Are Oropharyngeal Exercises Effective
Because the best therapy – CPAP – is not tolerated by many patients, and surgery or dental appliances can also bring side effects, scientists are interested to review the alternative methods and study them more carefully.
You can read their opinion about unconventional therapy for sleep apnea here.
Studies That Prove the Efficiency of Mouth & Neck Exercises
A Brazilian study shows that doing certain tongue and facial exercises for 30 minutes daily may ease the severity of obstructive sleep apnea.
Those exercises for sleep apnea included:
- brushing the tongue with a toothbrush,
- putting the tip of the tongue on the soft palate and sliding the tongue backward,
- pronouncing vowels quickly or continuously,
- keeping the tongue in a certain position when eating,
- and other methods.
This short video demonstrates some of the oropharyngeal exercises practiced in the study:
This study included thirty-one adults with moderate obstructive sleep apnea.
The results of the study was interesting: after three months of oropharyngeal exercises, the patients had reduced their obstructive sleep apnea severity by thirty-nine percent.
They also reported that they were snoring less, sleeping better, and less sleepiness during daytime.
Are There Side Effects To Mouth And Throat Exercises
Some people may find myofunctional therapy to be tedious or silly, but there are virtually no physical downsides.
Health risks could arise if people use mouth exercises instead of other prescribed treatments for their snoring and obstructive sleep apnea. It is recommended to talk with a doctor before starting or stopping any type of therapy for snoring or sleep apnea.
The Evidence Targeted Exercises
Didgeridoos and didgeridoo teachers are not easy to come by, and not everybody wants to walk around yodeling. Researchers took the concepts of these practices and created a series of exercises that target the snoring muscles of the tongue, soft palate and throat.
Guimaraes et al
In 2009, a group of scientists in Brazil performed the largest snoring exercise study to date . The study design was robust, randomizing thirty-one different patients with moderate obstructive sleep apnea into two groups.
Each group was under the impression that they were receiving an amazing new anti-snoring therapy , but only 16 were given the anti-snoring exercises. The other fifteen were a control group, given sham therapy which entailed a series of breathing exercises.
Each group attended supervised sessions for thirty minutes once a week and were told to do their exercises every day at home too.
Whilst the control group did ineffectual deep breathing, the test group followed an exercise regime involving the tongue, soft palate and walls of the throat. Exercises involved sucking, swallowing, chewing, breathing and speaking.
After three months, those doing the exercises had markedly improved their sleep apnea. They:
Further studies highlighted that thirty minute sessions are long and realistically people were unlikely to do this under their own steam. Merely brushing our teeth twice a day for two minutes is something that one in four of us struggle with !
Don’t Miss: Throat Herpes Vs Strep Throat
How The Intervention Might Work
Myofunctional therapy aims to improve the functioning of upper airway dilator muscles that are essential to maintain pharyngeal patency . Muscular endurance exercises aim to improve the tone, tension and mobility of oropharyngeal muscles and soft tissues, in order to reduce airway closures during sleep . The therapy also targets parapharyngeal fat pads, such as tongue fat, which are increased in people with OSA .
A similar approach to that described above is purported to be useful for children with OSA .
Tongue Exercises For Sleep Apnea
- Tongue Slide
- Place the tip of your tongue against the back of your top front teeth. Slowly slide your tongue backward with the tip moving along the roof of your mouth. Repeat 5-10 times.
Recommended Reading: Chronic Ear Infections In Adults
Schedule An Appointment With Dr Bogrow
These simple mouth exercises to stop snoring are just one option for reducing snoring. Chances are, if you snore a lot, you may actually have sleep apnea, which can be a life-threatening condition as it contributes to other health problems such as stroke. At Michigan Sleep Apnea Center we offer a custom-fitted dental appliance for the treatment of sleep apnea. If you cant tolerate CPAP or are looking for an alternative solution to CPAP, contact us today to schedule your visit! Let us help you get a better nights sleep!
Why Do We Snore
Most people snore occasionally, but for others, it is a chronic issue. If youre someone who wasnt known to snore but started to suddenly, not to worry! Snoring can be caused by a number of factors:
- Weight gain
- Getting older
When you fall asleep, your tongue, the roof of your mouth, and throat loosen up. These muscles and tissues relax enough so that every time you breathe, they block part of your airway and create a vibration. The snoring that you hear is the result of the airway resisting your breathing, causing the vibration.
If you fall into the category of someone whose snoring is keeping you and others from getting your full eight hours, you may have to opt for a few lifestyle changes, even apart from the snoring exercises. You may have to adjust how you sleep, lose weight or cut out drinking and smoking. Consult with a physician to decide what the best course of action is for your individual health, as snoring can also be a sign of a sleep disorder.
Also Check: Ear Buds For Hearing Aids
Exercise : Hold A Button
For children and adults who are not at risk of swallowing a button, tie one to a piece of string at least 10 cm in length. Place the button between the teeth and lips. Purse your lips tightly and pull out on the string, not letting it slip out. Pull for 10 seconds, then relax. Repeat 10 times. For added difficulty, place the button flat between the lips.
Work Out Your Sleep Apnea
In addition to singing, youll want to incorporate a few exercises that target the muscles in the throat, tongue, soft palate, and jaw. This will tone excess tissue and promote an open airway. Here are a few exercises youll want to add to your workout routine:
- Puppy tongue – Open your mouth wide and stick your tongue out as far as you can, then move it downward towards your chin.
- Tongue push up and slide – Press your tongue against the roof of your mouth, then slide it towards your throat.
- Dont forget to stretch – Open your mouth as wide as you can and say ahhh. The noise should come from the back of your throat.
- Release any jaw tension – Arch your tongue and press it against the roof of your mouth and slide it towards the back of your mouth as far as it will go. Keep it in this position and slowly open your mouth.
- Sets & Reps – Youll want to perform these exercises ten times and repeat them three times per day for the best results.
Don’t Miss: Sore Throat Pain When Swallowing
Sleep Disordered Breathing And Health
There have been numerous articles written about research on the health implications of sleep apnea. Increased risk for cardiovascular disease, diabetes and stroke have been of major concern for many years now and even the most conservative medical establishments such as Harvard Medical school consider treatment of sleep apnea to be one of the most important elements needed to reduce the impact and mortality from these diseases .
As the years go by, the list of conditions linked with sleep apnea keeps growing and includes conditions such as Alzheimers, ADHD, moodiness, irritability, autonomic nervous system dysfunction, depression, insomnia, fibromyalgia, obesity and insulin resistance to name a few.
Sleep apnea was once thought to be a condition that affected obese older males. Its now known that sleep apnea occurs in children and adults of all genders, ages and body types and has multiple anatomical and non-anatomical causes. Sleep apnea, once thought to be a relatively rare condition is now known to be quite common. Its been reported that one in five adults has sleep apnea, one in 15 adults has severe sleep apnea. Much of the time sleep apnea is overlooked, even in the case of severe sleep apnea 75% of individuals are not diagnosed.
Therapeutic Exercises For The Throat
- Open your mouth as wide as you can and stick your tongue out as if youre trying to lick your chin and hold for five seconds repeat 10 times.
- Open your mouth as wide as you can while saying ahh for about 20 seconds, taking breaks as needed repeat 10 times.
- Place your tongue firmly against the roof of your mouth and slide it backward repeat 20 times.
- Inhale through your nose and blow out through pursed lips for five seconds.
- Gargle water for five minutes.
- Hold your tongue between your front teeth and swallow five times repeat five times.
- With your mouth open, move your jaw towards the right and hold for 30 seconds repeat on the left side.
Read Also: What Makes Your Throat Itch
Mouth And Throat Exercises To Stop Snoring
Human anatomy is a fascinating subject to study, even when it comes to snoring. The ongoing research done by medical professionals for snoring has uncovered effective exercises to stop snoring that you can do from home. What is a mouth exercise? Simply put, snoring exercises help mitigate the symptoms of snoring and sleep apnea. Yes, sleep apnea exercises may coincide with snoring exercisesas do breathing exercises for sleep apnea and tongue exercises for sleep apneaso your at-home therapy and exercise may benefit either symptom.
How Is Sleep Apnea Treated
Before delving into how exercise can treat sleep apnea, its important to understand that while weight loss can help OSA symptoms, it wont cure the disorder.
The most common and most effective treatment for sleep apnea or other sleep disordered breathing is CPAP therapy.
CPAP, or continuous positive airway pressure, works by providing sleep apnea patients with a constant stream of air that holds the airway open and keeps it open during sleep.
Numerous studies demonstrate that consistent use of a CPAP device can resolve cognitive issues created by sleep apnea, and even help prevent cardiovascular disease and heart attacks.
In addition to CPAP, another common recommendation for treating sleep apnea is weight loss. As mentioned earlier, weight loss can help OSA symptoms, although it wont cure the disorder. However, since symptoms can worsen if you gain weight, it makes sense that losing weight can help you reduce symptoms and sleep better.
Related: What Makes Sleep Apnea Worse? 8 Things to Watch Out For
Don’t Miss: How Much Does Advent Nose Cost
How Exercise Can Treat Sleep Apnea
Obstructive sleep apnea is more common in people who are overweight or obese. For some, it may be the leading risk factor for their sleep apnea. This is because excess weight in your neck can block your upper airway and force air through a tightly restricted space. This is what creates the loud snoring that characterizes OSA. Similarly, extra weight around the middle can decrease lung volume and reduce lung capacity.
If youre overweight or obese, which put you at risk for sleep apnea, one of the best things you can do for yourself is to lose those extra pounds. Reducing your excess body weight can relieve the extra pressure around your lungs and airways, which can open your airways more and reduce snoring. Even ten to fifteen percent weight loss when obese can reduce OSA severity by 50 percent.
One study demonstrated that weight loss in moderately obese OSA patients may alleviate the need for long-term CPAP therapy. Additionally, weight loss when combined with CPAP therapy may result in even greater weight loss.
This is where physical activity comes in. Exercise is an important activity associated with weight loss. Although weight loss can reduce severity of OSA by 50 percent, exercises contribution to that weight loss may not even be the most beneficial aspect if you have OSA.
Mouth & Throat Exercises To Stop Snoring And Improve Osa
If you snore, youre not alone. Around half of all American adults snore. Fixing it is likely achievable, as research studies have shown that mouth and throat exercises help to manage mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea.
This guide has been designed to provide comprehensive information that you find helpful relating to
- The main cause of snoring and obstructive sleep apnea
- How do mouth and throat exercises help you stop snoring?
- Research-based scientific evidence
- Mouth and Throat Exercise For Sleep Apnea
- When should you speak to a doctor about snoring?
- Frequently Asked questions
Don’t Miss: Nose Hair Trimmer For Women
Exercises For The Face
- Cheek Hook With one finger hooked into your mouth against the inside of your cheek, gently pull your cheek outward. Use your face muscles to try to pull your cheek back inward. Do 10 repetitions on each side of your mouth.
- Lip Purse Close your mouth tightly and purse your lips, then open your mouth and relax your jaw and lips. Do this 10 times.
How The Oropharyngeal Exercises Were Invented
Training the airway muscle to significantly improve OSA was previously done with the use of a singing instrument – the didgeridoo. To have a more accessible method to strengthen your airway, the oropharyngeal exercises were developed, which are derived from speech therapy.
These exercises include a variety of movements which will train your soft palate, tongue and facial muscles. They are best performed with an instructor , to receive valuable information related to your performance.
Recommended Reading: Gargling Salt Water Sore Throat
Description Of The Condition
Obstructive sleep apnoea is a syndrome characterised by episodes of apnoea or hypopnoea during sleep. Classical symptoms of the disease such as snoring, unsatisfactory rest and daytime sleepiness are experienced mainly by men women report more unspecific symptoms such as low energy or fatigue, tiredness, initial insomnia and morning headaches . OSA is associated with an increased risk of occupational injuries , metabolic diseases , cardiovascular diseases , mortality , and being involved in traffic accidents .
Obesity is probably the single most important risk factor for OSA in adults and children . It is estimated that over 70% of people with OSA are obese, and the prevalence of OSA among obese people may be as high as 45% . Obesity is a growing problem all over the world and the incidence and prevalence of OSA is predicted to increase in parallel with it . Socioeconomic status could be a risk factor for OSA and, coupled with obesity and disparities in health care, could influence the association between OSA and ethnic minorities . Other factors that seem to play a relevant role in the genesis of OSA include an anatomically narrow or highly collapsible upper airway or problems related with muscle responsiveness, loop gain and pharyngeal dilator muscle activity .
Importance Of An Individualised And Integrative Approach
Sleep apnea is a complex disorder with many contributing factors. Individuals are likely to get the best results when anatomical and non-anatomical factors are considered. The collapsibility of upper airway muscles is modifiable with simple life style and exercise interventions. Important issues such as improved nasal breathing at night and correction of dysfunctional breathing and poor airway muscle tone are often overlooked. Its important that these are addressed to improve outcomes for people who are not responsive to or do not tolerate therapies such as CPAP or MAS.
Recommended Reading: White Spots In Back Of Throat
Find Natural Relief For Sleep Apnea
At Silver Spring Sleep Solutions, Dr. Bassford provides a holistic approach to treating patients with sleep apnea. In addition to offering custom oral appliances, Dr. Bassford may recommend certain lifestyle changes and exercises to help you get the best results possible. After an initial consultation, Dr. Bassford will work with you to create a customized treatment plan to help eliminate your sleep apnea symptoms and get you on the path to a better nights rest.
Read below to learn more about our natural sleep apnea treatments, including mouth and throat exercises.
Throat Exercises Can Relieve Sleep Apnea
Send any friend a story
As a subscriber, you have 10 gift articles to give each month. Anyone can read what you share.
Give this article
For people suffering from sleep apnea, specialized breathing machines are the standard treatment.
The machines use a method called continuous positive airway pressure, or CPAP, which keeps the airway open and relieves potentially dangerous pauses in breathing during the night. But the machines are expensive, and some people complain that the mask and headgear cause uncomfortable side effects, like congestion.
One free and fairly simple alternative may be exercises that strengthen the throat. While they arent as established or as well studied as breathing machines, some research suggests they may reduce the severity of sleep apnea by building up muscles around the airway, making them less likely to collapse at night.
In a study published last year in The American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, scientists recruited a group of people with obstructive sleep apnea and split them into two groups. One was trained to do breathing exercises daily, while the other did 30 minutes of throat exercises, including swallowing and chewing motions, placing the tip of the tongue against the front of the palate and sliding it back, and pronouncing certain vowels quickly and continuously.
THE BOTTOM LINE
For people with sleep apnea, throat exercises may be a cheap and useful therapy.
ANAHAD OCONNOR firstname.lastname@example.org
Don’t Miss: Jaw Pain Right Side Near Ear Treatment