Fibromyalgia and Obstructive Sleep Apnea

fibromyalgia and obstructive sleep apnea

If you have fibromyalgia, you not only struggle with sleep due to body pain, but also have to deal with other symptoms that makes sleeping even more difficult. Some of these symptoms include frequent urination and chronic itching, as well as obstructive sleep apnea. Fibromyalgia and obstructive sleep apnea tend to go together more frequently that imagined.

What is Obstructive Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea is a type of condition where you spontaneously stop breathing during your sleeping. After a few seconds, you start to breathe again, although not as deeply and evenly as you would. On the other hand, obstructive sleep apnea is different because in this state, the airway will actually close. This closing of the airway usually happen right after your throat or tongue relaxes.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea And Fibromyalgia

Those with fibromyalgia are more likely to develop obstructive sleep apnea. There has been no study that explains the reason behind this yet. However, many theories surfaced. In one theory, medical professionals suggested that your brain may be a factor. Fibromyalgia patients tend to have a higher brain activity when sleeping, thereby leading to sleep disorders.

Others have also pointed out that those with fibromyalgia are usually prescribed with opioids which contribute to certain sleep disorders such as sleep apnea. This is because opioids tend to suppress one’s central nervous system.

How to Prevent Obstuctive Sleep Apnea in Fibromyalgia?

The most effective form of treatment for the obstructive sleep apnea is to avoid things that trigger it. Here are some ways to prevent obstructive sleep apnea:

  • Obesity plays a major factor in developing obstructive sleep apnea. Therefore, losing a few pounds would be the best thing to do to manage the condition.
  • You should avoid smoking or drinking alcohol before sleep because either activities can worsen sleep apnea.
  • Practice good sleeping habits such as going to bed early.
  • Sleeping on your side instead of on your back. This helps keep your airway open.

Although surgical or pharmaceutical treatment options for obstructive sleep apnea are unavailable, you can still get medical treatment by the means of a CPAP machine. This equipment connects to a mask which you wear over your nose before going to bed. The machine will force a stream of air down your throat to keep your airway clear.

7 Comments

  • Until several years ago due to a knee injury alway sleep on my side and never apparently snored. I now sleep on my back and snore incessantly I’ve been told by several people. I think l could be one of those to prove this train of thought.

    • I have obstructive as well clinical sleep apnea and Fibromyalgia. I have noticed with myself as well as with my son that sleeping on your left side, especially, will reduce the amount of snoring as well as stopping your chin from dropping. When your chin drops it
      obstructs the airflow, thus the snoring.

  • I have both fibromyalgia and chronic obstructive sleep apnea, and it is no picnic, even when you use the c pap machine. It is not easy to sleep with a mask that connects to tubing that connects to the c pap. The mask and headgear shift around during the night, sometimes so much that it wakes me up. While it may improve the quality of my sleep when I actually am sleeping, I don’t know if I am getting an increase in the time that I am getting quality sleep. I have also noticed an increase in nightmares, and they seem more vivid. I would love to try a mouth guard in place of the c pap, but my insurance does not cover it.

    • Mouth guards are only recommended for minor sleep apnea. I would look into different types of masks. The only time mine moves if I pull it. It fits directly into the nose. I can’t stand any of the face masks due to clostrophobia.

  • I have a consultation for a mouth guard this week. I’m hoping our insurance pays for it and it gives me the relief I need.

  • I have fibromyalgia, chronic obstructive sleep apnea, along with a brain malfunction which doesn’t tell me to breathe after my throat closes. So my CPAP is set like a resperator to breathe for me. I use a full mask because I tend to sleep with my mouth open, when I don’t grind my teeth! I bought an ordinary bite guard from Walmart for less than $5 which forms to my teeth and bite through a process of hot and cold water. I suggest cleaning in the morning and store in a denture cup of water to keep from drying out and cracking. It doesn’t effect my sleep apnea at all, but sure helped my jaw pain.

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