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Volume 14 , Issue 3
Summer 2000

Pages 213-223


Capsaicin-Induced Muscle Hyperalgesia in the Exercised and Non-Exercised Human Masseter Muscle

Taro Arima, DDS/Peter Svensson, DDS, PhD/Lars Arendt-Nielsen, PhD, Dr Sci


PMID: 11203756

Aims: Strong jaw muscle exercises such as tooth grinding in sleep bruxism are frequently believed to be a predisposing factor in myogenous types of temporomandibular disorders. However, it is not known whether tooth grinding in sleep bruxism is associated with increased sensitivity to intramuscular stimuli. This study therefore compared the hyperalgesic effects of an intramuscular injection of capsaicin into the right masseter with and without a prior experimental tooth-grinding exercise. Methods: Ten healthy men participated in 2 randomized sessions (exercise, non-exercise session) separated by 1 week. In the exercise session, 0.1 mL capsaicin (100 g/mL) was injected into the right masseter immediately after 45 minutes of experimental tooth grinding. In the non-exercise session, the exact same paradigm was used, except that the experimental tooth grinding was omitted. The perceived intensity of pain evoked by intramuscular capsaicin was scored on a 100-mm visual analog scale (VAS). Pain detection thresholds (PDTs) to pressure stimuli and maximal voluntary occlusal force (MVOF) were measured before capsaicin injection; 5, 15, and 45 minutes after the injection; and once a day for the following 3 days. Results: Injections of capsaicin into an exercised or non-exercised masseter did not cause significant differences in peak pain intensity on the VAS (57 6 mm in exercised masseter vs. 53 6 mm in non-exercised masseter; P = 0.464). The PDTs in the exercised masseter were significantly decreased for up to 1 day after the capsaicin injection (P = 0.038), whereas PDTs in the non-exercised masseter were decreased for only 5 minutes (P = 0.017). The MVOF on the right side was decreased 5 minutes after the capsaicin injection in both sessions (P < 0.010). The MVOF on the left side was significantly reduced for up to 15 minutes after the capsaicin injection in the exercise session only (P < 0.019). Conclusion: Increased sensitivity to percutaneous pressure stimuli probably reflects a post-exercise muscle soreness following tooth grinding, whereas intramuscular sensitivity to noxious chemical stimuli immediately following exercise seems to be unchanged.


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