Neck Exercises: Obstructive Sleep Apnea – Front Neck Muscle
Over the weekend, I was asked about throat and neck exercises for someone with obstructive sleep apnea that uses a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) machine. Obstructive sleep apnea is a medical disorder where the air is partially to completely block in the throat and therefore results in frequent waking and loud snoring.
A CPAP is a machine that monitors breathing and when senses no breath, the machine will give a breath of air to the person. There are many reasons for obstructive sleep apnea and one reason is due to a decrease in muscle tone in the neck, throat, tongue, and jaw. Studies have found that doing throat, jaw, tongue and neck exercises strengthen these areas and reduce obstructive sleep apnea.
Anyone who has obstructive sleep apnea should consult with a medical provider and continue with the regime given to them. Doing neck exercises will help to strengthen the front neck muscles. Other throat, jaw and tongue exercises are helpful as well to increase the overall muscle tone of the throat and neck. These neck exercises for the surrounding throat and neck given here are suggestions and do not replace any other medical treatment.
The focus of neck exercises will to increase the muscle tone in the front of the neck. The neck exercise will also work on the tongue muscles. Start by sitting up straight, your head in a chin tuck and looking straight ahead. Your lips and mouth should be closed. Place the tip of your tongue on the roof of your mouth by your front teeth. Slowly raise your chin towards the ceiling. You should feel the front of your neck tightening up. Hold this position for 10 seconds. Bring your chin back to be parallel with floor. Repeat 10 times.
To add the tongue muscles in this neck exercise repeat the previous positions. While tilting your chin towards the ceiling, with constant pressure of your tongue towards the roof of the mouth, slowly slide your tongue from the front of your teeth to the back of your mouth. Lift your tongue from the back of the mouth and move it to the front of the mouth. Repeat 10 times.
When performing these simple neck exercises, you should not feel dizzy, pain or discomfort. Perform these neck exercises twice daily. If you don’t feel the front neck muscles tightening up, close your mouth and jaw a little more. Avoid clenching your teeth really hard. While these neck exercises are to help increase the muscle tone surrounding the throat, they may take some time to reduce the need for a CPAP machine. Other throat, jaw and neck exercises for this condition will be presented at a later time.