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

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Abstract

Objective:

To investigate the effectiveness of exercise therapy on pain, function, and mobility outcomes in patients with temporomandibular joint dysfunction.

Study design:

Systematic review with meta-analysis.

Methods:

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.

Results:

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.

Conclusion:

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.

Level of evidence:

Therapy, level 1a-.

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