Serrano-Munoz D, Beltran-Alacreu H, Martin-Caro Alvarez D, et al. Effectiveness of Different Electrical Stimulation Modalities for Pain and Masticatory Function in Temporomandibular Disorders: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. J Pain. 2023 Feb 17:S1526-5900(23)00024-X. doi: 10.1016/j.jpain.2023.01.016. (Systematic review)

Temporomandibular disorders comprise a set of conditions that include alterations of the temporomandibular joint and masticatory muscles. Although different modalities of electric currents are widely used for treating temporomandibular disorders, previous reviews have suggested these are ineffective. This systematic review and meta-analysis aimed to determine the effectiveness of different electrical stimulation modalities in patients with temporomandibular disorders for reducing musculoskeletal pain, increasing the range of movement, and improving muscle activity. An electronic search was conducted of randomized controlled trials published until March of 2022 that compared the application of an electrical stimulation therapy versus a sham or control group. The main outcome measure was pain intensity. Seven studies were included in the qualitative analysis and in the quantitative analysis (n = 184 subjects). The overall effect of electrical stimulation on pain reduction was statistically superior to sham/control (MD = -1.12 cm; CI 95%: -1.5 to -0.8), showing moderate heterogeneity of results (I2 = 57%, P = .04). The overall effect on range of movement of the joint (MD = 0.97 mm; CI 95%: -0.3 to 2.2) and muscle activity (SMD = -2.9; CI 95%: -8.1 to 2.3) were not significant. Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) and high-voltage current stimulation reduces pain intensity clinically in people with temporomandibular disorders with a moderate quality of evidence. On the other hand, there is no evidence of the effect of different electrical stimulation modalities on range of movement and muscle activity in people with temporomandibular disorders with a moderate and low quality of evidence respectively. PERSPECTIVE: TENS and high voltage currents are valid options for the control of pain intensity in patients suffering from temporomandibular disorder. Data suggest clinically relevant changes compared to sham. Healthcare professionals should take this into account as it is inexpensive therapy, has no adverse effects and can be self-administered by patients.

Discipline Area Score
Physician 5 / 7
Comments from MORE raters

Physician rater

Pain physicians may not be the population most likely to treat TMJ, but useful for those who do.

Physician rater

Although a good review, it has a limited audience as it is very specialized.
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