Sleep Apnea Sufferers May Benefit from Chiropractic Care

Research News Staff
Sleep Apnea Sufferers May Benefit from Chiropractic Care

New Research Adds to Growing Body of Evidence

Recent research reporting on improvement in a 51-year-old male reveals that chiropractic may play an important role in managing people with sleep apnea. The research, reported in the Annals of Vertebral Subluxation Research, includes a review of the literature supporting the role of chiropractic in patients suffering from sleep apnea and related issues.


“Research is revealing that there is a relationship between abnormalities in the spine, the nervous system, brain and respiration” stated Dr. Matthew McCoy, a chiropractor, public health researcher and editor of the journal that published the study. “Basic science research shows that the proper development and function of the respiratory centers and their relationship to the head and neck relies on proper structure and movement of the spine.” 

Research has shown not only that proper breathing relies on normal structural integrity and joint movement, but that complex neurochemical communication and pathways involved in helping humans to develop and function normally are tied into spinal biomechanics and their related neurological pathways. 

“It makes perfect sense when you think about it” stated Dr. McCoy. “And now we are seeing more and more basic science and clinical research showing the relationship between abnormal spinal function and the diagnosis of conditions such as sleep apnea.”

According to McCoy, “Researchers believe that using techniques that restore spinal stability and correct abnormal posture through proper muscle and ligament alignment while restoring balance to the body makes a difference in how we sleep.”

In the case reported on in the article, a 51-year-old man presented to a chiropractic clinic for chiropractic care with a chief complaint of sleeping problems associated with sleep apnea that had been going on for 8 years.  His history revealed that he had been a desk worker for the last 30 years and also had a significant history of spine trauma. 

His examination revealed numerous postural deformities including increased thoracic kyphosis, forward head posture, and abnormal position and movement of the spinal vertebra in his neck which leads to nerve interference. It is this interference, called vertebral subluxations, that chiropractors correct. He was seen for twenty-four weeks and began to see an improvement in his sleep apnea after just three visits. 

The authors of the study call for more research on the role of chiropractic care in these types of disorders.         

Contact Information:

Matthew McCoy DC, MPH

Annals of Vertebral Subluxation Research

McCoy Press