cpap machine and tmj

General Discussion on any topic relating to CPAP and/or Sleep Apnea.
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cpap machine and tmj

Post by broocha » Sat Aug 18, 2007 5:58 pm

I started my cpap 2 weeks ago. I have had TMJ all of my life but it was manageable. Now all of a sudden I am in so much jaw, ear and throat pain it is unbelievable. I am wondering if the full face mask could be causing this. It seems like too much of a coincodence. The pain started a few nights after I started using the machine. I have stopped using it for the past few nights. I dont know what to do. I do know that I can not continue with this jaw pain. Has anyone had tmj pain from their cpaps?

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Post by RosemaryB » Sat Aug 18, 2007 7:47 pm

Yes, I've had TMJ for a long time. When I use a chin strap, it seems to trigger it. I had an excruciating flare up about a week ago. I think it was the combination of the chin strap and my new papillow . I liked the papillow, but the way it lifted up my jaw I think didn't help. The chin straps seem to pull my jaw at an awkward angle. A full face mask could also do it from what I hear. If you need a full face, I'm sure people who have these problems will share advice.

No need to give up the cpap!!!! One answer is a nasal mask of some kind. In my case, I used nasal pillows or a nasal cannula. They don't cause a TMJ problem at all. I've used the Swift, the Bravo, and the NAII consistently. As long as I don't use the chin strap with them, they are fine. This is why I mouth tape.

Mask: Swift™ LT Nasal Pillow CPAP Mask with Headgear
Software: Encore Pro Smart Card
Additional Comments: Alternate Mask: Headrest. Pressure 9.0. Aussie Hose, padacheeks, AHI: 0.0 on 12/26/07. Pillow-stuffed backpack=side sleeping & lower AHI.
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Post by cflame1 » Sun Aug 19, 2007 7:44 am

I have TMJ as well. I don't use a chin strap (looked at it and decided that it would be way too much trouble and pain), and some full face masks are better than others for me.

My hybrid for an example will keep my mouth sort of closed with the chin cup, but also handles it when it's open.

Best advice if looking for a full face... look at something where the pressure point isn't going to be pushing your lower jaw back. Try them out, try them at full pressure, see where the pressure points are.

Mask: Hybrid Full Face CPAP Mask with Nasal Pillows and Headgear
Humidifier: PR System One 50 Series Heated Humidifier
Additional Comments: also have various other masks and a Legacy Remstar Auto Bipap with BiFlex

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Post by JZ » Sun Aug 19, 2007 8:43 am


When I started cpap 11 months ago, I quickly experienced very stiff jaw muscles. I was using a Swift nasal pillows mask. I have a small face and am a side sleeper. I also sleep very lightly and the whole cpap experience was a nightmare for me.

I think I was very anxious about the cpap and exhausted, and that I was holding my head and neck at a weird angle to keep from dislodging the Swift. After a few months I switched to a ComfortLite 2 nasal pillow mask that works better for me as a side sleeper.

Apparently I do not have TMJ. Apparently my now chronic jaw muscle stiffness is stress related. I feel like I have tried everything and been to every medical practitioner (physician, dentist, sleep doctor, chiropractor, ENT, and now physical therapist).

The doctors wanted to go the pharmaceutical route and treat me for anxiety/stress. Several meds they tried me on had really bad side effects that I could not tolerate.

I am better now, but not back to normal. I have gotten some relief from a low dose of anxiety med, the physical therapy and the jaw exercises I do on my own.

The cpap therapy is so important and I have somehow managed to be mostly compliant through these jaw issues. My advice to you is to go to a dentist who has some understanding of sleep apnea. Also, do consider physical therapy (find one who specializes in TMJ).

Finding the right mask is also key. If you are a mouth breather, you have fewer choices unless a chin strap or mouth taping works for you. Do a search on this forum about TJM, jaw pain, ear pain, and throat pain. You will see it is not an uncommon experience and you may find some helpful tips.

I wish you the best.


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Post by JZ » Tue Aug 21, 2007 5:39 am


Please let us know how you are doing. Has your TMJ lessened any?


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Post by fredpb » Tue Aug 21, 2007 6:37 am

My jaw hurts if I am awake too long trying to get to sleep with the CPAP.

The first cause of the pain is the mask/straps putting strain on my jaw.

The second is my trying to keep my mouth shut with a FF mask.

The third is my mouth being blown open by the air pressure all night.

My masks only seem to seal properly when my cheeks are puffed out.

I have only tried FF masks. Respironics and Resmed. I am now going to try a nasal mask and a chinstrap. I even have problems with my new Ultra Mirage FF.

Mask: ComfortFull 2 Full Face CPAP Mask with Headgear
Software: Encore Pro Smart Card
Additional Comments: And a Pain in the ass DME
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Greenwood, SC

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Post by Snoredog » Tue Aug 21, 2007 7:08 am

I would suggest you see your dentist and have them consider a mouth piece that will prevent the mandible from moving back so far (Full face mask is pulling the mandible back in the TMJ joint which is causing the paint), but your TMJ may be associated with bruxing of the teeth, they should be able to tell that also from cracked or split teeth or enamel that has been worn.

If you can use a nasal mask you will get better therapy and be better off with your TMJ. I would suggest going back to the nasal mask and taping until you get it sorted out.

You can use 1" wide paper surgical medical tape (3M makes it) cut a piece about 2" long, fold about 1/4" of it back over itself on one end for a "quick removal flap", it goes over the lips horizontally. That flap won't stick so you can grab it easily for quick removal even sub-consciously, if you are right handed put the flap on the right side, if left handed flap on the left side.
someday science will catch up to what I'm saying...

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Post by Slinky » Tue Aug 21, 2007 8:36 am

I started experiencing some jaw problems after starting CPAP. My family doctor suggested TMJ (not unheard of w/CPAP) and referred me to an excellent dentist who does quite a bit of TMJ work.

It turns out, after a digital xray that circles around the face that I have no "padding" left in the joint between my upper and lower jaws. So why it wasn't causing a problem prior to CPAP I have no idea.

Since I do have a denture a device was not an option for me. And I sure don't consider the jaw pain/locking uncomfortable enough at this time to consider surgery (like maybe when I'm dead and dying from pain!!).

What is interesting to me is that my bite has gone from the normal scissors bite to considerably more overshot (upper front teeth beyond the lower front teeth) thru the years. Yet he did manage to do some dental work on my existing teeth to move my lower jaw BACK (creating even more of an overbite). And it has helped.

I use a nasal cushion for CPAP mask. I was finding w/some of the earlier nasal cushions I had been using that I was jutting my lower jaw forward to help prevent leaks or to eliminate a leak when one occurred in that area. Once I found a proper fitting, comfortable nasal mask that helped reduce the incidence of pain and jaw locking and this dental work he did has also helped so the incidents are much less frequent now altho when my jaw does lock it REALLY locks for a longer period of time than previously.

Mask: Quattro™ FX Full Face CPAP Mask with Headgear
Additional Comments: PR SystemOne BPAP Auto w/Bi-Flex & Humidifier - EncorePro 2.2 Software - Contec CMS-50D+ Oximeter - Respironics EverFlo Q Concentrator
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Post by NeedinZs » Tue Aug 21, 2007 2:37 pm

I know you said you're doing Physical Therapy for your TMJ, but are they also working on your neck and trapezius regions?

You may already be familiar with this, but I have found almost all of my TMJ pain, was really coming from trigger points (muscle knots) in my neck, referring pain to my eye and jaw and ear.

Feel around your neck and shoulder region and see if you come across any sore knots. Adjusting to sleeping with any mask can trigger some of this, just from a different "holding" pattern of your head.

Just a thought.... best of luck!

Additional Comments: I use A-Flex, Aussie heated hose, Poli-grip strips