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Effectiveness of an 8-week neck exercise training on pain, jaw function, and oral health-related quality of life in women with chronic temporomandibular disorders: a randomized controlled trial

  • Ana Izabela Sobral de Oliveira-Souza1,2,*,
  • Laís Ribeiro do Valle Sales1
  • Alexandra Daniele de Fontes Coutinho1
  • Daniella Araújo de Oliveira1
  • Susan Armijo-Olivo2,3

1Physiotherapy Department, Federal University of Pernambuco, 50670-901 Recife, Pernambuco, Brazil

2Faculty of business and Social Sciences, University of Applied Sciences, 49076 Osnabrück, Germany

3Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine/Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB T6G 2G4, Canada

DOI: 10.22514/jofph.2024.005 Vol.38,Issue 1,March 2024 pp.40-51

Submitted: 30 January 2023 Accepted: 20 February 2023

Published: 12 March 2024

*Corresponding Author(s): Ana Izabela Sobral de Oliveira-Souza E-mail:


To test the effectiveness of an 8-week exercise program targeted to the neck muscles compared to manual therapy, and placebo treatments on orofacial pain intensity, jaw function, oral health-related quality of life (OHRQoL), and jaw range of motion (ROM) in women with Temporomandibular Disorders (TMD). In this randomized controlled trial, fifty-four women (between 18–45 years old) with a diagnosis of myofascial or mixed TMD according to the Research Diagnostic Criteria for TMD (RDC/TMD) were randomized into three groups: Neck motor control training (NTG), Manual Therapy Group (MTG), and Placebo Group (PG). All patients were evaluated with the Visual Analog Scale, Mandibular Function Impairment Questionnaire, Oral Health Impact Profile-14, and jaw Range of Motion (ROM) at baseline, immediately after treatment (after 8 weeks of treatment), one month, and three-month follow-up. For all outcomes, a mixed analysis of variance (ANOVA) with repeated measures was conducted with a Bonferroni post hoc test. NTG was significantly better than the PG group on pain and jaw function at the end of treatment, one- and three-month follow-up (Effect Size (ES) >0.7). For OHRQoL, NTG was significantly better than MTG and PG at the end of treatment and at three-month follow-up (ES >0.7). The results of this project are encouraging, and they could be used to guide clinical practice in this field. Exercises targeted to the neck (which require low therapeutic supervision) could be a simple and conservative way to improve pain and disability for women with TMD with neck involvement.


Temporomandibular joint disorder; Jaw diseases; Neck muscles; Physical therapy modalities; Exercise therapy

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Ana Izabela Sobral de Oliveira-Souza,Laís Ribeiro do Valle Sales,Alexandra Daniele de Fontes Coutinho,Daniella Araújo de Oliveira,Susan Armijo-Olivo. Effectiveness of an 8-week neck exercise training on pain, jaw function, and oral health-related quality of life in women with chronic temporomandibular disorders: a randomized controlled trial. Journal of Oral & Facial Pain and Headache. 2024. 38(1);40-51.


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