Our aim was to investigate bilateral, widespread pressure-pain hypersensitivity in nerve, muscle, and joint tissues in women with myofascial temporomandibular disorders (TMD) without concomitant comorbid conditions. Twenty women with myofascial TMD (aged 20 to 28 years old), and 20 healthy matched women (aged 20 to 29 years), were recruited. Pressure-pain thresholds (PPT) were bilaterally assessed over supra-orbital (V1), infra-orbital (V2), mental (V3) nerves, median (C5), radial (C6) and ulnar (C7) nerve trunks, the C5-C6 zygapophyseal joint, the lateral pole of the temporo mandibular joint (TMJ), and the tibialis anterior muscle in a blinded design. The results showed that PPTs were significantly decreased bilaterally over the supra-orbital, infra-orbital, and mental nerves, median, ulnar, and radial nerve trunks, the lateral pole of the TMJ, the C5-C6 zygapophyseal joint, and the tibialis anterior muscle in patients with myofascial TMD as compared to healthy controls (all sites: P < .001). There were no significant differences in the magnitude of PPT decreases between the trigeminal and extratrigeminal test sites. PPT over the mental nerve, the TMJ, C5-C6 zygapophyseal joint and tibialis anterior muscle were negatively correlated to both duration of pain symptoms and TMD pain intensity (P < .05). Our findings revealed bilateral, widespread pressure hypersensitivity in women presenting with myofascial TMD, suggesting that widespread central sensitization is involved in myofascial TMD women.
Perspective: This article reveals the presence of bilateral and widespread pressure-pain hypersensitivity in women with myofascial TMD, suggesting that widespread central sensitization is involved in myofascial TMD. This finding has implications for development of management strategies.