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Volume 12 , Issue 2
Spring 1998

Pages 124-135

Physical Therapy for Patients With TMD: A Descriptive Study of Treatment, Disability, and Health Status

Di Fabio

PMID: 9656890

The purposes of this study were to compare disabilities and health status associated with temporomandibular disorders (TMD) to other musculoskeletal disorders, to describe the types of physical therapy administered to patients with TMD, and to evaluate health-related quality of life (HRQOL) as an index of clinical change following physical therapy treatment. Outcomes for 56 patients (mean age 40 years, SD 13 years; 89% female) were evaluated from a large database generated by the Focus on Therapeutic Outcomes network. A generic assessment of HRQOL--the Medical Outcomes Study (MOS) 17--was used to evaluate the physical and mental aspects of disability associated with TMD, and the results were compared descriptively to three groups of patients with different cervical pain syndromes. The results showed that patients with TMD had limitations in social function, emotional well-being, and energy level similar to patients with cervical disorders. Physical function (ie, walking, carrying loads, or lifting), however, was much more limited in cervical disorder patients and bodily pain interfered more with daily work. Large positive effect sizes (> 0.80) in the areas of social function and bodily pain indicated clinical improvement for patients with TMD at the completion of physical therapy. The results suggest that the MOS-17 may be useful as one measure of clinical change for patients with TMD who receive physical therapy.

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