Although oral devices, such as splints and bite guards, are the most prevalent treatments for facial pain associated with temporomandibular disorders, or TMD, patients have found that these remedies are frequently less effective than self-care techniques, such as jaw exercises or warm compresses, according to a new research study published by researchers at the New York University (NYU) College of Dentistry in New York City.
The research study, published in the journal Clinical Oral Investigations, demonstrates that self-care techniques should primarily be utilized to help treat muscle-related temporomandibular disorders or TMD.
TMD, occasionally known as TMJ after the temporomandibular joint, is a collection of prevalent painful conditions which develop in the jaw joint and its surrounding muscles. Myofascial temporomandibular disorder, or mTMD, is a muscular condition which affects over 10 percent of women. Individuals with TMD often suffer from other chronic pain conditions. Research studies found that 7 to 18 percent of people with TMD also experience fibromyalgia, a condition characterized by widespread pain.
Dentists and patients utilize an assortment of treatments to help manage facial pain, such as oral devices like splints and bite guards, pain medicines, including nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, and self-care methods like jaw exercises and hot compresses.
Oral devices are a prevalent first-line treatment for TMD, regardless of research study outcome measures regarding their advantages, stated Vivian Santiago, Ph.D., MPH, research study scientist at the Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology, Radiology, and Medicine at NYU College of Dentistry, and the research study’s leading author.
“While oral splints have been discovered to have some benefits, they have yet to be found to be as successful for patients who have widespread pain when treating mTMD,” she explained.
In this research study, the researchers evaluated what non-medication remedies women with mTMD utilized to handle their pain as well as how successful patients perceived these remedies. The researchers interviewed a total of 125 women including 26 women who had fibromyalgia and mTMD, so as to find out whether treatment differed for patients.
The most frequent treatments reported were oral devices (utilized by 59 percent of participants), physical therapy (utilized by 54 percent of participants), and at-home jaw exercises (utilized by 34 percent of participants). The least frequent treatments reported were acupuncture (utilized by 20 percent), chiropractic care (utilized by 18 percent), trigger point injections (utilized by 14 percent), yoga (utilized by 7 percent), and meditation (utilized by 6 percent). Participants frequently used more than one treatment.
Participants reported the most improvement in their pain from well-known self-care techniques, such as jaw exercises, yoga, meditation, massage, and warm compresses, with over 84 percent reporting that these techniques helped reduce painful symptoms. Only 64 percent of participants who used the oral devices reported that they helped improve their pain. About 11 percent of women who used oral devices stated that these made their pain worse, an area which warrants further research studies.
Oral devices failed to outperform self-care techniques in improving facial pain, according to Karen Raphael, Ph.D., professor at the Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology, Radiology, and Medicine at NYU College of Dentistry, and the research study’s co-author.
“Our outcome measures encourage utilizing self-care techniques as the first line of treatment for mTMD before contemplating more costly interventions,” stated Raphael.
The researchers didn’t find substantial differences between the amount of remedies reported by women with and without fibromyalgia. While the use of alternative treatment options for mTMD was reported among women with fibromyalgia, further research studies are still required. Pain relief tended to be greater through the use of self-care techniques in women with and without fibromyalgia.
“While fibromyalgia is diagnosed by a healthcare professional, such as a rheumatologist, TMD is typically diagnosed and treated by a dentist,” said Santiago. “Our research study demonstrates that dentists must ask patients with facial pain if they also have widespread chronic pain because this might provide more information to help plan their treatment.”
Dr. Alex Jimenez D.C., C.C.S.T. Insight
Fibromyalgia is a health issue characterized by widespread chronic pain accompanied by fatigue, sleep, memory and mood problems. Fibromyalgia has been associated with a variety of other health issues, such as TMD and/or TMJ. Individuals with this painful disorder may often struggle to engage in their everyday physical activities. As a qualified and experienced chiropractor, I’ve helped treat numerous patients with fibromyalgia. It’s important for patients to know that they are not alone when it comes to treating their painful symptoms. Chiropractic care is an alternative treatment option which can help treat a variety of health issues, including fibromyalgia.
The scope of our information is limited to chiropractic, spinal health issues, and functional medicine articles, topics, and discussions. To further discuss the subject matter above, please feel free to ask Dr. Alex Jimenez or contact us at 915-850-0900 .
Curated by Dr. Alex Jimenez
Back pain is one of the most prevalent causes of disability and missed days at work worldwide. Back pain attributes to the second most common reason for doctor office visits, outnumbered only by upper-respiratory infections. Approximately 80 percent of the population will experience back pain at least once throughout their life. Your spine is a complex structure made up of bones, joints, ligaments, and muscles, among other soft tissues. Injuries and/or aggravated conditions, such as herniated discs, can eventually lead to symptoms of back pain. Sports injuries or automobile accident injuries are often the most frequent cause of back pain, however, sometimes the simplest of movements can have painful results. Fortunately, alternative treatment options, such as chiropractic care, can help ease back pain through the use of spinal adjustments and manual manipulations, ultimately improving pain relief.
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