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Soft cervical collar: a tip for mouth breathing and chin tucking
#51
(03-28-2017, 01:28 PM)paperboy Wrote:
(03-27-2017, 01:13 PM)paperboy Wrote: 3/27/17 I tried a soft cervical collar last night.  I actually bought two different ones.  They are made of the same material but one is thicker and stiffer than the other.  I used the less stiff one.

I use the Oracle mask and I have had two problems.  1. When I sleep on my back my jaw drops and my tongue partially obstructs my oral airway making the mask less effective. So I usually sleep on my side. 2. My neck abducts causing my chin to tuck towards my chest.  This also tends of kink my airway.

The cervical collar seems to do two things. 1. It keeps my lower jaw gently closed unlike a chin strap that, under tension, causes my teeth to clench during the night and biting down on my Oracle mask.  This has even damaged the mask, my teeth cracking the mouth piece. 2. The collar keeps my chin from dunking against my chest.  This keeps my airway open.  Try this little exercise to see what I mean.  Take some rapid quick breaths through your nose with your mouth shut while looking straight ahead.  Continue with the breaths but tuck your chin gently down on your chest.  Return to forward, then again to the chin tuck. Depending on your anatomy you may notice that it is slightly harder to inhale with your chin tucked. The collar will prevent the chin tuck and make breathing while asleep easier. I am going to try napping using just the collar.  I think it will keep my airway open enough to prevent gagging.

Two bad points. 1. Wearing the collar is not uncomfortable, but it does feel different.  So I think it will take some time to get used to it.  2. It could make my neck hot.  But only time will tell.  I’ll let you know how things go.  But for $10 for the collar, what do I have to loose.

3/28/17 Night two of the cervical collar.  I was surprised that I seemed to adapt to it easily on just the second night.  It was not hot, probably because I wear it fairly loosely.  I was able to sleep more on my back, probably because my jaw did not drop and my airway was wide open.  I am usually quite restless when I sleep, rolling from side to side frequently during the night, probably because of apnea episodes I am not aware of when I am sleeping.  But last night I slept very soundly with very little body rolling.
 
So far, I am pleased with the results.  Whether it will work for you, I have no idea.  But it is a cheap device that might help you, especially if you are a jaw dropper and your tongue collapses into the back of your mouth.

I'll update you next week.
4/4/17 - I have slept with my cervical collar for 9 nights and I wanted to report the results to you.  In my sleep diary I usually rate my night’s sleep as either “slept soundly” or “slept restlessly”.  The past ratio of sound nights to restless nights has been 2:8.
 
Using the neck collar I slept soundly for 6 nights and restless for 3 nights; 6:3. This is much better than my previous history.  These are the reasons I think the cervical collar is working for me.
 
It keeps my jaw shut and prevents my tongue from falling back into my throat when I am on my back.  I have tried a jaw strap in the past, but it was uncomfortable and tended to force my upper and lower teeth together, which I also did not like. The cervical collar, on the other hand, just provides a soft cushion against which my lower jaw rests without any pressure being exerted.
 
The collar also keeps my neck extended.  Without the collar my chin and neck tend to abduct towards my chest when I am on my side or back. This narrows the airway in the back of my throat.  The collar keeps my neck straight and tends to gently open the airway. This makes my natural breathing easier and makes my CPAP more effective.
 
I have gotten used to the collar more quickly than I thought.  After the first two nights I barely noticed that I had it on.  I often wake up now not even realizing that I have it on.  It is a light, soft collar and I haven’t noticed that it makes my neck hot.
 
One unusual aspect is this. After I was diagnosed with sleep apnea and started using CPAP, I started having frequent nightmares.  I rarely dreamed prior to this.  I usually have a nightmare every second or third night.  My theory is that the mini episodes of hypoxia or hypercapnea (high CO2) during the night cause my brain to hallucinate.  These hallucinations manifest as dreams or more commonly as nightmares.
 
So for the time being I will continue to use my collar.  I am quite disappointed that in the 10+ years I have been on CPAP none of my “expert” advisors even mentioned using a soft cervical collar. I only found out about it on YouTube.  "Sleep apnea quick and cheap fix/solution/device/treatment"  <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a_i3RDSoiGs>
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#52
Like you, I have been trying a soft cervical collar for a week. I have also found it not to be uncomfortable. I got it primarily because I was experiencing increasing major leak issues with my full face mask due to my mouth dropping open. I chose the collar over a chin strap because many of my events are caused by position.

Initially I found my flow limitations were greatly decreased  by using a buckwheat chaff pillow, which stabilized my head position while lying on my side. As time passed I found that I rolled unto my back more frequently losing much of the advantage of the pillow. I hoped the collar would correct that as well. Surprisingly, however, it has not had much impact on my 90% flow limitation or max flow limitations which I find surprising. It may just mean I need to look at data for a longer period.

Although it has ha almost no impact on my AHI values (avg 0.58 before and 0.56 after), my RERA values have more than doubled (0.41 before and 0.97 after). Not sure what the link is there, if any Dont-know  Maybe one of the gurus will see this and have an answer. Even though I wear it loosely it does some light pressure on my throat as I change positions. It's not much but....... Thinking-about

I've ordered a chin strap to see how I adapt to that.

This all part of my quest to eventually transition to nasal pillows. As a mouth breather I'm sure I'll need something to keep it closed. (Something my wife says I need to learn while awake also Rolleyes )

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