Acupuncture applied at local or distal acupoints reduces pain related to temporomandibular disorders in female patients.

Research paper by Lena L Katekawa, Angela Cristina AC Iwasaki, Rosemary Sa RS Shinkai, Tomie T TT de Campos

Indexed on: 23 Feb '21Published on: 23 Feb '21Published in: The International journal of prosthodontics


To evaluate the efficacy of two traditional acupuncture protocols on pain relief in temporomandibular disorder (TMD) patients using either local or distal acupoints for mechanical needle stimulation. The sample was selected from female TMD patients with chronic pain from a specialized referral center. Clinical charts were retrieved to select patients treated by traditional acupuncture following either a protocol for application of needles in local acupoints (head, neck) or a protocol for application in distal acupoints (hands, legs, feet). Pain intensity was recorded before and after each acupuncture session by using an instrumental question with a 10-point visual analog scale (VAS). A control group consisted of nontreated patients from the waiting list for TMD treatment. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics, paired t test, analysis of variance, and Tukey test, at a significance level of .05. Out of 102 TMD patients, 32 were treated with acupuncture at local points, 22 were treated with acupuncture at distal points, and 48 were controls. A significant decrease of mean VAS score (approximately 70%) was found after acupuncture treatments in both the local- and distal-point groups. The final VAS of each acupuncture group was lower than the control group, but the acupuncture groups showed no difference. It can be concluded that acupuncture treatment reduces chronic pain in TMD patients, and the application of needle stimulation at local or distal acupoints has similar effects.