Friday, January 25, 2008

Sleep Position Matters

I just saw a young man who complains of many months history of right-sided throat pain and swollen glands. Past medical history is significant for anxiety issues. He noted that he usually sleeps on his back. He also mentioned that he's had a nagging right chest, and shoulder discomfort, which started around the same time as his throat problems. When asked how he slept prior to his problems began, he stated that he normally slept on his sides. He also complains of chronic post-nasal drip, throat clearing, and coughing. He also has a relatively small lower jaw. He eats late and complains of being tired all the time, no matter how long he sleeps. 

His exam reveals severe tongue collapse when on his back with swelling and inflammation of the back of his voice box, consistent with a sleep-breathing, throat acid reflux problem aggravated by suddenly sleeping on his back. I recommended sleeping on his left side, not eating late, and practicing relaxing breathing exercises. 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

A few month's ago my stress level increased substantially related to financial losses and considerably reduced income. I noted several weeks ago that when I would try sleeping on my right side when going to bed, after a couple of minutes I frequently would have a wave of anxiety symptoms, difficult to describe. When I would roll to my back, they would subside. This happens less frequently when I try to go to sleep on my left side. When it does, the symptoms subside when I roll to my back. I am obese. It has always been easier for me to fall asleep on my side rather than on my back. I don't know if this has something to do with pressure on certain organs or possibly the adrenal glands. I don't know if physical pressure can stimulate release of adrenaline or not. Has anyone noted this type of positional problem?