Correlation between functional disorders of temporomadibular joint and upper crossed syndrome

Vilma Juodžbalienė, Dovilė Krasauskytė, Dovilė Valatkienė


Research background. The imbalance between the jaw and neck muscle activity
occurs as a compensatory mechanism in order to stabilize the jaw and neck
structural parts in temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders (Ries et al., 2008).
Changes occur in posture control system if any biomechanical unit varies (Ritzel et al., 2007). One system compensates the unusually active other body system in upper cross syndrome (UCS) (Tharcher et al., 2011). This syndrome is characterized by shortened upper trapezius, pectoralis major and romboids and week middle and lower trapezius, serratus anterior and deep neck flexors (Moore, 2004; Tharcher et al., 2011). Thus, it is believed that there may be a direct link between the upper
cross syndrome and temporomandibular joint dysfunction.
Purpose. Explore relationship between temporomandibular joint dysfunction
and upper crossed syndrome in women.
Methods. Thirty female volunteers participated in the study, and they were
divided into groups according to trigger points in the shoulder and neck muscles:
group 1 – painful shoulder and neck muscles (32.65 ± 12.34 years), group 2 –
painless shoulder and neck muscles (34.5 ± 10.95 years). Survey was carried
out assessing TMJ function during observation, palpation, evaluation of the sagittal
craniovertebral angle, the neck and shoulder muscle length, strength, pain and
deep neck muscle endurance was examined.
Results. It was found that TMJ function was strongly associated with the UCS:
trapezius pain as well as upper trapezius and scalenus length. TMJ disorders were
associated with headache in both groups. Weak connection between deep neck
muscle endurance and TMJ dysfunction was identified.
Conclusions. TMJ mobility is partly related to UCS, and TMJ functional disorders
related to headache and sagittal craniovertebral angle. UCS specific changes,
such as pectoralis muscle length changes and impaired deep neck muscle endurance are not related to TMJ dysfunction.

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