An investigation of the effectiveness of exercise and manual therapy in treating symptoms of TMJ osteoarthritis

Cranio. 2001 Jan;19(1):26-32. doi: 10.1080/08869634.2001.11746148.


The background and purpose of this investigation was to evaluate the use of a treatment protocol which included active and passive jaw movements, manual therapy techniques, correction of body posture, and relaxation techniques for the treatment of temporomandibular joint (TMJ) osteoarthrosis (OA). Twenty consecutive patients suffering from TMJ OA participated in this study.

Inclusion criteria: a. pain in the temporomandibular region; b. symptoms lasting at least three months; and c. radiologically proven OA. All patients were assigned to a waiting list, serving as a no treatment control period. Nineteen patients completed the study. No adverse effects occurred. During the control period (mean duration 35 days), the parameters did not change significantly. After treatment (mean duration 46 days) pain, impairment, and incisal edge clearance improved significantly (Wilcoxon test p < 0.001). At follow-up, pain and impairment were further reduced. The number of patients experiencing no pain at rest (80%), chi-square test p = 0.02) and stress (47%), chi-square test p = 0.03), and no impairment (37%), chi-square test p = 0.05) increased significantly. This therapeutic treatment protocol seems to be useful treatment for the symptoms of clinical dysfunction in OA of the TMJ.

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Clinical Protocols
  • Exercise Therapy*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mandible / physiopathology
  • Mastication / physiology
  • Middle Aged
  • Movement
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Osteoarthritis / physiopathology
  • Osteoarthritis / therapy*
  • Pain Measurement
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Physical Therapy Modalities*
  • Posture / physiology
  • Prospective Studies
  • Range of Motion, Articular / physiology
  • Relaxation Therapy
  • Statistics, Nonparametric
  • Temporomandibular Joint / physiopathology
  • Temporomandibular Joint Disorders / physiopathology
  • Temporomandibular Joint Disorders / therapy*
  • Treatment Outcome