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Pain Drawings: An Important Tool for Health Care Practitioners

Last year we shared with you a study in which investigators found patients with more severe and chronic TMD are likely to experience other persistent pain conditions in other parts of the body, seemingly unrelated to problems in the jaw or face. Yet patients often do not mention these "overlapping" or "comorbid" pain conditions when they see a dentist or health care provider.

Primary Temporomandibular Disorders and Comorbid Conditions

The aim of this study is to evaluate the distribution of the most common comorbid conditions associated with chronic temporomandibular disorders, and the pharmacological agents which play an integral role in the overall management of temporomandibular joint disorders. Abstract: INTROD

Overdiagnosis and Unnecessary Therapy

Many dental practitioners continue to use radiographic or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) findings in the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) as the sole means of establishing that there is a pathology present that requires treatment.

TMD Self-Management Programs

Self-management (SM) programs in temporomandibular disease (TMD) are a core component of pain management of TMD throughout its course and are often given to patients as a first essential step after diagnosis.

Honor Families Who Bravely Battle TMD

If you haven't done so already, please join me in making a year-end contribution to The TMJ Association (TMJA) in the honor of families like mine and yours who bravely battle this disease each and every day. Since my daughter, Alexandra, b

Pain Drawings: An Important Tool for Health Care Practitioners

  • Mar 2, 2017

Last year we shared with you a study in which investigators found patients with more severe and chronic TMD are likely to experience other persistent pain conditions in other parts of the body, seemingly unrelated to problems in the jaw or face. Yet patients often do not mention these "overlapping" or "comorbid" pain conditions when they see a dentist or other health care provider about their TMD Click here to read this article. 

A 2016 study in Finland, published in the Journal of Oral Facial Pain Headache, found pain drawings to be useful as an assessment tool for identifying comorbid pains in patients with TMD. The following is the abstract summary:
 
AIMS: To assess drawings of pain sites and self-reported comorbid pains as a part of the biopsychosocial profiling of tertiary care referral patients with temporomandibular disorder (TMD) pain.

METHODS: A total of 135 consecutive patients referred to tertiary care for TMD pain participated. Patients drew all the sites where they had pain on whole-body pain drawings. Other assessments included self-reported comorbid pains in the head and body regions, the Finnish Research Diagnostic Criteria for TMD (RDC/TMD_FIN Axis II), and additional biopsychosocial and treatment-related variables. Patients were grouped into pain drawing profiles (localized, regional, and widespread) and the associations between these profiles and the biopsychosocial variables were statistically evaluated using Bonferroni adjusted P values and with logistic regression using SAS 9.3.

RESULTS: A total of 21% of the patients reported localized TMD pain, 20% reported regional pain (headaches and neck aches), and the majority, 59%, reported widespread pain (local/regional and multiple bodily pain sites). Patients with widespread pain profiles formed a heterogeneous group in which 28.2% reported severe and 30.8% reported moderate pain-related disability. The widespread pain patients reported significantly higher levels of depression and somatization, lower levels of general health, more sleep dysfunction, decreased ability to control pain, and greater health care needs compared to patients with localized pain (P < .05). Patients with regional pain profiles reported moderate scores on psychosocial functioning compared to the patients with localized or widespread pain.

CONCLUSION: The majority of tertiary care referral patients with TMD pain reported comorbid pains. Pain drawings were found a useful adjunctive tool for screening and as a part of comprehensive biopsychosocial assessment and treatment planning for patients with TMD pain.

 
Overlapping Conditions

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