People with TMD (temporomandibular disorder) who seek osteopathic therapy rather than surgery tend to have better results, according to a study.
The research, published in the Journal of Orofacial Pain provides support for an osteopathic approach that stresses restoring movement and function to joints and muscles before addressing symptoms or other problems.
The study found that patients under osteopathic care reported improvement in all outcome measures after three months, including pain, depression and quality of life. After one year they were still improving, but the rate of improvement had slowed down significantly.
Surgery was not at all beneficial over the long term for these patients. However, surgery did provide some relief in the short term.
Researchers found that no matter what treatments patients received, they were mostly likely to report improvement at three months. At one year, only 36% reported their symptoms had improved, but osteopathy was more successful than any other treatment modality in this regard.
Another difference between this study and studies that focused on surgery is that the patients in this study were all still receiving some form of care after one year.
TMD can cause pain in the jaw, temples and face, and is often associated with headaches, neck pain, dizziness and ringing in the ears. It is thought to affect as many as one in four people at some point in their lives.
The cause of TMD is not yet known, but it is thought to be the result of a combination of factors, such as problems with the joints that connect the jaw to the skull, tension in the muscles that control the jaw, and problems with chewing.
Osteopathy is a type of manual medicine that uses touch, massage, stretching and other techniques to address problems with muscles, bones, joints and other tissues. It is usually used to treat pain and dysfunction in the body.
To find out more about TMJ pain and how osteopathy can help, reach out to our team at Seaview Health Group near Mentone.