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Papers: 29 Oct 2022 - 4 Nov 2022

2022 Oct 12

Int J Mol Sci



Pain Management and Rehabilitation for Central Sensitization in Temporomandibular Disorders: A Comprehensive Review.


Ferrillo M, Giudice A, Marotta N, Fortunato F, Di Venere D, Ammendolia A, Fiore P, de Sire A
Int J Mol Sci. 2022 Oct 12; 23(20).
PMID: 36293017.


Temporomandibular disorders (TMD) are a group of musculoskeletal diseases affecting masticatory muscles and temporomandibular joints (TMJ). In this context, the chronic TMD could be considered as a condition with chronic primary orofacial pain, presenting as myofascial TMD pain or TMJ arthralgia. In this context, myogenous TMD may present overlapping features with other disorders, such as fibromyalgia and primary headaches, characterized by chronic primary pain related to dysfunction of the central nervous system (CNS), probably through the central sensitization. This phenomenon could be defined as an amplified response of the CNS to sensory stimuli and peripheral nociceptive, characterized by hyperexcitability in the dorsal horn neurons in the spinal cord, which ascend through the spinothalamic tract. The main objectives of the management of TMD patients are: decreasing pain, increasing TMJ function, and reducing the reflex masticatory muscle spasm/pain. The first-line treatments are physical therapy, pharmacological drugs, occlusal splints, laser therapy, extracorporeal shockwave therapy, transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation, and oxygen-ozone therapy. Although all these therapeutic approaches were shown to have a positive impact on the central sensitization of TMD pain, there is still no agreement on this topic in the scientific literature. Thus, in this comprehensive review, we aimed at evaluating the evidence on pain management and rehabilitation for the central sensitization in TMD patients.