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October 2021

Acupuncture in the treatment of patients with chronic facial pain and mandibular dysfunction

Author(s): Helkimo, M.

Journal/Book: Swedish Dental Journal. 1987; 11(3): 83-92.

Abstract: Ten patients with chronic facial pain and long lasting mandibular dysfunction symptoms were treated with acupuncture. All patients, two men and eight women aged between 39 and 71 years (mean = 51.0 years), exhibited a complex pain symptomatology with, basically, daily constant pain with an average duration of 13 years. The patients had resisted all previous conventional stomatognathic treatment. The symptoms and signs were evaluated before and immediately after treatment and at follow-ups three and seven months later. Four methods were used for evaluating the effect of the treatment. Subjective evaluation according to a 6-graded verbal scale. Clinical dysfunction index according to Helkimo (1974). Intensity of pain according to a visual analogue scale (VAS-scale, Pilowsky & Kaufman, 1965). Medicine consumption. Six to eight acupuncture treatments were given at one week intervals. The acupuncture points were stimulated both manually and electrically for 30 minutes with a frequency of approximately 2-3 Hz and 20-30 mA. All patients reported some degree of subjectively experienced improvement. Four felt much better and six somewhat better. At the follow-ups the same reports were given with the exception for one patient who reported unchanged discomfort. The objective criteria used for assessment of a favourable response to treatment were fulfilled by three patients immediately after treatment and at 3, 7 and 14 months after treatment. No significant negative effects of the treatment were recorded. It is concluded that acupuncture may be a realistic alternative to other, conventional stomatognathic treatment for some patients with long lasting chronic facial pain.

Keyword(s): Adult

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