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Pain. 2007 Oct;131(3):311-9. Epub 2007 Apr 24.

Back pain in relation to musculoskeletal disorders in the jaw-face: a matched case-control study.

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  • 1Department of Clinical Oral Physiology, Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden.


Back pain and temporomandibular disorders are both common conditions in the population with influence on the human motor system, but a possible co-morbidity between these conditions has not been fully investigated. The aim of this study was to test the hypothesis of an association between long-term back pain and pain and/or dysfunction in the jaw-face region. Back pain was defined as pain in the neck, shoulders and/or low back. The study-population comprised 96 cases with long-term back pain and 192 controls without back pain. We used a screening procedure, a questionnaire and a clinical examination of the jaw function. The questionnaire focused on location, frequency, duration, intensity and impact on daily life of symptoms in the jaw-face and back regions. The analysis was conducted on 16 strata, matched by age and sex for case vs. control, using Mantel-Haenszel estimates of matched odds ratio (OR) and 95% confidence interval (CI) as well as the corrected Mantel-Haenszel chi(2) test. The overall prevalence of frequent symptoms in the jaw-face region, as reported in the questionnaire, was 47% among cases and 12% among controls. The difference was statistically significant (P<0.0001) with a sevenfold odds ratio (CI: 3.9-13.7). Moderate to severe signs from the jaw region were clinically registered among 49% of the cases and 17% of the controls (P<0.0001, OR: 5.2, CI: 2.9-9.2). The results showed statistically significant associations between long-term back pain and musculoskeletal disorders in the jaw-face and indicate co-morbidity between these two conditions.

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