Fibromyalgia is a painful, debilitating, frustrating condition. And, there's evidence that there's a link between it and other serious conditions, like obstructive sleep apnea.
Thankfully, your sleep apnea doctor and dentist can help you find some relief. Just imagine how wonderful it will be to experience a respite from pain and fatigue, in addition to reducing your risk of sleep apnea complications.
Read on to find out more about the link between fibromyalgia and sleep apnea, and to find out how a sleep apnea dentist can help.
The Fibromyalgia Breakdown – Symptoms to Watch For
Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition that causes widespread pain throughout the body. It also leads to intense fatigue. Researchers have found that fibromyalgia is an arthritis-like condition. Fortunately, it doesn’t damage the joints or other tissues in the body like other rheumatic diseases.
While there is currently no cure (and currently, no known cause) for fibromyalgia, patients can take heart that:
- This isn’t a progressive disease (it doesn’t get worse over time).
- There are treatment options available, which can improve quality of life.
To have access to many of these treatment options, you first need to be diagnosed with the condition. It’s not wise to try and self-diagnose simply because the symptoms of fibromyalgia can mimic more serious, even life-threatening, conditions.
If you have any of the following symptoms, talk to your doctor about getting some blood work done to rule out other diseases and to get a definitive fibromyalgia diagnosis.
- Pain throughout the body
- Jaw joint stiffness and pain
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Sleep disturbances
- Restless leg syndrome
- Waking up with stiff, sore muscles and aching joints
- Brain fog
- Temperature sensitivity
The Fibromyalgia-Sleep Apnea Link – What Your Sleep Apnea Doctor Wants You to Know
Recent research has shown that there’s a link between fibromyalgia and sleep apnea. In fact, a study published in 2017 concluded that anyone with fibromyalgia should be evaluated by a sleep apnea doctor.
Why are the two conditions linked?
For one thing, they both cause sleep disturbances. Sleep apnea patients don’t get a good night’s sleep because they’re not getting enough oxygen throughout the night. This also causes them to wake up multiple times during the night. Fibromyalgia can impact sleep because it's hard to sleep when you’re in pain.
Sleep disturbances can lead to extreme fatigue, in addition to making you more sensitive to pain.
Studies have also found that because of the lack of oxygen during the night, sleep apnea patients’ muscles don’t function optimally. They’re already fatigued by the time you wake up, and that is in addition to the fatigue you already experience due to your fibromyalgia.
In addition to this, fibromyalgia can cause disruptive breathing. Again, the body isn’t getting the oxygen it needs to function properly.
Moreover, with so many sleep disturbances during the night because of pain and breathing issues, you’re less likely to get an adequate amount of deep sleep. Sleep is a time for your body to recover and repair itself. However, with sleep and breathing disturbances, rejuvenation isn’t possible.
This is why it’s so important to see a sleep apnea dentist for treatment. When your doctor gives you an effective solution, you’ll:
- Get more restful, deep sleep.
- Reduce fatigue and pain.
- Reduce your risk for serious sleep apnea-related conditions, like heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.
- Feel more alert during the day, both physically and mentally.
- Feel more emotionally balanced, experiencing fewer mood changes.
The Natural, Holistic Approach: How a Sleep Apnea Dentist Can Treat Sleep Apnea
Though there aren’t any known cures for fibromyalgia at this time, there are some effective treatment options for sleep apnea. Your sleep apnea doctor will likely recommend things like weight loss and using a CPAP machine.
Unfortunately, people with fibromyalgia don’t always do well with CPAP masks. It can contribute to their pain and discomfort. Thankfully, a sleep apnea dentist can help with a physiologic, CPAP-free approach.
For example, Deldar Dental offers CPAP alternatives, particularly in the form of orthotic appliances – like mandibular advancement splints (MAS) – that are safe, comfortable, and effective.
With the use of MAS appliances, you can reduce the symptoms of the fibromyalgia-sleep apnea link. Not only can you protect your health from the side effects of sleep apnea, but you’ll be able to reduce some of your fibromyalgia symptoms, too.
If you have sleep apnea but hate your CPAP machine, schedule a sleep apnea consultation with sleep apnea dentist, Dr. Mike Deldar. Our CPAP-alternative can help improve your quality of life.