Are Women Affected More Than Men?

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There are countless symptoms and dysfunctions associated with the TNS (trigeminal nervous system), and unfortunately women are more prone to them than men.  As medical professionals, a thorough examination should be performed on each and every patient to assure that nothing is being overlooked.

The list associated with the CSNB (chief sensory nerve of the brain) is extensive and includes migraines, headaches (tension, sinus and morning), sinusitis, fibromyalgia, chronic pain, insomnia, chronic fatigue, anxiety, panic attacks, trigeminal neuralgia, irritable bowel syndrome, stabbing ‘ice pick’ pain in the eye, vision problems (auras, blurred vision, light sensitivity, and glaucoma), Sjögren’s syndrome, vertigo, Lupus, multiple sclerosis, adult scoliosis, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, depression, dementia, and Alzheimer’s.

Skull diagram

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Men also experience these problems, but the CSNB is four times more likely to be under attack in women (who are also more four times more likely to have TMJ dysfunction). Women fall victim to these symptoms and dysfunctions because they face physical abuse more than men and their ligaments are more elastic.  The NIH and the Michigan Medical School research prove that women feel more pain than men.

Physicians, and dentists in particular, have a huge advantage in the treatment and prevention of TMJ disorders. Dentists are trained to use teeth as a vertical support system to avoid a lifetime of irritation to the CSNB.

Dentist working on a woman's teeth

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When you have a malocclusion, meaning that your teeth and jaws are positioned incorrectly, your body becomes accustomed to functioning at an insufficient level.  This, in turn, triggers TMJ dysfunction along with numerous concomitant symptoms and dysfunctions that linger throughout the majority of some people’s lives.  Structures in the head and neck transmit continual impulses through the brain, eyes, ears, sinuses, and the trigeminal nucleus in the brainstem.

Malocclusions Teeth Diagram

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This causes the bones of the TMJ to rub against the auriculotemporal branch of the TNS, prompting referred pain and muscle spasms associated with the joint dislocation.  Malocclusion also causes gum disease, tooth loss, enamel wear, and arthritis.  Studies indicate that when the teeth and jaw joints do not align properly during the early stages of life, then the CSNB is over-stimulated, leading to pain, poor sleep, fatigue, and other symptoms.

Dentists that use a customized mandibular repositioning device are able to reestablish balance and support by correcting the malocclusion to a stable jaw joint position (and therefore stable occlusion).  By doing so, joint space is created, thus lessening, and eventually eliminating, chronic lifelong pain and dysfunction.  Physical therapy, physical medicine techniques and protocols such as trigger point or entrapment neuropathy injections can relieve the muscle pressure on the Trigeminal or Greater Occipital nerves.

Teeth mold

 

 

 

 

 

For all the women out there suffering from chronic pain associated with these symptoms, the next time you are told by a physician that your pain is “all in your head”, ask them why they didn’t take ROM (range of motion) measurements or palpate the muscles of your head and neck.  Dr. Stack always used to say “How do they know what’s wrong with the patient if they don’t touch the patient.”

References

Richard T. Seymour (2016) Why women? CRANIO®, 34:6, 353-355. DOI:10.1080/08869634.2016.1235536

 

 

The Relationship Between Obstructive Sleep Apnea and Obesity

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The Relationship Between Obstructive Sleep Apnea and Obesity

An estimated 18 million people have Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). Out of that number, approximately 80% are unaware they are a victim.  OSA is often associated with obesity, and about 65% of Americans are now considered overweight, or obese. Obesity and sleep apnea make for a not-so-good concoction and can be detrimental.

To be classified as obese, you must have a Body Mass Index (BMI) greater than 30. BMI correlates with the severity of OSA, and even though more women than men are obese, the prevalence of OSA in men is higher. It is possible that fat is distributed differently between women and men.  For example, while fat accumulates in the tongue with weight gain, women in general have lower Mallampati scores (see image below).

obstructive sleep apnea and obesity

Women also have a shorter oropharynx (see image below) and therefore a shorter section of upper airway at risk for nighttime collapse.

image 5

Alternatively, men have a higher neck circumference and increased deposition of fat around the neck region, meaning more fat around the airway.  A neck circumference greater than 17 inches in a man and 16 inches in a woman increases the likelihood that the airway will collapse during sleep.  Those affected repeatedly stop breathing and are usually startled awake by a choking reflex.

obesity and sleep apnea

The high percentage of obesity in today’s world can be attributed to numerous causes.  Levels of physical activity have decreased, caloric intake has increased, and no one is getting enough sleep. Those three elements alone are a model for obesity.  If a person is overweight and suffering from OSA, he/she may not be motivated to exercise or maintain a proper diet.  One of the main symptoms of OSA is chronic daytime sleepiness, ultimately impairing a person’s ability to function properly.   Additionally, lack of sleep can impair the body’s metabolism, making it even harder to burn calories.

Obesity is not only a problem for adults, it has become a huge concern among children. Over the last 20 years, obesity-related medical conditions and sleep apnea discharges from the hospital have increased by over 400%.  OSA in children can lead to excessive daytime sleepiness, cardiovascular complications, ADHD and learning deficiencies.

If you think you may have Sleep Apnea, click here to take Dr. Klein’s Sleep Disorder Test . You can also visit us on FaceBook.

 

References:

 

8/10/16 Article from Christchurch Hospital in New Zealand Stuff.co.nz

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Sleep Medicine Reviews Journal, December 2009

Pediatrics Journal, Michael Schechter, April 2002

 

 

References:

8/10/16 Article from Christchurch Hospital in New Zealand Stuff.co.nz
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Sleep Medicine Reviews Journal, December 2009
Pediatrics Journal, Michael Schechter, April 2002