By Dr. Jennifer Flage Hobson, PT, DPT
Do you know someone who experiences poor sleep, constant snoring or even has sleep apnea? These symptoms could signal other issues developed over time by poor breathing. Read on to learn strategies that can help reverse these problems!
Snoring happens when you are unable to move air freely through your nose and throat during sleep. This makes the surrounding tissues vibrate, which produces the familiar snoring sound. People who snore often have too much throat and nasal tissue or “floppy” tissue that vibrates more easily.
Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder in which breathing repeatedly stops and starts. If you snore loudly and feel tired even after a full night’s sleep, you might have sleep apnea. A common type of sleep apnea is called obstructive sleep apnea, typically occurring when throat muscles relax.
Most people do not understand why they snore. Snoring begins to develop through a common breathing habit — mouth breathing — either during the day or at night. This results in the tongue falling back and down to the floor of the mouth and where it can no longer support the airway. Next, the beginning of the soft palate drops down into the airway. As we mouth breathe at night, the airway tube becomes floppy and the soft tissue in the back of the throat vibrates. Mouth breathing at night has been tied to snoring and even to sleep apnea.
Those of you who snore may already have or are at risk for developing sleep apnea. The “gold standard” treatment for sleep apnea is called CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure), which has a very low rate of compliance rate due to how uncomfortable it is to wear at night. Another option is to be fitted for a mandibular advancement device that moves your jaw bone forward and away from your airway, creating additional space in the back of the throat, which may help reduce snoring. Those two mainstream treatment options unfortunately do not really address the source of the problem.
Breathing through the nose and breathing “slow and low” is the healthiest way to breathe. Heavy breathing during the day is a signal for those who snore and have sleep apnea. Those who snore tend to breathe heavily with chest and neck muscles, thus causing more tension in the head, neck and chest and resulting in additional tension and pain. The heavy breathing pattern contributes to an endless cycle of snoring, poor quality sleep and pain.
PhysioPartners Renaissance CranioFacial Group has developed a breathing retraining program that helps reduce and even eliminate snoring. Dr. Hobson and her staff teach the Buteyko breathing method, which when paired with tongue and airway retraining (called myofunctional therapy) can help break bad breathing patterns. Dr. Hobson has been collaborating with ear, nose and throat doctors (ENTs), sleep doctors, airway dentists, speech pathologists, and neurologists through participation in airway and breathing-related conferences since 2013, which has been instrumental in the development of the treatment techniques our therapists use to treat inefficient breathing patterns and the associated symptoms.
WHAT SYMPTOMS DOES BREATHING RETRAINING IMPROVE?
- Symptoms associated with poor airway support:
- Poor Sleep, Snoring and Fatigue
- TMJ Pain
- Symptoms related to poor blood chemistry that results from poor breathing pattern:
- Low Energy Levels
- Cold Hands and Feet
- Symptoms associated with mouth breathing:
- Ear, Nose and Throat Issues
- Swollen Adenoids or Tonsils, Gum Disease
- Crowded Teeth, High Narrow Palate, Tongue Tie
- Attention Deficit Disorders in Children and Adults
- Symptoms of snoring affecting your digestive tract:
- Acid Reflux/GERD
- Bloating and Gas
- Symptoms of chest breathing and over breathing:
- High Blood Pressure
- Shortness of breath,
- Pregnancy-related Fatigue
- Chronic Annoying Cough
If you are concerned about your health and committed to improving it, we encourage you to understand snoring and the ways it can affect your body. We have an exciting opportunity to learn to transform sleep by improving your daytime and nighttime breathing.
Dr. Jennifer Hobson and the staff at PhysioPartners Renaissance CranioFacial Group have been treating snoring and sleep apnea since 2013. Our clinicians will train you to restore proper nose and diaphragmatic breathing, teach you how to rest your tongue in the proper position, promoting proper support to the airway, and restore proper breathing volume and rate. Our specialized physical therapists have helped many people reduce or even stop snoring and manage sleep apnea, which helps ease headaches and improve energy levels.
You may have heard of the recent best-selling book “Breath” by James Nestor, which highlights the effects of many of the interventions we provide. James describes his and his colleagues study of mouth breathing at Stanford in which they placed silicone plugs deep in the nose, requiring ONLY mouth breathing for a period of 10 days. In only 2 days, he developed sleep apnea and high blood pressure, highlighting the detrimental effects of mouth breathing on your entire health. Click here to view Dr. Hobson’s interview with James Nestor)
Prior breathing clinic participants also share their responses to the breathing training in the following videos:
If you have any questions or comments, please reach out to Dr. Jennifer Hobson at firstname.lastname@example.org or join our upcoming webinar dedicated to snoring at 12:00 pm on Thursday, March 4th. Register or email Dr. Hobson if you would like to join or receive the recording afterwards.
Jennifer Flage Hobson is a European-trained physical therapist. She earned her degree in physical therapy with an emphasis on manual therapy at the Hogeschool van Amsterdam, The Netherlands. She completed Hogeschool internships in Holland and Madrid, Spain, and then concluded with a clinical residency in Advanced Orthopedics in Chicago. Dr. Hobson earned a Manual Therapy Certification, a Cranio-Facial (Rocabado) Certification, and a Doctorate in Physical Therapy under the direction of the renowned New Zealand expert Dr. Stanley Paris at the University of St. Augustine, Florida. Fluent in the Spanish language, Dr. Hobson continues to train and teach in Santiago, Chile, with Dr. Mariano Rocabado, a leading Cranio-Facial, TMJ, Neck and Spine rehabilitation expert. Dr. Hobson is the first instructor to teach the Rocabado Method in the United States through the University of St. Augustine. She received certification in Trigger Point Dry Needling, by the renowned Dr. Jan Dommerholt, through Myopain Seminars. Dr. Hobson has been instrumental in introducing this technique to the state of Illinois and is proud to say that her office is one of the original offices performing this technique in the Chicagoland region. Her staff has advanced skills in dry needling to the head and neck region along with the entire body.
Dr. Hobson trained with Joy Moeller, BS, RDH, and Sandra Coulson, MS, ST, ED, COM, two of the leading instructors in the field of Myofunctional Therapy. Dr. Hobson enhanced her knowledge of restoring not only the head, neck and jaw, but also the tongue and its functions related to proper development of the mouth, teeth, and throat. Along with Myofunctional Therapy training, Dr. Hobson is a certified reviewer of the GOPex program (Good Oral Posture Exercises) and works with children and adults all over the world through a simple phone app video online program to improve their overall spinal posture and tongue to palate posture for rest and training the resting position for a healthy swallow.
Dr. Hobson is a certified educator of Buteyko Breathing method (the simple idea of breathing volume reduction) through the instruction of Patrick McKeown, one of the few practitioners accredited by Professor K. P. Buteyko and is currently working towards certification for the Laynee Restorative Breathing Method. Along with the Buteyko breathing method, Dr. Hobson is also in the process of earning her certification for the Laynee Restorative Breathing method which re-synchronizes and restores the cranial nerve system which governs our body and its automatic functions. |
Lastly, Dr. Hobson’s drive to continue learning more about the head and neck and how it is connected to the whole body, she has led her to train with cranial osteopaths through Michigan State University, College of Osteopathic Medicine and the Upledger Institute. This has broadened Dr. Hobson’s understanding of the body and the cranio-sacral system which is a much gentler way of treating both infants to adults.