tmj and sleep apnea

What’s the link between TMJD and sleep apnea?

What’s the link between TMJD and sleep apnea?

Did you know that there’s a link between temporomandibular joint disorder or TMJD and sleep apnea?

In this article, we’ll explain how these conditions are related and how manual osteopathy can help if you are a sufferer

What’s TMJD?

The temporomandibular joints connect your skull and lower jaw, helping your jaw to move in various directions and allowing you to chew, swallow and speak.

When there’s pain or dysfunction in these joints and surrounding structures, you get temporomandibular joint disorder or TMJD (sometimes shortened to TMJ).

What’s sleep apnea?

Sleep apnea is a disorder that causes your breathing to stop and start while you are asleep. This means you may snore or gasp while you are asleep and feel tired during the daytime.

There are two types of sleep apnea:

  • Obstructive sleep apnea is when your upper airway becomes blocked when you sleep. This can happen if you are overweight, for example.
  • Central sleep apnea is when your brain doesn’t send the signals to your chest muscles to control your breathing and is less common than obstructive sleep apnea.

Is TMJ related to sleep apnea?

Research has found a link between TMJ and sleep apnea. A study (1) found that people with two or more symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea had a 73% greater chance of also having TMJD than people with fewer symptoms.

TMJD can be caused when your body pushes the lower jaw forward to open up the airway during an obstructive sleep apnea episode. This stresses the temporomandibular joints and jaw, leading to pain and discomfort.

TMJD, sleep apnea and manual osteopathy

Manual osteopathy can bring relief from TMJD-related sleep apnea using a variety of hands-on techniques.

These include osteoarticular adjustments and myofascial release to bring relief and restore function.

Your manual osteopath may also recommend therapies that trigger the body’s own healing processes, such as laser or ultrasound therapy.

Rest assured that manual osteopathy is a safe and natural treatment that can soothe the pain of TMJD.

Know more about TMJD relief

If you have TMJD linked to sleep apnea, get in touch with the team at Osteo Health.

Call us at 403-814-0404 or book an appointment online at for a natural solution to TMJD.

Approved by Indira Ravaeva. Manual Osteopath. Member of National Manual Osteopathic Society and Osteopathy Australia.


1. Sanders A, Essick G, Fillingim R, Knott C, Ohrbach R, Greenspan J, Diatchenko L, Maixner W, Dubner R, Bair E, Miller V, Slade G.’ Sleep Apnea Symptoms and Risk of Temporomanidublar Disorder,’ Journal of Dental Research, 2013 Jul; 92(7 Suppl): S70–S77. doi: 10.1177/0022034513488140.

Other references used but not quoted in the article

1. John Hopkins Medicine website, ‘Temporomandibular Disorder (TMD),’

2. Mayo Clinic website, ‘Central sleep apnea,’ August 7, 2021,

3. Healthline website, ‘What Is Myofascial Release and Does It Work?’ December 16, 2016,

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