Background: This nonrandomized matched study investigates jaw exercise effect on anxiety/depressive symptoms in head and neck cancer patients with trismus during 2 years postradiotherapy.
Methods: Fifty patients with trismus postradiotherapy were included in a 10-week jaw-training intervention. A matched control group was included (N = 50). Maximum interincisal opening (MIO) ≤ 35 mm was used as the trismus criterion. Patients were assessed using MIO and Hospital Anxiety Depression Scale preintervention, postintervention, and at 2-year follow-up.
Results: A significant difference was found in depressive symptoms between the intervention group and control group (4% vs 33%) at 2-year follow-up, with more control group patients reporting possible depression. In the intervention group, significantly fewer patients had possible/probable depressive symptoms at follow-up (4%) compared to preintervention (34%). No change was seen within the control group.
Conclusion: Structured jaw exercise in patients with postradiation trismus had positive effects on MIO and depressive symptoms but does not seem to have any significant effects on anxiety symptoms.
Keywords: head and neck cancer; mental health; quality of life; radiation therapy; trismus.
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