Abstract: Tactile stimulation as a complementary treatment of temporomandibular disorders in patients with fibromyalgia syndrome. A pilot study

Swed Dent J. 2005;29(1):17-25.

Adiels AM, Helkimo M, Magnusson T.

Department of Stomatognathic Physiology, The Institute for Postgraduate Dental Education, Jonkoping, Sweden. anne-marie.adiels@vgregion.se

Pain of long duration is a common suffering in modern man. One such pain condition is fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS). Opinions about what treatment regimen that are to be used in these patients are diverging, and many of the treatments suggested are not, or only poorly, scientifically investigated.

The aim of this pilot investigation was to evaluate if FMS patients with signs and symptoms of temporomandibular disorders (TMDs) refractory to conservative TMD treatment would respond positively to tactile stimulation in respect of local and/or general symptoms.

Ten female patients fulfilling the inclusion criteria received such treatment once a week during a 10-week period. At the end of treatment, a positive effect on both clinical signs and subjective symptoms of TMD, as well as on general body pain, was registered. Eight out of 10 patients also perceived an improved quality of their sleep. At follow-ups after 3 and 6 months some relapse of both signs and symptoms could be seen, but there was still an improvement compared to the initial degree of local and general complaints.

At the 6-months follow-up, half of the patients also reported a lasting improvement of their sleep quality. One hypothetical explanation to the positive treatment effect experienced by the tactile stimulation might be the resulting improvement of the patients’ quality of sleep leading to increased serotonin levels. The results of the present pilot study are so encouraging that they warrant an extended, controlled study.

PMID: 15898360 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]

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