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Journal of Oral & Facial Pain and Headache



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J Orofac Pain 32 (2018), No. 4     6. Nov. 2018
J Orofac Pain 32 (2018), No. 4  (06.11.2018)

Page 428-435

Experimental Psychological Stress on Quantitative Sensory Testing Response in Patients with Temporomandibular Disorders
Araújo Oliveira Ferreira, Dyna Mara / Costa, Yuri Martins / de Quevedo, Henrique Müller / Bonjardim, Leonardo Rigoldi / Rodrigues Conti, Paulo César
Aims: To assess the modulatory effects of experimental psychological stress on the somatosensory evaluation of myofascial temporomandibular disorder (TMD) patients.
Methods: A total of 20 women with myofascial TMD and 20 age-matched healthy women were assessed by means of a standardized battery of quantitative sensory testing. Cold detection threshold (CDT), warm detection threshold (WDT), cold pain threshold (CPT), heat pain threshold (HPT), mechanical pain threshold (MPT), wind-up ratio (WUR), and pressure pain threshold (PPT) were performed on the facial skin overlying the masseter muscle. The variables were measured in three sessions: before (baseline) and immediately after the Paced Auditory Serial Addition Task (PASAT) (stress) and then after a washout period of 20 to 30 minutes (poststress). Mixed analysis of variance (ANOVA) was applied to the data, and the significance level was set at P = .050.
Results: A significant main effect of the experimental session on all thermal tests was found (ANOVA: F > 4.10, P < .017), where detection tests presented an increase in thresholds in the poststress session compared to baseline (CDT, P = .012; WDT, P = .040) and pain thresholds were reduced in the stress (CPT, P < .001; HPT, P = .001) and poststress sessions (CPT, P = .005; HPT, P = .006) compared to baseline. In addition, a significant main effect of the study group on all mechanical tests (MPT, WUR, and PPT) was found (ANOVA: F > 4.65, P < .037), where TMD patients were more sensitive than healthy volunteers.
Conclusion: Acute mental stress conditioning can modulate thermal sensitivity of the skin overlying the masseter in myofascial TMD patients and healthy volunteers. Therefore, psychological stress should be considered in order to perform an unbiased somatosensory assessment of TMD patients.