What Is Positional Therapy for Sleep Apnea?
Positional therapy is a non-invasive treatment approach that aims to reduce the symptoms of positional sleep apnea by preventing the individual from sleeping in positions that can worsen their breathing problems. It is a simple and effective treatment option that can be used alone or in combination with other therapies. Positional therapy typically involves encouraging the individual to sleep on their side, rather than on their back, which is the position that can lead to an increase in apneic events. There are several ways to achieve this, including:
Using specialized pillows: Pillows that are designed to encourage side-sleeping can be used to help the individual maintain a comfortable and safe sleeping position.
Wearing a positional device: A wearable device, such as a vest or belt, can be worn around the chest or waist to help prevent the individual from rolling onto their back during sleep.
Behavioral training: The individual can be trained to avoid sleeping on their back by using techniques such as sewing a tennis ball into the back of their pajamas to make back-sleeping uncomfortable.
Vibrating positional therapy devices: A wearable device that helps maintain a side-sleeping position during sleep. These devices work by providing a gentle vibration or other type of alert to prompt the individual to shift to a side-sleeping position, which can help to reduce the frequency of apneic events.
Vibrating positional therapy devices are designed to be comfortable and non-invasive, and they are often used as an alternative to continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy for individuals with mild to moderate positional sleep apnea.
Positional therapy is a relatively simple and non-invasive treatment option for positional sleep apnea. It is important to consult with a healthcare provider to determine the best treatment plan for an individual's specific situation, as positional therapy may be used alone or in combination with other therapies, such as continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) or surgery, depending on the severity of the sleep apnea.