Sleep apnea can be caused by a number of things, but obstructive sleep apnea is caused by there being a blockage/obstruction in the back of the throat. This blockage can be soft tissue or swollen tissue, and it can also be because your jaw is in such a position that when you’re asleep, your jaw slips and narrows your airways, meaning that breathing becomes more difficult.
There are a few ways to treat problems with your jaw resulting in sleep apnea. One such treatment is a mandibular advancement device, which is an oral appliance that moves your jaw downwards and forwards, opening your airways. Another treatment option is surgery, which is usually the last resort. The surgery realigns your jaw so that it is permanently in a forward position, so your airways are free of obstruction.
There is another option for treating sleep apnea relating to problems with your jaw. It’s called a chin strap, and there are a huge number of them available online. The brilliant thing about chin straps is that they are incredibly cheap and in most cases do not require a prescription to use.
What Could A Chin Strap Do For Me?
Chin straps go underneath your chin, over your ears and around the back of your head for support. The chin support holds your jaw in such a way that your airways remain unobstructed and you can breathe easily. Sometimes, chin straps also work to hold your mouth closed, forcing you to breathe through your nose, eliminating the problem of you not being able to breathe clearly through your mouth.
A chin strap is also really rather unobtrusive and is far easier to use than a CPAP machine. However, many users also use the CPAP machine in conjunction with a chin strap to stop them from mouth breathing.
Snoring Chin Strap
Chin straps also often work to reduce snoring, even if you don’t suffer from sleep apnea. The cause of your snoring will greatly affect the outcome of your snoring treatment, so it’s best to consult with your doctor before using a snoring chin strap to make sure that the treatment will be effective for you.
Side Effects of a Chin Strap
Some sleep apnea sufferers will not respond well to a chin strap. There is no telling whether the chin strap will hold your jaw forwards or backwards until you use it – and if the chin strap holds your jaw back, it could actually worsen your sleep apnea symptoms. This is because it could cause the airways to close. One way to test the effectiveness of a chin strap before you buy one is to put a bandage under your chin, over your ears, fixed at the back of your head. Lie down flat on your back and see what position your jaw falls into. Roll over onto both sides and onto your front, and move your head up and down. If at any point during that test your jaw falls backwards and stops you from being able to breathe properly, you know a chin strap isn’t going to work for you.
The chin strap could cause pain in a few spots around the head, depending on the position that you sleep in, and you could experience slightly tender skin underneath the chin strap. Lines on the face will also be common in the morning and you could wake up feeling a little bit stuffy.
One thing to keep in mind with a snoring chin strap is that if you have a blocked nose from a cold or infection, you should abandon use of the chin strap until the infection clears. Because the strap prevents you from breathing through your mouth, you’re left with only being able to breathe through your nose, so if you’re congested you’ll find it difficult to breathe through your nose and you run the risk of suffocation.
Where to Buy a Chin Strap
First things first, talk to your doctor before you explore the treatment option of a chin strap and do not cease any therapies that you may be undertaking unless you’ve spoken to a doctor. Your sleep apnea may be too severe to be treated with a chin strap, so it’s best to check with a doctor first.
You can buy many chin straps online. One of the most reputable is the My Snoring Solution chin strap. It costs $119.95 and at the moment they are running a buy one get one free promotion. There are other straps available from other well-known CPAP brands, including Respironics, and your doctor will also be able to recommend something that is suitable for you.