An investigation into the relationship of myofascial trigger points in the head and neck region in association with temporomandibular joint dysfunction
Seagreen, Michelle Elizabeth
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Introduction: The aetiology of Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction (TMJD) is not fully understood and the treatment of TMJD is controversial. Most treatment plans are based on postulated aetiology. Treatment plans currently range from pharmacological to surgical and occasionally physical therapy is also used for any myofascial component. Myofacial Trigger Points (MFTP’s) in the head and neck region have similar pain referral patterns as TMJD and there is overlap in aetiology and epidemiology. If correlation can be proved to exist between the severities of TMJD and MFTP’s then the treatment of MFTP’s can potentially decrease the severity of TMJD and then the more radical treatments can be avoided. Objectives: To determine whether TMJD was present and establish severity. To locate any MFTP’s in the Sternocleidomastiod (SCM), Temporalis, Masseter, Posterior Cervical (PC), Lateral and Medial Pterygoid muscles and determine their severity. Methods: A random sample of 25 participants were evaluated. A p value <0.05 was considered as statistically significant. Quantitative variables were summarized using median, inter-quartile range and range due to skewness of distribution, while categorical variables were described using frequency distributions and bar charts. Spearman’s nonparametric correlation analysis, and curve estimation were used to determine the existence of a relationship between TMJ severity and MFTP severity. A scatterplot was used to graphically assess the relationship. Conclusion: The results suggested that the participants were actually chronic neck pain suffers that developed TMJD over the long term as a result of chronic neck pain changing the kinematic biomechanics or as a result of a completely different and independent event as suggested by Foreman and Croft (1995).