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Do patients with Chronic Pain due to TMJ differ from Chronic Pain Patients due to other causes?

Posted Mar 20 2011 5:38pm

The following published research study, using the clinical assessment tool The Chronic Pain Battery (published by Pain Resource Center, Inc.) explored the differences between patients having chronic pain associated with TMJ disorders and patients having chronic pain due to non-TMJ disorders.

McKinney MW, Lundeen TF, Turner S, Levitt SR. Chronic TM Disorder and Non-TM Disorder Pain: A Comparison of Behavioral and Psychological Characteristics. Jour Craniomandib Practice, 8(1):40-46, 1990.

The purpose of this paper is to determine whether patients with chronic temporomandibular disorder (TMD) pain manifest behavioral, experiential, and psychological characteristics similar to patients with other chronic pain illnesses. The Chronic Pain Battery (CPB), a multidimensional assessment tool for chronic pain patients, was used to compare several important variables between 78 TM disorder (TMD) patients and 98 non-TMD chronic pain patients. The study found that chronic TMD patients had lower "usual" pain intensity and suffering levels, fewer vegetative symptoms associated with depression, higher pain tolerance, less impairment of activity, more hope about treatment outcome, lower health care system utilization, but higher reported stress levels than non-TMD chronic pain patients. The two groups manifested no significant differences in use of narcotics, sedatives, and sleeping pills; levels of depression, anxiety, somatization, hostility, or psychoticism; illness behavior reinforcement in their social surroundings; or ratings of problems with work, family, self-esteem, or suicidal impulses. These findings suggest that chronic TMD pain patients (with a symptom duration of over six months) are behaviorally and psychologically similar to non-TMD chronic pain patients, but that they differ in their perceptions of their disorder, rendering them less handicapped by their problems. Psychological, social, and behavioral treatment methods useful for treating chronic pain syndrome may thus also be applied along with dental therapy for optimal treatment of TMD associated with chronic pain.

More Information on chronic pain and the Chronic Pain Battery can be found at  

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