Temporomandibular Disorder Pain Is Related to the General Disposition to be Anxious.

Keywords: Anxiety, trait anxiety, stress, orofacial pain, headaches, temporomandibular disorder, and TMD.

Anxiety, the feelings of worry, unease, stress and tension is common and can be experienced during an uncomfortable situation, for example, before an interview or a big exam. Most of us experience anxiety in our lives and usually defuse the situation and move on. Trait anxiety, however, can be defined as having these same feelings of unease and tension on a daily basis. A person with trait anxiety can experience a level of stress and worry during a simple trip to the grocery store or picking their kids up from school. According to the Journal of Orofacial Pain and Headache, trait anxiety is significantly associated with diagnosis of temporomandibular disorder pain (TMD). Dr. Stan Farrell, whose office is located in Scottsdale, Arizona, uses the most effective methods of treatment and works diligently to erase the pain caused by TMD in the lives of his patients. If you or someone you know is experiencing facial pain, jaw pain or headaches caused by stress or anxiety, please schedule your initial consultation with Dr. Farrell at 480-945-3629 or visit us online at www.headpaininstitute.com for more information.

J Oral Facial Pain Headache. Reissmann DR, John MT, Seedorf H, Doering S, Schierz O.


AIMS: To assess whether trait anxiety as a person’s general disposition to be anxious is a risk factor for temporomandibular disorder (TMD) pain.

METHODS: A total of 320 adult TMD patients with at least one pain-related TMD diagnosis according to the Research Diagnostic Criteria for Temporomandibular Disorders (RDC/TMD) were included in the study. Subjects from the general population without pain-related TMD were used as controls (n = 888). All study participants completed the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI). The association between the level of trait anxiety (STAI-Trait scores) and case-control status (patients diagnosed with pain-related TMD and controls) was analyzed using logistic regression analysis. Odds ratios (OR) with 95% confidence intervals (CI) were computed.

RESULTS: The level of trait anxiety was associated with the subject status (case vs control). A one-point increase in STAI-Trait sum scores (range: 20 to 80) was related to an increase of the odds for pain-related TMD by the factor 1.04 (CI: 1.02-1.05; P < .001). Severe trait anxiety (above the 90th percentile of general-population subjects) doubled the odds (OR: 2.05; CI: 1.42-2.98; P < .001). Analyses adjusted for age, gender, and level of education did not change the results.

CONCLUSION: Trait anxiety is significantly associated with diagnoses of TMD pain.