Management of Myofascial Pain: Low-Level Laser Therapy Versus Occlusal Splints

Authors: Selcen Öz, DDS,* Bilge Gök0en-Röhlig, DDS, PhD,* Alp Saruhanoglu, DDS, PhD,Þ and Erman Bülent Tuncer, DDS, PhD
Source: The Journal of Craniofacial Surgery & Volume 21, Number 6, November 2010
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The present study was designed to compare the effects of low-level laser with occlusal splints in patients with signs and symptoms of myofascial pain (MP) dysfunction syndrome. A total of 40 (34 women and 6 men, with a mean age of 32.84 [SD, 10.70] years) were selected after the diagnosis of MP according to the Research Diagnostic Criteria for Temporomandibular Dis- order. The patients were randomly divided into 2 groups: study group (n = 20) and control group (n = 20). Low-level laser was applied to patients in the study group 2 times per week, for a total of 10 sessions. Patients in the control group were instructed to wear occlusal splints 24 h/d for 3 months. The functional examination was based on Research Diagnostic Criteria for Temporomandibular Disorder and pressure pain threshold values were obtained with the aid of an algometer in both groups. Patients’ self-report of pain was evaluated with visual analog scale. Comparisons were made within and between the groups before and after treatment. Vertical move- ments showed statistically significant improvements after the treat- ments in both groups (P G 0.01), but when the groups were compared with each other, there were no significant difference between the groups. In both groups, tenderness to palpation of the muscles de- creased significantly. Pressure pain threshold evaluations and visual analog scale scores revealed similar results, too. This particular type of low-level laser therapy (820 nm, 3 J/cm2, 300-mW output power) is as effective as occlusal splint in pain release and mandibular movement improvement in MP.

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