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J Altern Complement Med. 2010 Jan;16(1):107-12. doi: 10.1089/acm.2008.0484.

Effectiveness of acupuncture in the treatment of temporomandibular disorders of muscular origin: a systematic review of the last decade.

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Program in Orofacial Pain and Craniomandibular Disorders, San Pablo CEU University, Madrid, Spain.



The purpose of this review is to evaluate the effectiveness of using acupuncture treatment for temporomandibular disorders (TMD) of muscular origin according to research published in the last decade.


The information was gathered using the MEDLINE, EMBASE, CINAHL, and CISCOM databases. The inclusion criteria for selecting the studies were the following: (1) only randomized controlled trials (RCTs) were selected; (2) studies had to be carried out on patients with TMD of muscular origin; (3) studies had to use acupuncture treatment; and (4) studies had to be published in scientific journals between 1997 and 2008. Two (2) independent reviewers analyzed the methodological quality of the studies using the Delphi list. A total of four RCTs were chosen once the methodological quality was judged as being acceptable. All of the studies included in the review compared the acupuncture treatment with a placebo treatment. All of them described results that were statistically significant in relation to short-term improvement of TMD signs and symptoms of a muscular origin, except one of the analyzed studies that found no significant difference between acupuncture and sham acupuncture.


In the authors' opinion, research into the long-term effects of acupuncture in the treatment of TMD is needed. We also recommend larger samples sizes for future studies, so the results will be more reliable.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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