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Minerva Stomatologica 2006 June;55(6):355-66


language: English, Italian

Efficacy of physical therapy in the treatment of masticatory myofascial pain: a literature review

Orlando B., Manfredini D., Bosco M

Unit of Prosthetic Dentistry Department of Neuroscience University of Pisa, Pisa, Italy


The term temporomandibular disorders (TMD) is used to indicate a heterogeneous group of painful conditions involving masticatory apparatus and its related structures whose complicated etiology involves a number of diagnostic and taxonomical matters. The prevalence of TDM has remarkably increased in the last years, such that, at present, these clinical conditions represent the most frequent cause of orofacial pain in the general population: in particular, among these disorders, pathologies affecting masticatory muscles have a considerable clinical and epidemiological relevance.
Due to the high prevalence of masticatory myofascial pain, as well as the taxonomical issue that emerges from literature data, the wide range of treatment modalities proposed for this condition seems to be justifiable. Among the various therapeutic solutions employed in the management of masticatory myofascial pain, it is interesting to focus on the efficacy of the different kinds of physical therapy. In fact, due to the difficulties related with the attempt to isolate a sole etiological factor, at the beginning should be carried out reversible and noninvasive interventions: in these terms, the use of physical therapy seems to be reasonable. The aim of the present paper is to provide a critical review of the literature about the use of physical therapy approaches in relieving pain symptoms that often accompany masticatory muscles disorders. This study seems to suggest that the employ of physical therapy could be useful in the treatment of myogenous TDM, even though further studies are needed to assess the efficacy of this tool.

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