The effect of supervised exercise on localized TMD pain and TMD pain associated with generalized pain.

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Abstract

OBJECTIVES

To evaluate the effect of a supervised exercise program in patients with localized/regional temporomandibular disorder (TMD) pain and with TMD associated with generalized pain.

MATERIAL AND METHODS

Consecutively referred patients with localized/regional TMD pain (n = 56; 46 women and 10 men, mean age 44 years) and TMD associated with generalized pain (n = 21; 21 women, mean age 41 years) participated. Patients underwent a 10-session structured supervised exercise program over 10-20 weeks that included relaxation, and coordination and resistance training of the jaw and neck/shoulders. The outcomes were jaw pain intensity on the Numerical Rating Scale, endurance time for jaw opening and protrusion against resistance and chewing, and effect of pain on daily activities.

RESULTS

After the exercise program, a reduction in jaw pain was reported by the local (p = .001) and general (p = .011) pain groups. There were no significant differences in jaw pain intensity between the groups, before (p = .062) or after treatment (p = .121). Endurance time increased for both groups for jaw opening/protrusion (both p < .001) and chewing (both p = .002). The effect of jaw pain on daily activities decreased after exercise compared to baseline for both the local (p < .001) and general (p = .008) pain groups.

CONCLUSIONS

Supervised exercise can reduce TMD pain and increase capacity in patients with TMD. The results suggest that activation of the jaw motor system with exercise has a positive effect in patients with localized/regional TMD pain and TMD associated with generalized pain.

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