Aims: Sleep bruxism, which is a form of orofacial motor activity (OMA), and jaw muscle pain and soreness have for a long time been thought to be mutually linked. The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of clinical and experimental jaw muscle pain and soreness on sleep OMA. Methods: Twelve healthy subjects aged 21 to 31 years old participated in this study. All of them were aware of signs or symptoms of sleep OMA and were subdivided into a group with clinical pain complaints (n = 5) and a group without pain (n = 7). All subjects slept in the laboratory for 3 consecutive nights, including a habituation night, a baseline night, and an experimental night. Electroencephalographic (EEG) activity and electromyographic (EMG) activity from the masseter muscles were recorded during sleep. On the experimental night, before sleep, all subjects received an injection of capsaicin (0.1 mL, 100 µg/mL) into the masseter muscle that had demonstrated the most EMG activity during the previous recordings. The OMA events and episodes were quantified and were compared between the baseline night and the experimental night. Every evening and morning during the study period, pain intensity, unpleasantness, and soreness were scored by the subjects on a visual analog scale (VAS), and pain detection thresholds (PDTs) in the masseter muscles and maximal voluntary occlusal force (MVOF) were also measured. Results: Pre-sleep injection of capsaicin did not cause significant differences between groups in peak pain intensity on the VAS. The PDT and MVOF did not show any significant differences between groups, injection and non-injection sides, or baseline and experimental nights and mornings. The number of EMG episodes/hour sleep, the number of bursts/hour sleep, and total area of all bursts and episodes during the baseline night were significantly higher in the subjects without pain than in the subjects with pain. However, the capsaicin injection did not cause any significant changes in these parameters. Conclusion: This study suggests that an acute pre-sleep painful stimulus does not have any effect on OMA during sleep, but the study extends previous findings that clinical jaw muscle pain and soreness are associated with less EMG activity in the masticatory muscles.
J OROFAC PAIN 2001;15:245-256.
Key words: masticatory muscles, capsaicin, bruxism, pain detection thresholds, bite force, electromyography