Methods: Databases from 1966 to present were searched including PubMed; Manual, Alternative, and Natural Therapy Index System; and Cumulative Index for Nursing and Allied Health Literature. Search terms used included whiplash injury, temporomandibular disorders and craniomandibular disorders. Inclusion criteria consisted of studies on orofacial pain of a musculoskeletal origin addressing the following topics: posttraumatic temporomandibular disorder (pTMD) incidence and prevalence, mechanism of injury, clinical findings and characteristics, prognosis (including psychologic factors). Excluded were studies of orofacial pain from nontraumatic origin, as well as nonmusculoskeletal causes including neurologic, vascular, neoplastic, or infectious disease.
Results: Thirty-two studies describing the effects of whiplash on TMD were reviewed based on inclusion/exclusion criteria. The best evidence from prospective studies indicates a low to moderate incidence and prevalence. Only 3 studies addressed mechanism of injury theories. Most studies focusing on clinical findings and characteristics suggest significant differences when comparing pTMD to idiopathic/nontraumatic patients. Regarding prognosis, most studies suggest a significant difference when comparing pTMD to idiopathic/nontraumatic TMD patients, with pTMD having a poorer prognosis.
Conclusions: There is conflicting evidence regarding the effects of whiplash on the development of TMD. Furthermore, because of lack of homogeneity in the study populations and lack of standardization of data collection procedures and outcomes measured, this review cannot conclusively resolve the controversies that exist concerning this relationship. This review of the literature is provided to clarify the issues and to provide useful clinical information for health care providers managing TMD such as doctors of chiropractic, physical therapists, dentists, and medical doctors.
This abstract is reproduced with the permission of the publisher; click on the above link for free full text.