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Disorders of Temporomandibular joint and depression

19 November 2019 | News | Head and neck surgery | Head and neck tumors | Maxillofacial Surgery

The disorders of temporomandibular joint that involve muscular and articular elements of the joint are somehow connected with stress and depression.

According to a study carried out in Germany, which involved nearly 4000 patients, depressive symptoms are linked with the pain in the temporomandibular joint rather than with pain in muscles of mastication, while stress symptoms are more strongly associated with muscle pain.

These studies were published in one of the articles of "The Journal of Pain" magazine (https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jpain.2012.09.004).

According to this research, temporomandibular joint pain might be a physical manifestation of depression and stress.

One of the possible causes of that is the specific state of the nervous system caused by the above mentioned mental states which can lead to hyper function of the muscles of mastication that are directly related to the joint, which in turn leads to inflammation of the temporomandibular joint and pain. 

Besides, in this condition the balance of chemical mediators in the brain is disturbed which may change the perception of pain in the body.

The results of the study only show that there is a common link between anxiety and depression and the pain syndrome of the temporomandibular joint, but it does not mean that there is a cause-and-effect relation between them.

However, the results show that depression and stress might be risk factors for dysfunctions of temporomandibular joint.

In such cases, the treatment of temporomandibular joint disorders is carried out by a team work of a maxillofacial surgeon and a neurologist.

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