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Scand J Rehabil Med. 1999 Mar;31(1):17-22.

Association of neck pain with symptoms of temporomandibular dysfunction in the general adult population.

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Department of Oral Rehabilitation, IRCCS San Raffaele Hospital, Milan, Italy.


The association of neck pain with symptoms of temporomandibular dysfunction in the general adult population was evaluated in a sample of 483 subjects selected from the population living in the municipality of Segrate, northern Italy. Subjects were interviewed by a standard questionnaire about oral conditions, temporomandibular symptomatology and neck pain. Symptoms related to the Helkimo Anamnestic Index were the indicators of temporomandibular dysfunction, and the evaluation also included history of trauma of the masticatory system. Troublesome neck pain was experienced within the last year in 38.9% of the total series, and the prevalence of complaints was higher in women than in men (41.7 vs 34.4%). Prevalence increased with age (p < 0.005) and was significantly higher in subjects with than without temporomandibular symptomatology (47.4 vs 28.6%, p < 0.0001). At univariate analysis, facial and jaw pain (p < 0.001) and feeling of stiffness or fatigue of the jaws (p < 0.01) were significantly related to neck pain. Age- and sex-adjusted multiple logistic analysis showed that neck pain is associated with the temporomandibular symptomatology as a whole (p < 0.001), and in particular with facial and jaw pain (p < 0.01). These findings confirm that there is a significant association between neck pain and the temporomandibular symptomatology. Moreover, they suggest that the most relevant relationship is with facial and jaw pain, according to recent neurophysiologic studies on pain mechanism. Further clinical and longitudinal studies are desirable in order to give a better clarification of mutual specific roles of craniocervical and temporomandibular disorders in the aetiology of these pathologies.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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