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Neck Pain with Full Face Headset
#1
Neck Pain with Full Face Headset
I am new to CPAP and am about 6 weeks in to my therapy. It has been a struggle for me from the beginning but I am determined to make things better. I have a Dream Station Auto and started off with a Dreamwear Nasal Cushion, which worked great in the beginning as long as my pressure was low. I went with the nasal mask because I always considered myself a nose breather while sleeping. My machine was set to 5-20 range in the beginning but my AHI was consistently in the 8-10 range with lots of OAs and CAs. To bring my numbers down, my doctor upped my range, first to 8-9, and finally to 8-12, which is what I use now. Adjusting the numbers has helped lower my AHI to the 3-5 range. Still not great but much better than it was. The problem is with the nasal mask. Although it is very comfortable to wear, apparently my mouth falls open when I am in deep sleep and wakes my wife up. She has actually recorded me with her camera when it happens, and yes, it's very loud.

I have tried various chin straps and cervical collars with the nasal mask, but nothing seems to stop the mouth leaks. So I have gravitated toward a full face mask as the obvious next attempt at a solution. My medical supplier only carries Respironics products, and I love the Dreamwear concept, so I went with the Dreamwear Full Face mask. In the beginning, it was horrible. I couldn't control the leaks, and breathing with my mouth caused severe dry mouth. With lots of research online, I was able to make adjustments to the straps to control the leaks, to the point of 100% mask fit. And my numbers have been stable with the mask also. I have learned to mostly keep my mouth closed and breath through my nose, so th dry mouth is getting better too. The best part is the mask is absolutely silent to my wife, so she can now sleep in peace. So I was finally to the point of thinking we had a compromise we could both live with. Then the pain set in.

The lower straps on the mask, which has 4 attachment points, presses against my neck muscle (sternocleidomastoid, to be specific), especially on the right side. I sleep on my side, mostly of the left side, so the pain is on the neck side that is up, not on the pillow. The pain has worsened a little each night, to the point now where it is almost too painful to sleep. I spent a lot of time this afternoon, adjusting the straps, trying to loosen the tension on the lower straps as much as possible to take pressure off the painful area, while maintaining a seal on the mask. I will report back tomorrow on if I have a better night with it tonight. I am hoping for any thoughts or advice on where I could go from here.

It seems all full face masks I have seen have this 4 point attachment style headset to anchor the mask properly, so I'm not sure changing masks would make a huge difference; still, I know the Dreamwear Full Face is known to be finicky for many, difficult to seal, so maybe a better sealing mask would allow me to keep the straps looser without leaks. I have been tempted by the Resmed F30i, because I love the hose attachment at the top of the head.

So that's my story. I feel like I'm almost to a workable solution for both me and my wife. I just need to figure out a way to lower the neck pain. Thanks for any input or insight.
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#2
RE: Neck Pain with Full Face Headset
That's not an uncommon problem. Supplier #31 might have a product to help. They produce mask liners and pads to cushion the headgear straps.
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#3
RE: Neck Pain with Full Face Headset
I have that exact same problem. The straps on my FFM are bruuuuuuuuuutal on my neck. I can't go a whole week straight of using a FFM. And I for sure can't even wear it on a night I already have a migraine.

This is why I keep going back to nasal masks.

I'm sorry I'm of no help to you.

I primarily use a nasal mask. If I wake up due to mouth breathing, I make the swap to my FFM for the rest of the night.

There had got to be a solution. I haven't found one yet. I've tried gorilla gluing other mask headgear/frames onto the FFM, but I can't get enough tension at the right angles to keep it on/sealed.
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#4
RE: Neck Pain with Full Face Headset
I have been on CPAP for 5 months and have tried various masks. When I first started with the Dreamwear full face, everything went well for a few weeks then I started getting a very sore neck and shoulder (just one side) I also had trouble with a good seal and my AHI crept up to 10+. So then I changed to Resmed Nasal mask (sometimes pillows) and although AHI is now below 1, I am having major leaks and wake a few times with a dry mouth so guess I am still mouth breathing. The sleep therapist thought that the AHI may not be accurate because of the large leaks (23 -35 l/min). She has sent me a Phillips chin strap ( I am unable to go to the shop because of the major lockdown restrictions here) so I am hoping it will work. I do find the single strap that goes around my head tends to move and the whole thing nearly comes off when I move around and even having it fairly tight doesn’t stop it moving. It really does seem getting the right mask and fit is a major issue for many. Is there only one out there who don’t have these problems?
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#5
RE: Neck Pain with Full Face Headset
Thanks DB, I may give those strap covers a try out of desperation. The pressure that is causing the pain is back where the lower strap just comes off of the stabilizing piece in back. Perhaps adding the cover will allow me to loosen the strap pressure some while still maintaining a seal.
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#6
RE: Neck Pain with Full Face Headset
Unfortunately, loosening the straps last night did not work. I woke up in as much pain or more. It is slowly progressing night after night. The loosened strap popped off because of the magnetic attachment and I only had 78% mask seal, so a big fail for the night.

May have to go back to the nasal mask because the pain from the straps on the FFM is just too much. Don't know how to control the mouth breathing though. Very frustrated here...
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#7
RE: Neck Pain with Full Face Headset
After more morning research, I have a plan for tonight. Going to return to my Dreamwear Nasal Cushion but going to add mouth tape to see how that works. I've been hesitant to try this, one because I have a beard and mustache and wasn't sure the tape would hold, and because it just seems a little scary and weird. But at this point, it's the only thing I can come up with that I haven't tried to make the more comfortable Nasal Cushion mask work for me, so it's worth a shot. Testing with the tape this morning, it seems to hold well, even with my facial hair. I'll report back tomorrow.
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