Role of upper cervical spine in temporomandibular disorders

J Back Musculoskelet Rehabil. 2017 Nov 6;30(6):1245-1250. doi: 10.3233/BMR-169620.


Background: Temporomandibular disorders (TMDs) are prevalent multifactorial pathologies in which the actual role of the cervical region position is controversial.

Objective: To analyze the relationship between the position of the upper cervical rachis and the symptoms of TMD.

Methods: Sixty women were recruited to this study. All of them completed a questionnaire and were subjected to a temporomadibular exploration to create two different groups: a TMD Group (n= 30) - women who suffered TMD symptoms according to the evaluation; and a control group (n= 30) - women who were free from TMD symptoms. Two X-ray examinations were performed in all the women: a lateral one and a frontal one with mouth open to assess the C1-C0 distance and the craniocervical angle.

Results: ANOVA showed that the TMD and control women had similar C1-C0 distances and craniocervical angles (p> 0.05). Pearson correlation did not indicate any relationship between the craniocervical position and the symptomatology of TMD (r=- 0.070).

Conclusions: TMD symptomatology is unrelated to alterations in craniocervical position (C0-C1 distance and craniocervical angle). Women with and without TMD showed a similar prevalence of alteration in the craniocervical position.

Keywords: Cervical vertebrae; temporomandibular joint disorders; upper cervical spine.

Publication types

  • Observational Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Cervical Vertebrae / diagnostic imaging*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Physical Examination
  • Temporomandibular Joint Disorders / physiopathology*
  • Young Adult