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Volume 14 , Issue 1
Winter 2000

Pages 31-36

Topical Application of Capsaicin for the Treatment of Localized Pain in the Temporomandibular Joint Area

Ephraim Winocur, DMD/Anat Gavish, DMD/Michele Halachmi, DMD/Ilana Eli, DMD/Esther Gazit, DMD

PMID: 11203735

Aims: To determine the effectiveness of topical capsaicin cream application on localized pain in the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) area. Methods: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study was conducted on 30 patients suffering from unilateral pain in the TMJ area. Patients were randomly divided into experimental and placebo groups; they were instructed to apply 0.025% capsaicin cream or its vehicle to the painful TMJ area 4 times daily for 4 weeks. Subjective parameters of present pain, most severe pain, effect of pain on daily activities, and pain relief were assessed each week on a visual analog scale. Muscle and joint sensitivity to palpation on the painful and contralateral joints and maximal mouth opening (assisted/passive and non-assisted/active) were examined weekly by the same experienced examiner. Results: Capsaicin cream produced no statistically significant influence on measured variables when compared to placebo. Both experimental and placebo groups showed statistically significant improvement in most variables during the experiment. Conclusion: The factor of time had a major effect in the non-specific improvement of the parameters assessed. The placebo effect played an important role in the treatment of patients with pain in the TMJ area.

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