A survey of influence of work environment on temporomandibular disorders-related symptoms in Japan

Keywords:  Temporomandibular disorders, Work environment, Questionnaire, Personal computer use, TMD, TMJ, face pain, and headaches

The New Year starts with many personnel heading back to their respective offices from their holiday vacations.  While the New Year can bring about many wonderful changes, time spent in the office can also reignite some temporomandibular disorders (TMD)-related symptoms (TRS) that a worker may have experienced prior to their time off over the holidays.   The article below, published by the Head and Face Journal, seeks to answer some questions about Japanese workers and factors that could influence their susceptibility to TMD and related symptoms.  Dr. Stan Farrell, who is a Diplomate of the American Board of Orofacial Pain and is one of the best-qualified doctors in the country for treating head pain, treats such cases at his AZ-TMJ practice, located in Scottsdale, Arizona.  Dr. Farrell focuses on non-surgical treatment methods that include splint therapy, trigger point injections and physical therapy modalities.  If you experience face pain or pain associated with TMD symptoms or headaches, schedule an appointment for a consultation with Dr. Farrell at 480-945-3629.   www.headpaininstitute.com

Akira Nishiyama, Koji Kino, Masashi Sugisaki, and Kaori Tsukagoshi

Introduction:  This study aimed at identifying the factors that influence the incidence of temporomandibular disorders (TMD)-related symptoms (TRS) in a Japanese working population.

Methods:  Our study subjects comprised of 1,969 employees from the same Japanese company. The subjects were assessed using a questionnaire that covered both TRS and the work environment. TRS were measured from 4 items on the questionnaire. The work environment factors recorded were the daily mean duration of personal computer use, driving, precise work, commuting, time spent at home before going to bed, sleeping, attending business meetings, and performing physical labor. Statistical analysis was performed using t-tests, Chi-square tests, and logistic regression analyses. A result with P<0.05 was considered statistically significant.

Results:  The median total score on the 4 items used to assess TRS was 5 (25%=4, 75%=7). Two groups were defined such that the participants scoring ≤7 were assigned to the low-TRS group and those scoring ≥8, to the high-TRS group. The high-TRS group constituted 22.6% of the subjects. Logistic regression analyses indicated that female gender and extended periods of computer use were significant contributors to the manifestation of TRS.

Conclusion:  This questionnaire-based study showed that gender and computer use time was associated with the prevalence of TRS in this working population. Thus, evaluation of ergonomics is suggested for TMD patients. (Head Face Med. 2012; 8: 24. Published online 2012 September 21. doi:  10.1186/1746-160X-8-24)