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Sleep Apnea and Spinal Issues

  • Category: Spine Conditions
  • Posted On:
  • Written By: DR. HAMID ABBASI
Sleep Apnea and Spinal Issues

A good night’s sleep is absolutely essential to a patient’s well-being. When you suffer from sleep apnea, you may never feel rested, even after a presumably full night’s sleep. There are several types of sleep apnea – one of which can stem from spinal nerve issues. In this article, we are going to talk about sleep apnea and spinal issues.

Sleep Apnea & the Spine

Sleep apnea comes in several forms. The most common type is known as obstructive sleep apnea, which is a condition that interferes with a patient’s ability to breath during sleep – causing them to wake up. Obstructive sleep apnea is a mechanical condition that can be treated with a CPAP machine or sometimes surgery to correct the patient’s airway obstruction.

Central sleep apnea is a less common form. While obstructive sleep apnea causes the patient to stop breathing because of an airway obstruction, central sleep apnea causes the patient to stop breathing because of nerve issues. With CSA there is a disconnect between the patient’s brain and the breathing muscles, and the appropriate signals that tell a patient to breath unconsciously are not sent. Central sleep apnea can be caused by a nerve issue in the brain stem or spinal cord, potentially resulting from an acute injury or a spinal condition (a herniated disc for example).

The Importance of a Good Night’s Sleep

Getting good sleep is the cornerstone of a healthy lifestyle. If you are being woken up consistently during the night by back pain, or if you always wake up feeling groggy, it’s time to seek medical help. Central sleep apnea is particularly time-sensitive because it can be caused by nerve issues. If your spinal nerves have been damaged or are being pinched by a bulging disc, that needs to be addressed as soon as possible by a qualified spine doctor. Left untreated, spinal nerve issues can lead to permanent damage and even paralysis.