The effectiveness of exercise therapy for temporomandibular dysfunction: A systematic review and meta-analysis.

The aim of this study was to investigate the effectiveness of exercise therapy on pain, function, and mobility outcomes in patients with temporomandibular joint dysfunction.

A systematic review and meta-analysis undertaken following Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses guidelines. Studies that met the inclusion criteria: (1) randomized controlled trials; (2) a population with the diagnosis of temporomandibular joint dysfunction; and (3) interventions that included exercise therapy were considered for review. When studies demonstrated homogeneity on outcome measures, the mean differences or standardized mean differences with 95% confidence interval were calculated and pooled in a meta-analysis for pooled synthesis.

Six articles with a total of 419 participants were included in the review and only four studies were included in the meta-analysis. Mobility and mixed exercise therapy approaches appear to be the most common exercise approaches utilized for management of temporomandibular joint dysfunction. Exercise therapy and the associated dosage provide moderate short-term and varying long-term benefits in reduction of pain and improvement of range of motion of the in patients with temporomandibular joint dysfunction.

Included studies suggest a mobility or a mixed approach to exercise therapies have impact on reducing pain, significant impact for increasing range of motion, but lack a significant impact for functional improvement.

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Rikki Stricker
Rikki Stricker
May 12, 2017 at 7:40 pm

Dear Scott – would be interesting to read this one. What kind of diagnoses did they choose for the studies? What was the treatment looking like? TMJ disorders are pretty complex and look pretty difficult at the very first sight. The most interesting aspects to me, when I began to work in these fields more than 10 year ago, was the complexity of the human body in general…you cannot just focus on the local problem. One has to check a lot of neighbor structures, like the cervical spine, shoulder, cranium for example BUT the therapist also have “general influencers” – has to check the statics – means screening from head to toe. A very important joint to my opinion is the sacro-ilical joint: when in blockage, you always find an adaptation on the joint between the head and the Atlas (C0-C1) and the joint between the Atlas and the Axis, means the first and second vertebra (C1-C2). In a row you will – with a high percentage – find an adaption on the TMJ. And if you don´t treat these two spots, you will never get a satisfying outcome – means your patient won´t get ride of pain and dysfunction. And this is just ONE important link when local therapy doesn´t work! Warm regards, Rikki

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