Associations among temporomandibular disorders, chronic neck pain and neck pain disability in computer office workers: a pilot study

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Neck pain is the most common musculoskeletal complaint among computer office workers. There are several reports about the coexistence of neck pain and temporomandibular disorders (TMD). However, there are no studies investigating this association in the context of work involving computers. The purpose of this study was to verify the association between TMD and neck pain in computer office workers. Fifty-two female computer workers who were divided into two groups: (i) those with self-reported chronic neck pain and disability (WNP) (n = 26) and (ii) those without self-reported neck pain (WONP) (n = 26), and a control group (CG) consisting of 26 women who did not work with computers participated in this study. Clinical assessments were performed to establish a diagnosis of TMD, and craniocervical mechanical pain was assessed using manual palpation and pressure pain threshold (PPT). The results of this study showed that the WNP group had a higher percentage of participants with TMD than the WONP group (42·30% vs. 23·07%, χ2 = 5·70, P = 0·02). PPTs in all cervical sites were significantly lower in the groups WNP and WONP compared to the CG. Regression analysis revealed TMD, neck pain and work-related factors to be good predictors of disability (R2 = 0·93, P < 0·001). These results highlighted the importance of considering the work conditions of patients with TMD, as neck disability in computer workers is explained by the association among neck pain, TMD and unfavourable workplace conditions. Consequently, this study attempted to emphasise the importance of considering work activity for minimising neck pain-related disability.

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