Head and Cervical Posture in Patients with Temporomandibular Disorders

Key words: cervical posture, head posture, temporomandibular disorders, TMJ, TMD

Summer 2011
Volume 25 , Issue 3

Head and Cervical Posture in Patients with Temporomandibular Disorders

Susan Armijo-Olivo, PT, BSc PT, MSc PT, PhD/Karen Rappoport, DDS, Cert Ortho/Jorge Fuentes, PT, BSc PT, MSc PT/Inae Caroline Gadotti, PT, BSc PT, MSc PT, PhD /Paul W. Major, DDS, MSc, FRCD(c)/Sharon Warren, PhD/Norman M.R. Thie, BSc, MSc, DDS, MSc/David J. Magee, PhD, BPT

Aim: To determine whether patients with myogenous or mixed (ie, myogeneous plus arthrogeneous) temporomandibular disorders (TMD) had different head and cervical posture measured through angles commonly used in clinical research settings when compared to healthy individuals.

Methods: One hundred fifty-four persons participated in this study. Of these, 50 subjects were healthy, 55 subjects had myogenous TMD, and 49 subjects had mixed TMD (ie, arthrogenous plus myogenous TMD). A lateral photograph was taken with the head in the self-balanced position. Four angles were measured in the photographs: (1) Eye-Tragus-Horizontal, (2) Tragus-C7-Horizontal, (3) Pogonion-Tragus-C7, and (4) Tragus-C7-Shoulder. Alcimagen software specially designed to measure angles was used in this study. All of the measurements were performed by a single trained rater, a dental specialist in orthodontics, blinded to each subject’s group status.

Results: The only angle that reached statistical significance among groups was the Eye-Tragus-Horizontal (F = 3.03, P = .040). Pairwise comparisons determined that a mean difference of 3.3 degrees (95% confidence intervals [CI]: 0.15, 6.41) existed when comparing subjects with myogenous TMD and healthy subjects (P = .036). Postural angles were not significantly related to neck disability, jaw disability, or pain intensity. Intrarater and interrater reliability of the measurements were excellent, with intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC) values ranging between 0.996–0.998.

Conclusion: The only statistically significant difference in craniocervical posture between patients with myogenous TMD and healthy subjects was for the Eye-Tragus-Horizontal angle, indicating a more extended position of the head. However, the difference was very small (3.3 degrees) and was judged not to be clinically significant. J Orofac Pain 2011;25:199–209

This is very interesting research. It’s important for people seeking treatment for their TMJ to understand the various options that they may encounter when seeking a physician. There are some physicians that believe treating your posture and cervical position will heal many of your facial and neck pain, but as we can see from research, this is not the case. At AZ TMJ, we focus on using treatment methods that have been clinically tested and are backed by research. Dr. Stan Farrell is Board Certified in Orofacial Pain and utilizes many proven non-surgical treatment methods for your TMJ/TMD and migraine headaches. Schedule a consultation at 480-945-3629. www.headpaininstitute.com