Chiropractic shows that sleep apnea might be a pain in the neck

Did you think you might have sleep apnea but haven’t had it checked? For some, it’s an unwillingness to take part in a sleep study. For most, it’s the inevitable prescribed treatment: a CPAP mask. Depending on the cause of your sleep apnea, there could be another, mask-free alternative: chiropractic.

“There are three basic types of sleep apnea, mixed, central and obstructive. The obstructive option is the most common and due to extra throat tissue or tonsils blocking the airway,” said Dr. Michael Gottfried, president of the Chiropractic Society of Rhode Island and chiropractic physician at Aquidneck Chiropractic in Middletown, Rhode Island. “Having your spine out of alignment, particularly the neck area, can impact your breathing, which is exacerbated by having the aforementioned extra throat tissue or tonsils blocking the airway.”

Some of the issues associated with sleep apnea include: Restless sleep or insomnia; headaches in the morning; low energy or fatigue during the day; waking abruptly due to choking or gasping; loud snoring; and a sore or dry throat when you awaken. Sleep apnea can also lead to cardiovascular issues and heart distress.

Dr. Gottfried notes that a chiropractor can treat sleep apnea with a spinal adjustment and some deep tissue massage. The combination of these treatments relaxes your muscles and promotes proper breathing. Chiropractors can also help patients by teaching special breathing exercises that will bring more oxygen into your body and will essentially retrain your breathing habits.

“A lot of sleep apnea is related to diet and lifestyle. If you are overweight, you are more likely to have sleep apnea. Other things that can exacerbate your sleep apnea include incorrect posture causing misalignment. For example, reading or watching TV in bed while laying down on your pillow as opposed to sitting up. Both can cause misalignment of your neck and worsen your sleep apnea,” said Dr. Gottfried.

When it comes to sleep apnea, Dr. Gottfried recommends a visit to the chiropractor and your general practitioner to start. By asking questions, your doctors should be able to assess the likelihood of sleep apnea and an appropriate course of treatment.

To find a chiropractor in Rhode Island, you can go to

About Chiropractic Society of Rhode Island (CSRI)

Founded in 1918, CSRI is one of the oldest chiropractic associations in the United States and represents almost half of the chiropractic physicians in the Ocean State. In addition to providing a regional voice for chiropractors in the business and legislative arenas, CSRI also helps educate the general public on the benefits of chiropractic. Those all-natural benefits can include relief from headaches, asthma, osteoporosis, osteoarthritis, carpal tunnel, colic, and stress, just to name a few. The Chiropractic Society of Rhode Island is located at 1272 West Main Road, Building 2, Middletown, RI 02842. For more information, call (401) 207-0700 or visit

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