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Is TMJ Disorder symptom improvement related to treatment or simply to the passage of time-Research Study

Posted Apr 10 2011 7:10pm
Brown DT, Gaudet EL, Jr.. Outcome Measurement for Treated and Untreated TMD Patients Using the TMJ Scale. Jour of Craniomandib Practice, 12(4):216-221, 1994.

Changes in symptom profiles of two groups of treated and untreated temporomandibular disorders (TMD) patients were measured using the TMJScale. Forty-nine consecutive TMD patients were included in the study. Of these, 29 patients were treated using splint therapy, physical therapy, counseling, and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) medications. Patients completed the TMJScale questionnaire prior to treatment and at completion of the TMD therapy. Sixty-five patients were not treated in any manner, having completed the questionnaire during an initial diagnostic study and having declined treatment. They were contacted by mail at least four months later and asked to complete the second questionnaire if they had not received any treatment. Twenty untreated patients returned the completed questionnaire. The initial scale scores for the two groups were similar. Comparison of the two tests of both groups revealed the treated group improved significantly, while the untreated group remained unchanged, except for a statistically non-significant increase of scale scores (increased symptom severity) for joint dysfunction and range of motion limitation. Younger patients responded more favorably to therapy than older patients. The findings do not support the conclusions of the few previous studies that found TMD are often self-limiting and rarely progress to chronic intracapsular derangement. The findings strongly support the hypothesis that symptom improvement was related to treatment and not solely to the passage of time.

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