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Valentina Carlile Osteopata
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  • Writer's pictureValentina Carlile DO

OSTEOPATHY AND SLEEP APNEA - The cause is biomechanical - #1


OSTEOPATHY AND SLEEP APNEA - The cause is biomechanical

Patients suffering from sleep apnea, or rather from obstructive sleep apnea (OSAS) have to face the fact that, during sleep, the tongue and jaw bite backwards, narrowing the free space of the airways, and this happens more easily when there are is placed in a supine position. When this phenomenon repeats, breathing interruptions occur (called apnea), which put the heart and brain and sometimes the patient's life at risk.

In medicine, devices such as cPap, which is the standard therapy, and Mad, which intervene on breathing interruptions, are used.

cPap (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) consists in resorting to artificial ventilation of the airways, and in fact introduces forced air into the upper airways.


The Mad (Mandibular Advancement Device), on the other hand, is a mandibular advancement device. It is a system made up of two splints, one for the mandible and one for the maxillae, which allows the lower arch to be tensioned forwards, corresponding to the mandible, and the tongue. This mandibular protrusion has the purpose of stabilizing the airways, preventing narrowing and obstruction, creating a slight traction on the pharyngeal cavity, which consequently dilates. The pharyngeal muscles also stabilize and are protected by relaxation, helping to maintain airway patency. In this way, the tongue is also prevented from biting posteriorly. This device is also recommended for snoring related to posterior displacement of the tongue.

This biomechanical correction/modification is the same on which osteopathic treatments are also based for these clinical indications and both Mad and osteopathic treatment are effective in mild and moderate cases, while for severe cases the orientation is towards cPap.

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