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Department of Rehabilitation Medicine

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Targeting Temporomandibular Disorder Pain Treatment to Hormonal Fluctuations: A Randomized Clinical Trial


Turner JA, Mancl L, Huggins KH, Sherman JJ, Lentz G, LeResche L.



Publication Info:

Pain, 152(9):2074-2084


Mounting evidence supports the importance of hormonal fluctuations in temporomandibular disorder (TMD) pain among women. Stabilizing influential hormones or having a plan and skills for coping with hormonally related increases in TMD pain, therefore, may be beneficial for women with TMD pain. This randomized clinical trial evaluated the short- and long-term efficacy of 3 interventions for women with TMD pain: (1) dental hygienist-delivered pain self-management training (SMT; n=59); (2) the same dental hygienist-delivered pain self-management training, but with a focus on menstrual cycle-related changes in pain and other symptoms (targeted SMT, or TSMT; n=55); and (3) continuous oral contraceptive therapy (6-month trial) aimed at stabilizing hormones believed to be influential in TMD pain (COCT; n=57). Study participants completed outcome (pain, activity interference, depression) and process (pain beliefs, catastrophizing, coping effectiveness) measures before randomization, and 6 and 12months later. Intent-to-treat analyses supported the benefits of the SMT and TSMT interventions relative to COCT. Targeting the self-management treatment to menstrual cycle-related symptoms did not increase the treatment's efficacy. The benefits of the self-management interventions relative to COCT for pain and activity interference were statistically significant at 12 months, but not at 6 months, whereas the benefits for the process measures generally were apparent at both time points. COCT was associated with multiple adverse events (none serious). The study provides further support for long-term benefits of a safe, low-intensity (2 in-person sessions and 6 brief telephone contacts), dental hygienist-delivered self-management treatment for TMD pain.

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