Clinical effectiveness of laser acupuncture in the treatment of temporomandibular joint disorder

J Formos Med Assoc. 2014 Aug;113(8):535-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jfma.2012.07.039. Epub 2012 Aug 29.


Background/purpose: Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD) is a general term for diseases of the temporomandibular joint and orofacial muscles. In this study, we tested whether laser acupuncture was effective for the treatment of TMD.

Methods: Twenty patients with TMD were treated with diode K-Laser (wavelength 800 nm, energy density 100.5 J/cm(2)) once a week at four acupuncture points including three standard ipsilateral local points (ST6, ST7, Ashi point) and one contralateral distal point (LI4). A 10-cm visual analogue scale (0 no pain and 10 the most severe pain) was used for measuring the pain intensity before and after the treatment.

Results: Seventeen out of 20 patients (85%) showed various degrees of pain relief after laser acupuncture treatment. The average pain score was 6.3 ± 1.6 before treatment and 2.5 ± 2.2 after treatment. Significant pain relief after laser acupuncture treatment was achieved (p = 0.0003, Wilcoxon signed rank test). The 17 patients showed an average pain relief of 63 ± 31%. There were six patients who showed no TMD symptoms after an average of four treatments of laser acupuncture. The other 11 patients showed partial relief of TMD symptoms after treatment. Although the pain was still present, it was less and was acceptable. No side effects were reported in any patients during or after laser acupuncture treatments.

Conclusion: Laser acupuncture may be an alternative treatment modality for TMD because it is non-invasive, results in partial or total relief of pain, and has no side effects.

Keywords: laser acupuncture; temporomandibular joint disorder; treatment.

MeSH terms

  • Acupuncture Points
  • Acupuncture Therapy / methods*
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lasers
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pain Management
  • Pain Measurement / statistics & numerical data*
  • Temporomandibular Joint Disorders / therapy*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Young Adult