OBJECTIVE: This AB, single-subject case study was conducted to investigate the capability of chiropractic manipulation of the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) in treating unilateral anterior displacement of the articular disc with adhesion to the articular eminence. A specific joint manipulation was designed to reduce the anteriorly displaced and adhered TMJ disc.
CLINICAL FEATURES: A 21-yr-old woman suffered from a four year history of right-sided temporomandibular joint pain and clicking, with limitation of mandibular opening. The patient reported previous unsuccessful treatments for her condition. An exhaustive history, a complete review of systems and a physical examination (including, but not limited to, eyes, ears, nose, throat and motor, sensory and reflex neurological tests) were obtained. Relevant or contributory findings are extracted for this article. A clinical diagnosis of left-sided anteriorly displaced TMJ disc with adhesion to the articular eminence was made.
INTERVENTION AND OUTCOME: Patient's pain level, presence of joint clicking upon mandibular opening and the amount of mandibular opening were used as outcome measures for capability of treatments. An AB, single-subject study was used where A was the baseline period and B the therapeutic intervention period. The patient was treated twice a week for a total of 19 visits. During the baseline period no treatment was given to the TMJ (3 visits) where the patient received cervical manipulation alone. During the experimental period the patient received both cervical spine manipulation and a specific manipulation to the left mandible. There were no physical therapeutic modalities applied to the jaw. The specific TMJ manipulation used requires a very low-amplitude high velocity thrust parallel to the slope of the articular eminence. The results of this study show mandibular opening distance was returned to normal in addition to the abolition of the patient's TMJ pain and clicking. During the three baseline visits mandibular opening showed no significant change, with an average of 25.3 mm (range 25-26 mm). There was also no change in the patient's TMJ pain or clicking during this baseline period. The patient's TMJ clicking was absent following the third treatment and the patient reported significant subjective pain relief as well. Temporomandibular pain was again reported during the fifth, sixth and seventh post-treatment visits due to exacerbations caused by daily activities. There was no pain reported from the beginning of the eighth post-treatment visit to the end of the study.
CONCLUSION: The findings of this study show this specific manipulation of the TMJ may be appropriate for the conservative treatment of adhered anteriorly dislocated disc.
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