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Practical Pain Management

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An estimated 75% of Americans will experience symptoms of temporomandibular joint and muscle disorder (TMJMD) in their lifetime.1 Studies show that the prevalence of TMJMD varies widely. In any given year, approximately 20 million adults (10% of women and 6% of men) have TMJMD pain.2 About 5.3 million people seek treatment for TMJMD within 6 to 12 months after onset of symptoms, with direct costs of treatment alone conservatively estimated at 2 billion annually. Although adequate data are lacking on indirect costs, research indicates that 28% of TMJMD patients report disability and limitations, as well as unemployment.3 Assuming that indirect costs would most likely exceed direct costs, projections from research put the total cost of TMJMD in excess of $4 billion per year. Thus, TMJMD is clearly a fiscal burden to both patients and society. For many, symptoms of TMJMD resolve on their own without significant medical intervention; however, 5% to 10% of adults suffering from TMJMD symptoms require professional treatment.4 If pain persists beyond 3 to 6 months, the condition is considered chronic. Clinicians would benefit from an evidence-based method of determining which patients are at increased risk for developing chronic pain, as well as from empirically supported clinical interventions aimed at preventing acute pain from becoming chronic. The goal of this article is to review clinical studies to identify high-risk patients and suggest early interventions that may be used successfully during the acute phase of TMJMD.


Psychology | Social and Behavioral Sciences

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Available for download on Wednesday, January 01, 3000

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