Objective: The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of massage therapy compared with occlusal splint therapy on mandibular range of motion (ROM) in individuals with temporomandibular disorder (TMD) and compare the results with ROM obtained in a group of individuals without this disorder.
Methods: A blinded randomized clinical trial was conducted. Twenty-eight volunteers with TMD were randomly distributed into either a massage therapy group or an occlusal splint group. Both treatments were provided for 4 weeks. Fourteen individuals without TMD were consecutively allocated to a comparison group. Fonseca anamnestic index was used to characterize TMD and allocate the volunteers to either of the intervention groups or asymptomatic comparison group. Mandibular ROM was evaluated before and after treatment using a digital caliper. Two-way repeated-measures analysis of variance with a post hoc Bonferroni testing was used for intergroup and intragroup comparisons (level of significance was set to 5%). Cohen d was used to calculate the effect size.
Results: In the intragroup analysis, significant increases in ROM were found for all measures in both the massage and occlusal splint groups (P < .05). A small to moderate clinical effect of treatment with the occlusal splint was found regarding right and left lateral excursion in comparison with the massage therapy and asymptomatic comparison groups (0.2 < d < 0.5).
Conclusion: Massage therapy on the masticatory muscles and the use of an occlusal splint lead to an increase in mandibular ROM similar to that of the asymptomatic comparison group with regard to maximum active mouth opening and both right and left excursion in individuals with TMD.
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