Craniomandibular pain, oral parafunctions, and psychological stress in a longitudinal case study

J Oral Rehabil. 2004 Aug;31(8):738-45. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2842.2004.01313.x.


In a single case study, the most frequently suggested contributing factors to craniomandibular pain, viz., oral parafunctions and psychological stress, were studied in more detail. During a 13-week study period, questionnaires were completed, in which, among others, jaw muscle pain, bruxism behaviour, and experienced/anticipated stress were noted. During about 40% of the nights, nocturnal masticatory muscle activity (NMMA) was recorded, using single-channel electromyography (EMG). The number of NMMA events per recorded hour was scored, using a detection threshold of 10% of the maximum voluntary contraction level. This threshold was established in a separate study, in which EMG was compared with polysomnography. Stepwise regression analyses indicated, that morning jaw muscle pain could be explained by evening jaw muscle pain for 64% and by alcohol intake for another 2%. In turn, evening jaw muscle pain was explained by daytime clenching for 56% and by vacuum sucking of the tongue for an additional 6%. Finally, daytime clenching was significantly explained by experienced stress for 30%. Data of the recorded nights showed, that variations in NMMA did not contribute to variations in morning jaw muscle pain. This case study corroborates the paradigm that experienced stress may be related to daytime clenching and, in turn, to evening and morning jaw muscle pain.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Electromyography
  • Facial Pain / physiopathology
  • Facial Pain / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Masticatory Muscles / physiopathology
  • Middle Aged
  • Polysomnography
  • Regression Analysis
  • Stress, Psychological / etiology*
  • Stress, Psychological / physiopathology
  • Temporomandibular Joint Disorders / physiopathology
  • Temporomandibular Joint Disorders / psychology*