Posts by: Momentum

How Much Time Does a Sleep Apnea Test Require

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If you are having difficulty sleeping soundly at night or seem to wake up still feeling tired, sleep apnea may be the issue. A fairly common condition, there are three kinds of sleep apnea. Identifiable by its symptoms of choking, snoring or gasping sounds, obstructive sleep apnea is caused by the relaxing of the muscles in the back of the throat. These muscles need to remain tense to keep your airways open. Central sleep apnea can be caused by heart disease, traumatic brain injury, etc. and occurs when the brain signals responsible for breathing are not sent properly. The third type of sleep apnea is actually a mixture of both.

sleep apnea test time

In all cases, a lack of oxygen in the blood arouses the brain to allow normal breathing patterns to resume. Even though you may not be aware of these episodes, they can occur up to 60 times each hour and result in the interruption of necessary sleep cycles. If you think you might suffer from sleep apnea, you can take a  screening test such as the Epworth, Berlin or Stop-Bang (three forms of information filled out by the patient regarding daytime sleepiness) to determine whether you do or not. A test can also tell you additional helpful information about your sleep cycles to help you sleep better. Read on to find out how much time to block off for a sleep apnea test.


Home Test vs. Sleep Lab

Depending on your symptoms, insurance and medical history, a sleep test can be performed at home or in a lab. In either case, the study is painless and the results can allow us to determine the best course of treatment for your diagnosis. A test performed in a sleep lab can provide more information and ensure more accurate results. Even if you take a home test you may need to visit a sleep lab for additional testing depending on the results of the home test for insurance mandated rules.


Total Time Spent at a Sleep Facility

When you take a sleep test at a facility, you will most likely spend about 10 hours in the lab. This includes the time it takes you to get situated in your room and fill out the necessary paperwork. While a technician spends between 30-45 minutes hooking you up to the necessary equipment and explaining the test, you will have a chance to ask any questions you may have prior to taking it. There is usually a mandatory “lights out” time and wake up time to keep the test as free from variables as possible. After about 8 hours you will have the hookup wires gently removed and be able to leave the facility. The results of your test will be analyzed by a sleep apnea doctor and are usually available in one or two weeks. Sometimes follow-up tests are necessary, but at least you will be familiar with the process and know more about what to expect.


Solutions for Your Diagnosis

The results of the sleep apnea test indicate you have obstructive sleep apnea. Now what? The good news is there are multiple solutions available. Many people think the only form of sleep apnea treatment is a continuous positive airway pressure machine. Perhaps that is the best option for you. Maybe surgery will be the only way to fix the problem. While a CPAP machine or surgery can help in some situations, there may be a way to solve your issues with an oral appliance.

At the Michigan Head and Neck Institute, you can explore the oral appliance option. Made by experienced and expertly educated Dr. Richard Klein, these mouthpieces allow you to sleep more normally without being hooked up to a machine. Because each mouthpiece is customized, it can be a comfortable way to achieve restful sleep. If you do choose to try an oral appliance, we will usually prescribe an additional sleep test with the mouthpiece to make sure it is properly positioned and working well for you. Take our online sleep disorder test or schedule a consultation today.

How Long Does It Take for TMJ to Go Away?

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Man with jaw pain

When people refer to TMJ, they are often referring to temporomandibular disorders or TMD. These disorders affect the temporomandibular joint, which is where the common name of TMJ comes from. Unfortunately, from 20 to 50% of people experience symptoms of these disorders at some point in their life. However, TMJ pain is not specific enough to diagnose an underlying condition, which means that the problem might require treatment, or a doctor might simply recommend for you to wait it out, which leads to the most obvious question of how long will the pain last? Therefore, to understand the condition and its timeline, it is necessary to understand its causes, symptoms and treatments.



Like most medical problems, there are several causes for TMDs. For example, the issue can be pre-existing, lasting for the better part of an individual’s life, coming and going, and it is typically the result of bite problems. Although, muscle strain or jaw imbalances are just as likely. Also, trauma to the neck or jaw can also cause a sudden onset of TMJ. Unfortunately, not every cause has a treatment capable of curing the condition. However, the disorder can be managed and controlled with proper dental care.



There are many TMJ symptoms. In fact, there are so many symptoms that the disorder is often called “The Great Imposter.” The nickname implies how hard it is to diagnose, but with a plethora of symptoms, it is understandable. For example, you can experience trouble swallowing, popping or clicking in the jaw and facial pain. Although, the weirdest symptoms are those that don’t appear to have anything to do with the jawbone. For example, other symptoms include persistent headaches, blurred vision, hearing loss, light and sound sensitivity. If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms, especially in combination with each other, then go to the doctor and get assessed.



The treatment for TMDs is almost as varied as the symptoms. For example, it is possible that wearing a mouthpiece or corrective orthotic can help to rectify damaged teeth, which might be leading to the jawline discomfort. Also, there are injections for pain management, which can provide temporary relief. Patients might also experience relief by taking part in physical therapy. For those who require a more invasive approach, there are surgeries that can relieve the issues relating to specific TMJ dysfunctions.


Recovery Time

Now, the main question posed by most TMD sufferers is how long will the condition last, and unfortunately, that is a good-news, bad-news situation. The good news is that most TMJ symptoms will clear up in no more than three weeks typically. However, certain TMJ conditions, especially those brought about by arthritis or bruxism, can last months or years, depending on the severity of the underlying condition.


Dental Visit

Many people attempt to avoid the dentist at all costs. Unfortunately, avoidance is not an option, especially when your symptoms escalate. For example, if you injured your jaw, have limited jaw movement or swelling near the joint. Also, if you are attempting to self-medicate with over-the-counter pain relievers, but they aren’t doing anything, then it is time to schedule an appointment with your dentist to discuss a possible treatment plan.

TMD and TMJ can hinder your daily life substantially due to pain and discomfort. If you are in need or suspect you need a TMJ doctor, then you should find an institution that specializes in the care and treatment you deserve. The Michigan Head & Neck Institute has been around for over three decades, and their dental professionals specialize in TMD and TMJ treatment. Therefore, reach out to one of their representatives and schedule your consultation by calling (586) 588-9366.

The Role of the Cardiologist in Sleep Disorder Breathing

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As many of us are aware, OSA is associated with hypertension, AFib, coronary artery disease, congestive heart failure and stroke.  The number of men and women diagnosed with Sleep Apnea (twice as many men as women) has increased over the last 20 years.  Statistically, 50% of OSA patients are hypertensive, 30% of hypertensive patients have OSA, and 71% of all patients diagnosed with cardiovascular disease have OSA.  Cardiologists are becoming more and more aware of the warning signs and the relationship between cardiovascular diseases and sleep disorders.  This association of comorbidities presents an opportunity for physicians to identify patients with OSA and participate in their diagnosis and treatment plan.


There has been immense growth in recent years with HSAT monitors as opposed to traditional in-lab testing.  Many patients refuse a sleep study because they do not want to sleep in a lab.  Not only are home sleep studies cost effective, but they provide a streamlined method for diagnosis and treatment.

Therefore, cardiologists can easily incorporate home sleep testing into their practices.


We need to remember that 1 in 4 deaths from cardiovascular disease is preventable with healthy lifestyle changes and better management of associated co-morbidities linked to OSA.  How we can utilize these findings to provide optimal patient care?


Please click here to read the full article.

Understanding TMJ and Its Treatment Options

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Understanding TMJ

You may have heard friends or family complain of pain in their jaw or face area and say, “I have TMJ.” Well, that is true. In fact, everybody has two TMJ’s. The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is a hinge joint that connects a part of your skull (temple) to your lower jaw (mandible), allowing you to talk, yawn, chew, and yell for your favorite sports teams.  A disorder of this joint is called temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD), and there are over 30 million Americans suffering from this disorder. There are many signs and symptoms of TMD, and it is important for those suffering to have a TMD or TMJ doctor perform a thorough examination to understand the root cause of your condition before prescribing any form of treatment.


TMD or TMJ Causes

The causes of TMD are not widely known. The one common factor is that the muscles and bones in the joint have a direct correlation to the symptoms experienced by sufferers. However, the most common cause of TMD is an injury to the head, neck, jaw or joint. Although other potential causes, which are just as likely, may include arthritis, grinding or clenching teeth, movement of the disc in the joint or even stress. While it might seem unlikely, TMD can be the result of stress disorders, like anxiety, which cause the muscles in the jaw to tense up.


TMD or TMJ Symptoms and Treatment

TMD is considered a multi-factorial disorder, meaning that there are a number of things that can cause it. This makes determining the exact root cause of someones TMD hard to pinpoint. However, there are many common signs and symptoms of TMD that occur in both women and men. In fact, more women than men report with symptoms. Some of the more common symptoms are headaches, especially in the morning, jaw or facial pain, jaw popping or clicking. Additionally, many suffers experience dizziness, difficulty eating or swallowing, and in severe cases a jaw that is locked or dislocated. Many other signs and symptoms can refer to other areas of the body such as toothaches, eye pain, blurred vision, earaches or ringing, loss of hearing, and or neck/back stiffness.

Often times people search for home remedies in hopes that the TMD symptoms will dissipate naturally, however, most cases stem from an issue that is unlikely to resolve on its own. Dentists are on the front line of defense to complete a thorough examination using diagnostic tools to assess this disorder and determine the best course of treatment. However, not all dentists are expertly trained to manage and treat it. It is common for many dentists to refer their patients to Oral Surgeons for management, like the ones at and there are certainly instances where surgery is warranted. However, its important to note that most cases can be managed without invasive or surgical procedures.

If surgery is not required, dentists who are well trained in analyzing the way an individual bites together may attempt to balance the biting surfaces of the teeth. This can sometimes involve the use of crowns, replacement of missing teeth, or braces and orthodontics. For some patients, a dentist may determine that clenching or grinding of the teeth is putting and excessive amount of strain on the joint and that a customized oral appliance therapy or a nightguard is the best course of action. Others may benefit from simple physical therapy techniques such as moist heat, massage, and or other muscle manipulation modalities. Additionally, TMD is commonly caused by or agitated by stress and anxiety. In many cases, certain muscle relaxers, antidepressants, or anti-anxiety medications can be used as an adjunct therapy to help reduce stress and ease tension. Typically, the proper management of TMD involves a combination of more than one of these therapies and it is important to have a proper diagnosis before committing to a specific treatment option. 

Surgery Options for TMJ

There are some TMD patients who require surgery.  Some of the common surgical options for TMD include arthrocentesis, arthroscopy, and open-joint surgery.  Arthrocentesis, the least invasive of the three involves removing old fluid from the joint in order to let the body produce its own new, fresh fluid.  This option can be performed just under local anesthesia.  Arthroscopy and open-joint surgery are more invasive procedures that involve general anesthesia, and typically have longer recovery times.  There are certainly situations where surgery can be beneficial to TMD patients, however, it is important to have a proper evaluation before committing to any specific treatment.  Here at the Michigan Head and Neck Institute, we are experts at evaluating and treating TMD, utilizing a number of treatment modalitites that do not involve surgery.

If you are looking for treatment options for TMD, then you can reach out to our Warren, Michigan office. To schedule an appointment with the Michigan Head & Neck Institute, you can call 586-473-6735. We look forward to answering any of your questions and addressing any of your concerns.

Sleep Disorders & Multiple Sclerosis

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Recent studies have begun to expose similarities between the symptoms of OSA and MS.  This article surveyed more than 2,300 people with MS, and 70% reported having a sleep disorder.  Diagnosis can occur anywhere between age 20-age 50, and women are more likely than men to be affected.  This age group is noteworthy because this is also an age group that is at high risk for sleep disorders.  Symptoms of both can include, but are not limited to, insomnia, restless leg syndrome, fatigue and daytime sleepiness (in addition to SDB and apnea).  Additionally, other MS symptoms include numbness, paralysis, blindness, muscle pain and tension, and other symptoms and dysfunctions related to the central nervous system.  Because MS is so irregular, the severity of symptoms is hard to predict, thus making treatment challenging.  You have heard me discuss the chicken and egg scenario in previous postings, as many of the disorders that I have mentioned are interrelated.  Can MS contribute to OSA?  Yes.  And can OSA worsen MS? Yes.  However, risk factors and pathophysiological causes of sleep disorders in people with MS are likely to be different compared to people with OSA who do not have MS.  Therefore, it is important to thoroughly examine and diagnose the patient, as treating a sleep disorder and restoring oxygen to the brain may play a role in slowing the progression of MS.


Please click here to read the full article.

Is a Sleep Study Necessary to Get a CPAP Machine?

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sleep apnea for cpap machine

Sleep apnea is a disorder where breathing is constantly disrupted throughout the night. Each time a person stops breathing in their sleep, the brain suddenly wakes them up.  The process happens all night long and doesn’t allow the sufferer to achieve enough deep sleep. This can lead to excessive daytime sleepiness, high blood pressure, concentration problems, and a host of other very serious health issues.  Because this disorder is so disruptive to a persons life, finding the correct treatment is crucial.  Michigan Head and Neck Institute understands the need for proper treatment which is why we offer safe and effective treatments for sleep apnea.

Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) is the most common form of treatment for snoring and sleep apnea and many people with these symptoms wonder if they can get a CPAP without completing a sleep study.  While it is possible to get a CPAP machine without a prescription, undergoing a sleep study is beneficial to understanding a persons sleep disorder and how it may impact their life.  Michigan Head and Neck Institute is equipped to answer many questions about sleep issues and their associated treatments.

Are There Different Types of Sleep Apnea?

While there are different forms of sleep apnea, many of the symptoms are shared.  Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is the most common form of the disorder.  In this case, during sleep, the airway becomes blocked or collapsed, causing periods of breathlessness.  Central Sleep Apnea (CSA) is the less common form, but happens where there is a neurological problem between the signals from the brain to the muscles responsible for breathing.  Some people suffer from a combination of both types called Mixed Apnea.

Snoring is the most common symptom observed, but in addition many suffer from significant daytime fatigue, headaches, dry mouth, sore throat, night sweats, insomnia, and difficulty with physical activity.  Others may suffer from chest pains, changes in mood, depression and or difficulty concentrating.  When left untreated, sufferers can develop high blood pressure, diabetes, and can even increase the risk of developing cancers.  However, its not just the patient that suffers from poor sleep!  Often times the bed-partner or spouse is the most common person to observe these issues.

What Is a Sleep Study?

Many suffering some combination of sleep apnea symptoms will seek a doctors advice, who may recommend a sleep study, also know as a polysomnography.  A sleep study uses a number of instruments to help diagnose and differentiate sleep disorders.  These sleep studies evaluate your brain waves, breathing patterns, blood oxygen levels, and a number of other factors to help determine the scope and extent of any issues you’re experiencing.  Most sleep studies are conducted overnight, where you’ll be asked to sleep in a quiet darkened room.  You are usually asked to wear comfortable clothes to sleep in and bring any toiletries or items that may help you wind down.  You may be asked to abstain from caffeine or other substances that could disturb your sleep patterns.  Some electrodes and other diagnostic instruments will be attached to your head and body to help analyze your sleeping behaviors throughout the night.  Once the test is completed you will attend a follow-up appointment to discuss your test results and treatment options.


How Do CPAP Machines Work?

Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) machines have been used for the treatment of sleep apnea since the 1980’s.  CPAP machines are currently the “gold standard” for treating the majority of sleep apnea cases when used properly.  CPAP treatment consists of a machine that pushes humidified air through tubing connected to a sleep mask.  The air acts like a stint as it travels from the mask directly into the airways and lungs.  With the airways open, oxygen can flow freely into the lungs, snoring is minimalized and the patient is able to breathe and sleep easier.

If you’re experiencing symptoms of sleep apnea, Michigan Head & Neck Institute is ready to help. Residents in Southeast Michigan can call (586) 588-9444 to schedule a consultation. You can also contact us online to complete a sleep apnea questionnaire.

OSA, Women & Aging

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Traditionally, OSA has always been viewed as a male disease (3 to 1), however, OSA in women is becoming increasingly recognized.  Because of the discrepancy in the symptoms between women and men, women are often misdiagnosed or underdiagnosed.  Approximately 30 million adults in the U.S. have obstructive sleep apnea, the most common SDB condition.  A study in Sweden reveals 50% of women with OSA.


Women typically have less severe symptoms than men, lower AHI and shorter apneas.  Fat is also distributed differently in the airway for women as opposed to men. There is an increase in the prevalence and severity of SDB in women after menopause, so it has been suggested that hormones influence the upper airway.  Additionally, women may be at increased risk of OSA during pregnancy, as the uterus elevates the diaphragm while it grows.


“Stronger effects were shown in women than in men, despite men having less severe sleep-disordered breathing”


Something that no woman wants to hear is that OSA and/or SDB may speed up the aging process.  According to this study, AHI score is associated with greater age acceleration (215 days of biological age advancement for each standard deviation increase in AHI).


“If causal, results suggest that improving AHI and sleep fragmentation may positively affect age-related chronic diseases”


Please click here for the full article.

What Every Person Living With TMJ/TMD Should Know

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TMJ Pain Relief

Symptoms of TMD can be frustrating to live with, and TMD pain can affect various aspects of your life. Contacting a TMD doctor at Michigan Head & Neck Institute can be a helpful first step in treating your symptoms. Learning about this common condition can also help you determine how to manage your daily life with the condition.

What Is TMJ/TMD?

Temporomandibular joint disorder is generally called TMJ (the lower jaw is the Mandible which hinges in a Joint close to the Temple) or TMD (which is a disorder of TMJ), it also affects muscles ligaments and tendons that connect to the jaws and head and neck regions. The condition is defined by pain and inflammation in the joint that connects the skull and jawbone and often to muscles in the jaw, head and neck. The cause of TMD can vary from person to person. Gritting or grinding one’s teeth, which often happens while a person sleeps, can cause TMD to occur. Trauma to the jaw can result in TMD, and whiplash and other types of trauma to the neck can also cause TMD. Additionally, conditions that affect the joints, such as arthritis, can increase the likelihood of TMD occurring. However, in some cases, TMD doesn’t have a particular known cause.

What Are Common TMJ/TMD Symptoms?

There are a variety of symptoms that often accompany TMJ. Some of the most common symptoms of TMJ include, but are not limited to:

  • Pain and tenderness in the jaw area
  • Difficulty closing your mouth or feeling as if your jaw is “locked”
  • Pain in your ear, neck or eye
  • A clicking or popping noise when one opens their mouth
  • Trouble chewing foods
  • Headaches
  • Loss of hearing
  • Sensitive to noise
  • Ear congestion
  • Dizziness
  • Blurred vision
  • Tears without crying
  • Pressure around the eyes
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Sensitivity to light

Will TMJ/TMD Go Away On Its Own?

Some conditions don’t require medical intervention and resolve on their own. However, TMD rarely is resolved without treatment. Since TMD involves muscles, joints and tendons, and can cause a variety of symptoms, specialized treatment is often necessary to manage all aspects of the condition. Avoiding treatment or waiting for the condition to resolve on its own for an extended period of time generally only results in more pain and little relief. Attempting to treat symptoms of TMJ on your own can also cause the pain associated with the condition to worsen and damage to the joint may result.

Who Treats TMJ/TMD?

Two people with TMJ may not experience the exact same symptoms, which is why it’s often important to seek out individualized treatment. In order to know the best way to manage your specific symptoms, it can be helpful to contact a TMJ doctor. However, there are various types of doctors that can treat TMJ. Often, an ENT (ear, nose and throat) doctor or a doctor who specializes in pain management can help to treat TMJ. Dentists are also often involved in the treatment of TMJ and can provide patients with further recommendations about their condition.  Dentists are the professionals well trained in fabricating an orthotic (mouthpiece) that can relieve pressure in a pathological TM Joint.

How Is TMJ/TMD Treated?

There are several common ways TMD is treated. If teeth grinding exists, using a mouth guard, especially while a person sleeps, can help to protect the teeth. A TMD orthotic is different than a bruxism appliance, one of it’s important purposes is to protect the TM Joints and position them properly.  Physical therapy can also be a useful way to lessen symptoms of TMD. Physical therapists can use a variety of tools to treat TMD, including massage, tens, E-stim, laser, heat and other pain-relieving treatments. When TMD is first diagnosed or if a patient is experiencing a flare-up of their symptoms, some professionals also might recommend avoiding known triggers, which can mean avoiding foods that are tough to chew for a short period of time or stress management in order to decrease the strain on the patient’s jaw. If other methods of treatment have been ineffective, muscle trigger point injections can help to decrease the lactic acid build up in the chewing muscles and offer patients relief while increasing healing potential.

Understanding TMD symptoms and treatment options can be useful to patients, and receiving specialized treatments for the condition can help to drastically improve your life. If you suspect you have TMD or have previously been diagnosed with the condition and need help managing your symptoms, contact Michigan Head & Neck Institute today.

Sleep Disorders and Stroke

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Sleep Aches Logo






Getting a “good night’s sleep” is hard enough, especially so for stroke survivors. While various studies have been performed to determine the relationship between the two, physicians continue to miss the signs.  In fact, according to a review published in the American Heart Association’s journal Stroke, more than 50% of stroke survivors have some type of sleep disorder, yet few are formally tested (in part due to this lack of awareness).  Sleep disorders that may have been present and undiagnosed before a stroke can worsen significantly afterwards. So, if we can increase awareness and testing (and therefore diagnosis) of sleep disorders, a number of strokes could end up being prevented.

Stroke is a condition in which there is an acute neurologic occurrence as a result of ischemic cerebral infarction (87% of strokes) or brain hemorrhage (13% of stroke).  Blood vessels become dilated., hemorrhages may be seen, and edema may form.  Stroke can also cause brain ischemia and hemorrhage into the brain.

In brain hemorrhage, there can be bleeding directly into the brain parenchyma, which is called intracerebral hemorrhage. If bleeding occurs in the cerebrospinal fluid within the subarachnoid space, this is known as subarachnoid hemorrhage.

Block and Bleed Head Graphics

Ichemic stroke pertains to having very little blood supply to provide parts of the brain with enough oxygen and nutrients, while hemorrhagic stroke pertains to too much bleeding within the enclosed cranial cavity. A transient ischemic attack often called a mini stroke.  OSA is related to stroke, because moderate-to severe OSA is associated with silent ischemic changes.

There are three subtypes of brain ischemia.

-Thrombosis refers to local obstruction of an artery.

-Embolism pertains to debris formed elsewhere that causes an obstruction.

-Systemic hypoperfusion results from a systemic circulatory problem manifesting itself in the   brain and other organs of the body

Brain Stroke Illustration


It has been reported that more than 70% of stroke survivors have OSA.  Without REM sleep, you have less of a chance of recovery from stroke because your body never gets refreshed and recharged.  This can lead to high blood pressure as well, which is the strongest risk factor associated with stroke, and unfortunately another reason that the connection between OSA and stroke is missed. Again, it becomes the chick and the egg scenario – what happened first?

If sleep apnea increases the risk of stroke, either directly or indirectly, untreated patients with comorbid OSA may have worse functional outcomes and higher mortality after acute stroke.

A very high prevalence of SDB (69–77%) has also been reported in patients who have had a stroke, but because sleep studies were not performed before the strokes, it is not possible to determine which came first, the SDB or the stroke.

When it comes time to decide on the treatment plan for OSA/SDB – depending on the level of severity either the CPAP or an intraoral appliance can be utilized (or a combination of both).


Symptoms and Risks of OSA chart

Moderate-to-severe OSA is also significantly associated with hypertension.  Effective treatment of OSA significantly reduces blood pressure, thus reducing the chance for stroke.

Stroke is the most common cause of long-term disability in the United States (over 1 million people affected), and the healthcare costs associated with stroke are astronomical.  By raising awareness in the healthcare community, hopefully more of the relationships between the signs and symptoms and OSA and stroke will be recognized and addressed.


Arzt M, Young T, Finn L, Skatrud JB, Bradley TD. Association of sleep-disordered breathing and the occurrence of stroke. Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2005;172(11):1447–1451. doi:10.1164/rccm.200505-702OC

Davis AP, Billings ME, Longstreth WT Jr, Khot SP. Early diagnosis and treatment of obstructive sleep apnea after stroke: Are we neglecting a modifiable stroke risk factor? Neurol Clin Pract. 2013;3(3):192–201. doi:10.1212/CPJ.0b013e318296f274

Good DC, Henkle JQ, Gelber D, Welsh J, Verhulst S. Sleep-disordered breathing and poor functional outcome after stroke. Stroke 1996;27: 252–259.

Hong KS, Bang OY, Kang DW, Yu KH, Bae HJ, Lee JS, et al. Stroke statistics in Korea: part I. Epidemiology and risk factors: a report from the Korean Stroke Society and Clinical Research Center for Stroke. J Stroke. 2013;15:2–20

Kaneko Y, Hajek VE, Zivanovic V, Raboud J, Bradley TD. Relationship of sleep apnea to functional capacity and length of hospitalization following stroke. Sleep 2003; 26:293–297.

Yaggi HK, Concato J, Kernan WN, Lichtman JH, Brass LM, Mohsenin V. Obstructive sleep apnea as a risk factor for stroke and death. N Engl J Med. 2005; 353:2034–2041.

Yan-fang S, Yu-ping W. Sleep-disordered breathing: impact on functional outcome of ischemic stroke patients. Sleep Med 2009; 10:717–719.

Link to article:

Methods to Eliminate TMJ

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eliminate tmjImagine you have a consistent headache for days on end. Coupled with that, you have developed an extreme sensitivity to light. Also, you’re starting to have difficulty hearing out of one of your ears. A visit to a medical website might tell you to consult a doctor over concerns about a brain tumor. On closer examination, though, you discover you have TMJ. At the Michigan Head & Neck Institute, we are dedicated to assisting you in finding the right TMJ treatment to help you feel good and productive at work or around the house again.

What Is TMJ?

A good question to ask your TMJ doctor after receiving this diagnosis is, “what is TMJ?” This acronym refers to the Temporomandibular joints.  The lower jaw (mandible) hinges on a joint close to the temple: thus TMJ. These are your jaw joints, of which there are two. Problems with your joints can occur in your left side, right side or both. Most complications commonly happen when you open and close your mouth or move your jaw in a sideways motion. As such, chewing can be a constant trigger for TMJ symptoms.

This disorder can be caused by many different external and internal triggers. At a high level, injury to your jaw, misalignment of your jaw or muscle strain can cause TMJ. Other potential triggers include grinding your teeth, arthritis in your jaw and excessive stress levels.

What Are the Symptoms of TMJ?

There are many symptoms of this disorder. While not every patient will experience all of them, these are the most common:

  • Neck pain or constant headaches
  • Jaw pain, especially when yawning or chewing
  • Earaches or pain around the ear or behind the eye
  • Tightness in the jaw muscles making it difficult to open and close your mouth
  • Increased difficulty in hearing
  • Becoming dizzy accompanied by blurring vision
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Tears without being sad

How Is TMJ Treated?

If you are experiencing TMJ pain, the good news is that there are several effective treatments available. The even better news is that your disorder can often be eliminated without invasive procedures. Most doctors will take a conservative approach to ensure your quality of life isn’t impacted too severely.

A starting point for TMJ treatment is calming the muscles down and then exercising. Your doctor can prescribe a series of exercises that are designed to exercise your jaw and stretch the muscles surrounding your joints. Also, they will demonstrate how to massage the muscles around the joints to allow them to relax. In addition to this self-administered physical therapy, heat can be applied which can further relax your jaw and neck muscles.

In conjunction with this physical therapy, your doctor will discuss how you can develop healthy habits in your life that will mitigate your symptoms. Some bad habits that should be exercised out of your life include grinding or gritting your teeth, biting with excessive force and incorrect posture during the day.

Gaining popularity in TMJ treatment is the use of an orthotic device. This device is essentially an adjustable, corrective mouthpiece. This mouthpiece is designed to fit your mouth and can be adjusted to make micro-corrections in the alignment of your jaw. Over time, these adjustments can get your jaw joints to a place where they no longer trigger pain or other symptoms. An example of how an orthotic could resolve headaches, ear pain, eye pain, loss of hearing, dizziness, etc. is this: An individual with back pain, loss of sleep, irritability, etc can have control by a lift in a shoe that controls the imbalance when one leg is shorter than the other, the TMJ orthotic balances the jaw.

Depending on the severity of the pain you are undergoing, the doctor may decide to help relieve the pain while you are undergoing treatment and correction. Your TMJ doctor can administer pain-relief injections which will mitigate the pain and make the treatments more bearable.

Deal With Your TMJ Today

If you’ve been diagnosed with TMJ, our doctor at the Michigan Head & Neck Institute can get your treatment started right away. Please call us at (586) 473-6735 and one of our staff will answer your questions and get you scheduled. You can also contact us through our web form to ask questions or schedule a consultation.