-- Robert Preidt
WEDNESDAY, Jan. 23 (HealthDay News) -- There's a link between
depression and anxiety symptoms and temporomandibular joint (TMJ)
disorder pain, a condition that affects the jaw, according to a new
TMJ disorders affect the muscles and joints that connect your
lower jaw to the skull.
This study by German researchers included more than 4,000
patients who underwent medical and oral health examinations and TMJ
pain assessments, and completed a psychiatric risk factor
The researchers found that depressive symptoms were more
strongly related to TMJ pain than to muscle pain, while anxiety
symptoms were linked with muscle pain. The findings were published
in a recent online issue of
The Journal of Pain.
TMJ pain may be a physical symptom of depression or anxiety,
according to the researchers. They explained that these mental
health conditions could lead to increased activity in the jaw
muscles that could cause inflammation and pain.
It's also possible that chemical imbalances in the brains of
people with depression and anxiety could lead to abnormal
processing of pain sensation, according to Dr. Stefan Kindler of
the department of oral and maxillofacial surgery/plastic surgery at
the University of Greifswald and colleagues.
Previous research has suggested a link between depression and
TMJ pain, the authors of the new study pointed out in a news
release from the American Pain Society. Based on their findings,
Kindler's team concluded that there is a moderate to strong link
between depression and anxiety symptoms and TMJ pain.
However, the association between TMJ pain and anxiety and
depression does not prove that there is a cause-and-effect
The American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons has
temporomandibular joint disorders.
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