Articles - Your Health Magazine, November 2009
Snoring and Sleep Apnea Symptom Rather Than Diagnosis
Since when does the jaw-tongue-throat relationship change while we are awake? The body must maintain an open airway, or throat, for survival, whether when we are asleep or awake. According to findings of Farrand C. Robson, DDS in Oral Systemic Balance®, if the body can’t keep the airway open it compensates to keep it open all of the time.
This is accomplished through:
- Bringing the autonomic nervous system to a state of emergency known as “fight or flight.”
- Postural muscle changes, most notably forward head posture followed by postural muscle compensation throughout the body.
- Jaw muscle activity through grinding (bruxing) that moves the tongue forward and clenching that helps stiffen the tongue, throat and related muscles.
While these compensations, separately or in combinations with one another, keep us from choking to death they have harmful impacts on the body. The more often they are utilized the more impact there is.
The fight or flight state also referred to as the “adrenalin response” comes from increased circulation of the catecholamine hormones, epinephrine (adrenalin) and norepinepherine (noradrenalin). Here, a dramatic increase causes more rapid nerve conduction in the heart, blood vessels and muscles associated with cardiovascular effects, increased blood pressure and increased muscle tone, including that of the tongue (to keep it out of the throat), the jaw muscles associated with clenching and bruxing and muscles that change and maintain body posture to keep the throat clear.
Our compensations are determined by our genetic disposition and environment, as does their impact on us. For example, excessive catecholamine release that prevents us from choking unbalances our entire endocrine (hormone) system.
This is intimately related to, and unbalances, all body systems; our nervous system, musculo-skeletal system, digestive system (including adsorption and assimilation), immune system, limbic system, etc. We are affected physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.
More compromised jaw-tongue-throat relationships require greater compensation while awake and asleep to prevent apnea symptoms. When awake, snorting is an apnea event while laughing (as the muscles, including the tongue related muscles, are quite relaxed).
While asleep, apnea events become more frequent and dramatic as the body moves to deeper levels of sleep, requiring decreasing adrenaline type hormone levels needed to offset them. Apnea stimulates an instantaneous upsurge of these hormones to open the throat and stimulate the cardiovascular system while bringing the body to a more awake state and robbing it of deep sleep. Tossing and turning (to alter posture) and clenching and grinding compensations are also more prevalent.
From this you can see how snoring and sleep apnea are symptoms of impaired oral function and lack of Oral Systemic Balance that appears to be controlled by our jaw-tongue-throat relationship.