Effect of photobiomodulation therapy on painful temporomandibular disorders

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  • Adila Aisaiti, Nanjing Medical University
  • ,
  • Yanli Zhou, Nanjing Medical University
  • ,
  • Yue Wen, Nanjing Medical University
  • ,
  • Weina Zhou, Nanjing Medical University
  • ,
  • Chen Wang, Nanjing Medical University
  • ,
  • Jing Zhao, Nanjing Medical University
  • ,
  • Linfeng Yu, Nanjing Medical University
  • ,
  • Jinglu Zhang, Nanjing Medical University
  • ,
  • Kelun Wang
  • Peter Svensson

To evaluate the effect of photobiomodulation therapy (PBMT) on painful temporomandibular disorders (TMD) patients in a randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled manner. Participants were divided into a masseter myalgia group (n = 88) and a temporomandibular joint (TMJ) arthralgia group (n = 87) according to the Diagnostic Criteria for Temporomandibular Disorders (DC/TMD). Both groups randomly received PBMT or placebo treatment once a day for 7 consecutive days, one session. The PBMT was applied with a gallium-aluminum-arsenide (GaAlAs) laser (wavelength = 810 nm) at pre-determined points in the masseter muscle (6 J/cm2, 3 regions, 60 s) or TMJ region (6 J/cm2, 5 points, 30 s) according to their most painful site. Pain intensity was rated on a 0–10 numerical rating scale (NRS) and pressure pain thresholds (PPT) and mechanical sensitivity mapping were recorded before and after the treatment on day 1 and day 7. Jaw function was assessed by pain free jaw opening, maximum unassisted jaw opening, maximum assisted jaw opening, maximum protrusion and right and left excursion. Data were analyzed with a mixed model analysis of variance (ANOVA). Pain intensity in arthralgia patients decreased over time (P < 0.001) for both types of interventions, however, PBMT caused greater reduction in pain scores than placebo (P = 0.014). For myalgia patients, pain intensity decreased over time (P < 0.001) but without difference between interventions (P = 0.074). PPTs increased in both myalgia (P < 0.001) and TMJ arthralgia patients over time (P < 0.001) but without difference between interventions (P ≥ 0.614). Overall, PBMT was associated with marginally better improvements in range of motion compared to placebo in both myalgia and arthralgia patients. Pain intensity, sensory function and jaw movements improve after both PBMT and placebo treatments in myalgia and arthralgia patients indicating a substantial non-specific effect of PBMT.

Original languageEnglish
Article number9049
JournalScientific Reports
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - 2021

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