The C.A.M. Report
Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Fair, Balanced, and to the Point
  • About this web log

    This blog is intended as an objective and dispassionate source of information on the latest CAM research. Since my background is in pharmacy and allopathic medicine, I view all CAM as advancing through the development pipeline to eventually become integrated into mainstream medical practice. Some will succeed while others fail. But all are treated fairly here.

  • About the author

    John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at www.Vicus.com, a complementary and alternative medicine website.

  • Common sense considerations

    The material on this weblog is for informational purposes. It is not medical advice or counsel. Be smart, consult your health professional before using CAM.

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    3 reviews of acupuncture for temporomandibular disorders

    The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is located on each side of your head in front of your ears, where your lower jawbone meets your skull. This joint allows you to talk, chew, and yawn.

    To start, researchers at San Pablo CEU University, in Madrid, Spain reviewed the effectiveness of using acupuncture treatment for temporomandibular disorders (TMD).

    First, the details.

    • 4 studies were included in the review.
    • All compared acupuncture treatment to placebo.

    And, the results.

    • 3 studies described results that were statistically significant in relation to short-term improvement of TMD signs and symptoms of a muscular origin.
    • 1 study reported no significant difference between acupuncture and sham acupuncture.

    The bottom line?

    The authors concluded, “Research into the long-term effects of acupuncture in the treatment of TMD is needed.”

    2 other reviews of acupuncture for TMD have been published this year. The conclusions are generally positive, but limited by poorly designed studies.

    First, 2 researchers writing in the Journal of Orofacial Pain concluded there is “moderate evidence that acupuncture is an effective intervention to reduce symptoms associated with TMD.” However, larger studies are needed.

    In another broader review of treatment options for TMD, also published this year, researchers at Malmö University, in Sweden concluded, “There is some evidence that the following can be effective in alleviating TMD pain:”

    • Occlusal appliances
    • Acupuncture
    • Behavioral therapy
    • Jaw exercises
    • Postural training
    • Some pharmacological treatments

    Evidence for the effect of electrophysical modalities and surgery is insufficient, and occlusal adjustment seems to have no effect.

    However, a limitation of most studies, according to these authors, is the considerable variation in study design, which makes definitive conclusions impossible.

    6/2/10 14:21 JR

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