apnea ranges between mild, moderate, and severe. Often many start out mild, and with proper attention can keep it that way. Keep that in mind when reviewing this list. Because complete neglect is a large reason for the condition worsening.
Chronic Heart Failure
With a sudden lack of oxygen circulated throughout the body from sleep apnea, the heart must work under stress.
It’s forced to pump faster and harder because of pressure build-up.
See, if you don’t breath the circulation cycle is stopped. This causes increased pressure and tissue death from lack of oxygen. On top of that, your blood begins to thicken. Because of carbon-dioxide increase in the blood. This forces your heart to work harder. Ultimately resulting in chronic heart failure.
When your heart works harder, and your blood gets thinker blood begins to form. As these clots form, one could block blood flow to your brain. Causing a stroke.
Type 2 Diabetes
Studies have shown that untreated Obstructive Sleep Apnea increases your chance of developing or worsening type 2 diabetes. This is because of insulin resistance associated with sleep apnea.
Note: Middle-aged and older men have a high risk of developing central sleep apnea according to the Mayo Clinic.
Many of the car accidents and accidents that involve heavy machinery are because of sleep apnea. The daytime drowsiness and the lack of focus just for a split second are all it takes to change your life forever.
But what if there was a way to improve your sleep apnea concerns effortlessly, and without a big clunky CPAP machine blowing air into your stomach. You would be able to wake up refreshed, happy, and prevent all these medical concerns. Many of them haven’t been listed.
As you can see, sleep apnea is a huge problem left untreated. And recent research states that about 80% of the United States is undiagnosed. Drowsy driving is dangerous driving.
Dr. Levy of Sleep Better Columbus created a proven and innovative way to improve your sleep apnea, preventing further health deterioration.
A New Way to Improve Your Sleep Apnea Condition
Improving your health because of your awareness of how serious sleep apnea is must be crystal clear by now. So,let’s switch gears. And give you an alternative way of treating sleep apnea. Some love their CPAP mask and find great comfort in using it.
However, at the offices of Sleep Better Columbus, the Oral Appliance is making waves, and many are finding results when traditional treatment did not work. The oral appliance is much like a mouthpiece, it’s fitted to you, it’s much more comfortable to use, and you don’t need a big machine by the bedside.
It works by position your jaw forward and making your airway free of obstruction. This is an FDA approved medical device. What is fantastic is the compliant rate of use compared to the CPAP. Because of the caring and attentive staff at Sleep Better Columbus, you will receive an oral appliance that is comfortable. They also will follow up to make sure your sleeping patterns and testing improve by using it.
Oral Appliances are for patients suffering from Obstructive Sleep Apnea. Central Sleep Apnea involves the nervous system requiring other forms of care and resources used.
The main question of how serious is sleep apnea can easily be answered… very serious. Not to mention, it’s also very dangerous if left untreated. It’s important going forward you pay attention to how you feel when you wake up. If you snore that is a sign to set and an appointment with the Sleep Better Columbus for a sleep study. The friendly staff will go over all your concerns and can also offer you a way to do your study at home.
If you are suffering from any of the other symptoms,it’s recommended you also reach out. Don’t ignore feeling unrested or the comment from your spouse that your snoring is getting worse. You don’t need an accident to happen at work before you get help. If you feel overly tired during the day that is a sign. Sleep Better Columbus welcomes you to call (614) 362-7292.
Have you been having trouble sleeping? If you go to your doctor, they may recommend seeing a sleep specialist. And getting a sleep study conducted. But what happens at a sleep clinic? You can ask for some information from your Doctor. However, they may not know enough to put you at ease.
It’s perfectly normal to be nervous and a bit uneasy about sleep studies. You’re not alone, many uncertain feelings swirl around the minds of new sleep clinic patients.
In this article, we are going to ease your mind about what happens at a sleep clinic and what sleep specialists do during your study. Your new awareness will make your experience much more tolerable and keep your anxiety low.
So, let’s get started by finding out exactly why your Dr. would recommend a sleep specialist in the first place.
When Is A Sleep Specialist the Best Decision?
If you have been trouble sleeping for at least 3 weeks,it’s time to see your doctor. Deciding to see a sleep doctor will depend on what disorder you doctor thinks you have. There are up to over 80 sleep disorders documented but we will discuss the 4 most common.
If your primary doctor suspects you have, Insomnia, Sleep Apnea, Narcolepsy, and Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS). These four disorders can severely harm your overall health if left untreated. This is when you will receive a referral to see a sleep specialist.
Note: Sleepwalking is another disorder that many suffer from that sleep specialist study and treat.
Let’s briefly go over the top 4 sleep disorder.
Insomnia – This is a sleeping disorder where you do not sleep, your body and mind are tired, but you cannot fall asleep for long periods of time.
Narcolepsy – This is when you can fall asleep at any time. If you are in a relaxing position you can fall asleep, even while driving a car or operating heavy machinery. It is sudden.
Sleep Apnea – This is a disorder the causes you to stop breathing as you sleep, it can happen because of physiological characteristics like weight, neck circumference, or abnormally small airway. It can also be from a neurological disorder when your brain and nervous system don’t communicate during sleep.
Restless Leg Syndrome – This is a condition that causes an uncontrollable sensation to move your legs, this usually happens because of feeling uncomfortable in some way. Happens primarily in the evenings when resting.
What is A Sleep Specialist?
It is common that sleep specialists are in the psychology or medical field respectively. They normally hold degrees such as Ph.D., MD, or DO and also hold the esteemed credential from the American Board of Sleep Medicine.
These medical professionals focus on sleeping disorders and use special techniques to determine what is happening to you as you sleep.
In a later section, we uncover exactly what happens at a sleep clinic when a sleep study is done.
Based on your symptoms and your explanation to your Dr about not getting enough sleep to feel well-rested. And having lower energy and focus throughout your day. Your primary care physician, internist, or family doctor will send you to a sleep specialist to get further details about the sleeping disorder.
What Happens When You See a Sleep Specialist?
The sleep study is a noninvasive exam done overnight. This study allows doctors to monitor what happens to you as you sleep and monitor your brain activity. It is common to go to a sleep clinic and meet with your specialist. You can set up for an overnight stay at the sleep clinic, and in some cases, you can do a sleep study from the comfort of your own home.
When you go to see a sleep doctor, they will begin the appointment with a series of questions that funnel down to a specific purpose. They are trying to see if your symptoms qualify you for a specific type of sleeping test. This test is called a polysomnogram and it’s given to help diagnose what your brain waves are doing when you sleep.
That’s not all. You also have other electrodes placed all over your body in various areas. A total of 25 to be exact. The electrodes not only monitor your brainwaves. But, eye movement, muscle twitching, chest wall movement, and airflow as you breathe through your nose and mouth.
If you choose to sleep at the clinic you will be given a room that is comfortable, dark, and decorated like a bedroom, normally you are asked to come a few hours before your bedtime. You can bring anything you want that makes you feel comfortable as you sleep.
Just before you go to bed, the sleep study technician places the electrodes we talked about earlier. The electrodes don’t hurt in any way and you still have enough room to move comfortably in your bed.
Polysomnographic technology specialists will monitor you as you sleep throughout the night. Just in case you need to use the bathroom or something else you made need. The technologist gathers all the information and gives it to the dr.
Now that you know what happens at a sleep clinic what happens next?
Well, first the doctor will review your test, you normally will make a follow-up appointment for 2 weeks out. So,you’re the sleep doctor can review the test and come up with a diagnosis if there is one.
On your follow up visit your sleep doctor will discuss your results, the diagnosis, and their recommendations. For example, if you are diagnosed with sleep apnea you will then be fitted and ordered a mask. At Sleep Better Columbus, you will be given one on one professional and caring attention.
The services and options available for sleep apnea are endless. You can find a CPAP device that will be comfortable, and affordable. You can also select an Oral Appliance that doesn’t evolve a mask or a machine (for OSA only).
Dr. Levy has been servicing the Columbus area for years and welcomes you to call and set an appointment. If you are suffering from any of the disorders mentioned above. If you’re feeling sluggish, have a lack of energy after sleeping, or your doctor recommends you see sleep specialist call (614) 362-7292 today.