Patients' experiences of therapeutic jaw exercises in the treatment of masticatory myofascial pain-A postal questionnaire study

J Oral Rehabil. 2019 Sep;46(9):800-806. doi: 10.1111/joor.12816. Epub 2019 May 25.


Background: The most common non-dental pain in the orofacial region is pain associated with temporomandibular disorders (TMD), and jaw exercises are a common treatment in these cases. Since masticatory myofascial pain has components of an affective and cognitive nature, knowledge about the patients' experiences of the condition and treatment is important.

Objective: The aim was to study the patients' experiences of jaw exercises in the treatment of masticatory myofascial pain.

Methods: A questionnaire, containing 24 statements that should be answered according to a five-item verbal Likert scale, was sent to 150 consecutive patients with masticatory myofascial pain according to the Research Diagnostic Criteria for TMD after they had been treated with jaw exercises for 3-12 months.

Results: The response rate was 73% (n = 109), and 79% of the responders were women. 71% of the patients reported that it was easier to remember the jaw exercises if they put them in conjunction with an already established routine. Before examination, 49% of the patients suspected serious disease behind their symptoms, but these concerns were greatly relieved by the information provided. As a result, 78% reported that information about the underlying cause of their symptoms made them more involved in the treatment. Finally, 72% of the respondents reported that the jaw exercises were effective in reducing their symptoms.

Conclusions: Information about the cause of the symptoms and the treatment is important to reassure and make the patient involved in the treatment. Most patients report that jaw exercises are an effective treatment and they appreciated to have tools to tackle the problems themselves if the symptoms should return.

Keywords: dentistry; jaw exercises; oro-facial pain; physical treatment; physiotherapy; temporomandibular disorders.

MeSH terms

  • Exercise Therapy
  • Facial Pain
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Myofascial Pain Syndromes*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Temporomandibular Joint Disorders*