Physiotherapy for Temporomandibular joint disorder

Is a combination of manual therapy and exercise effective?

Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD) is a collection of symptoms which affects the jaw and surrounding structures. Unfortunately, there is still no clear consensus as to which is the most effective way to manage this condition.

This study explored whether a combination of manual therapy and exercise could improve symptoms of TMD and found that such a program was able to yield positive outcomes in both orofacial pain and headache symptoms.

Based on the results of this study, a combination of manual therapy and exercise can yield positive results in females experiencing TMD symptoms.

> From: Calixtre et al., J Oral Rehabil 46 (2019) 109-119 . All rights reserved to John Wiley & Sons Ltd. Click here for the online summary.

Expert opinion by Willem-Paul Wiertz

This study opted for a combination of treatment modalities, therefore we are unable to determine whether an individual technique or the combination resulted in the positive outcomes. However, this does reflect general practice, whereby a clinicial would typically utilize several techniques in one treatment session.

Furthermore, it was interesting to note that the same manual therapy techniques applied at the same upper cervical spine joints, regardless of individual presentiation, still resulted in positive outcomes. This may suggest the importance of addressing the upper cervical spine when managing patients with TMD. 

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