Help - CPAP = Severe low back pain

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Help - CPAP = Severe low back pain

Postby bossman284 » Wed Mar 21, 2012 2:18 pm

I have been using a CPAP machine since October 2011. Within the last two months I have developed severe lower back pain that starts around 4AM and wakes me up to the point where I cannot get back to sleep.

Before the machine I slept either on my side or stomach and now it's exclusively on my back. I assumed my back pain was due to my new position and have tried the pill under my knees but that hasen't helped.

My Apnea is severe and my pressure level is 14. Because of the higher pressure I feel like the only way to get a good seal on my full face mask is to make the straps very tight. This got me thinking... could my back pain be because of the mask being too tight? Is the tight strap across the back of my neck causing my back pain? Is the tightness of the mask keeping my mouth closed akin to cleenching my teeth causing me pain? I am at my breaking point, the pain is so severe it is slowly driving me insane. I've had an MRI and there is nothing wrong with my back. I'm in physical therapy for a possible back sprain and it is doing nothing. Advil sort of helps...but how much advil can you take.

I've read threads about CPAP and back pain here but the seem to talk about upper to mid back pain.

Can anyone shed some light on this for me before I lose my mind!
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Re: Help - CPAP = Severe low back pain

Postby Todzo » Wed Mar 21, 2012 5:34 pm

bossman284 wrote:I have been using a CPAP machine since October 2011. Within the last two months I have developed severe lower back pain that starts around 4AM and wakes me up to the point where I cannot get back to sleep.

Before the machine I slept either on my side or stomach and now it's exclusively on my back. I assumed my back pain was due to my new position and have tried the pill under my knees but that hasen't helped.

My Apnea is severe and my pressure level is 14. Because of the higher pressure I feel like the only way to get a good seal on my full face mask is to make the straps very tight. This got me thinking... could my back pain be because of the mask being too tight? Is the tight strap across the back of my neck causing my back pain? Is the tightness of the mask keeping my mouth closed akin to cleenching my teeth causing me pain? I am at my breaking point, the pain is so severe it is slowly driving me insane. I've had an MRI and there is nothing wrong with my back. I'm in physical therapy for a possible back sprain and it is doing nothing. Advil sort of helps...but how much advil can you take.

I've read threads about CPAP and back pain here but the seem to talk about upper to mid back pain.

Can anyone shed some light on this for me before I lose my mind!


Hi,

Six months, for me, would be enough time to find and adjust one or two problems with CPAP I might have. I do this process by constantly monitoring how my therapy is going by using the data the machine records through the software I have obtained and by a few other means (see my signature). The truth is that every night, week, month, and season are different so you need this constant feedback to see what is really going on. It may well be that part of this is that you are under treated for your Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA).

I find that my mask fit is better and much more consistent if I add some controlling "straps" to the way the mask is strapped to my head. In my case my head seems to be shaped in a way that tends to make the lower strap ride lower and the upper strap ride higher (and sort of off my head) if I do not add these control straps which simply keep the two parts from separating too far. Now, the lower strap rides up against the bottom of my ears and ends well above my vertebrae while the top strap lands a bit lower than where my skull rolls down toward my neck. The fit is to my skull and off if my vertebrae which is more comfortable in terms of my neck and more consistent (independent) as I move my head. I sleep in every position. If I were still having trouble with my mask fit I might consider one of those hose control setups (Google: "cpap hose control").

In the olden days they used to take pans filled with hot coals and warm the bed they were just about to jump into. In my case, blessed with forever warm hands, I use them to warm my back side, stomach, and chest as I go to fall asleep. I think it works well partly due to the fact that it relaxes the muscles so nicely. In today's world, I guess they use hot water bottles and such for this before bedtime bed warming ritual. I also find it helpful sometimes to spend a few minutes on my treadmill before hopping into a cold bed. Anyway, relaxed muscles for me makes the back feel better and be better.

Some beds tend to de-form easily. If you always sleep on your back, perhaps your bed has a new shape your back does not like. I have often added some plywood between the springs and mattress to help control this sort of thing, and often flip my mattress as well. I guess there is nothing we do not have to eventually replace.

If your doctor approves and you can, walking is good for OSA and good for the back in my experience. I have found that constantly wearing a pedometer helps remind me to get out and walk or use the treadmill if the weather is not good. It helps to start with short walks and build up.

I do hope you find some good answers!

Todzo
AHI=52 SpO2 Nadir=55% (!!!) Focus & Vigilance problems w/PTSD from Trauma
CPAP since 2003 Respironics REMstar Auto A-flex with EncoreViewer and SleepyHead SW
Pulse oximeter CMS-50-F, night audio recorded via Audacity or Linux “sox”. Zeo.
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Re: Help - CPAP = Severe low back pain

Postby robysue » Wed Mar 21, 2012 8:20 pm

bossman284 wrote:I have been using a CPAP machine since October 2011. Within the last two months I have developed severe lower back pain that starts around 4AM and wakes me up to the point where I cannot get back to sleep.

Before the machine I slept either on my side or stomach and now it's exclusively on my back. I assumed my back pain was due to my new position and have tried the pill under my knees but that hasen't helped.
My guess is that your back just doesn't like it when you sleep on your back. Mine sure doesn't.

So---why not try to figure out how to sleep in your old favorite positions? Sleeping on your side with a CPAP mask is not that hard. And some people even manage to figure out a way to sleep on their stomach with the mask on. Google "Falcon position for sleeping" and you should get some hits showing one CPAP-friendly stomach sleeping position.

For what it's worth, it took me many months to figure out how to sleep with my mask on and curled into my hubby's side (my old favorite sleep position). But once I figured it out, I started sleeping much more soundly and without the neck or back discomfort that had developed when I was sleeping in positions that were new to me..
current settings Min EPAP = 4, Max IPAP = 8 and Rise time = 3

8/1/2010 sleep study results:
AHI = 3.9 [AHI = (#OA +#CA + #H w/desat) per hour]
RDI = 23.4 [RDI = (#OA +CA + #H w/desat + #H w/arousal) per hour]
Dx: Moderate OSA
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Machine: PR System One BiPAP Auto
Mask: Swift FX for Her
Humidifier: System One Heated Humidif
Year Diagnosed: 2010

Re: Help - CPAP = Severe low back pain

Postby jessy 49 » Wed Mar 21, 2012 10:54 pm

Loosen that mask! I have a pressure of 13 and my mask is so loose that it sags off my face until I turn my cpap on and it fills with air. Unless there is something else going on, you should be able to sleep on any side or back or front if you wish.
Severe OSA
ResMed S8 Elite with ResMed Activa LT mask, pressure 14
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Re: Help - CPAP = Severe low back pain

Postby Scrapula » Sat Mar 24, 2012 6:52 pm

I have bad facet joint arthritis of the back. I sleep on my back and use a good memory foam mattress. It conforms to my shape and comes right back to the original shape when I move. You can get a good one online for a fraction of the cost. Also make sure your pillow gives you good support. About the ibuprofen, make sure you take it with food. You can take 800mg per dose every 6 hours. I'm a pharmacist.
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PostThis post was deleted by Daniel on Fri Jun 15, 2012 12:30 pm.
Reason: Duplicate Post. Already posted in the HELP Section



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