Temporomandibular pain has multiple etiologies and a range of therapeutic options. In this pilot study, the authors assessed the feasibility of conducting a larger trial to evaluate chiropractic treatment of temporomandibular disorders (TMDs).


The authors assigned 80 participants randomly into one of the following four groups, all of which included a comprehensive self-care program: reversible interocclusal splint therapy (RIST), Activator Method Chiropractic Technique (AMCT) (Activator Methods International, Phoenix), sham AMCT and self-care only. They made assessments at baseline and at month 2 and month 6, including use of the Research Diagnostic Criteria for Temporomandibular Disorders.


The authors screened 721 potential participants and enrolled 80 people; 52 participants completed the six-month assessment. The adjusted mean change in current pain over six months, as assessed on the 11-point numerical rating scale, was 2.0 (95 percent confidence interval, 1.1-3.0) for RIST, 1.7 (0.9-2.5) for self-care only, 1.5 (0.7-2.4) for AMCT and 1.6 (0.7-2.5) for sham AMCT. The authors also assessed bothersomeness and functionality.


The authors found the study design and methodology to be manageable. They gained substantial knowledge to aid in conducting a larger study. AMCT, RIST and self-care should be evaluated in a future comparative effectiveness study.


This pilot study was a necessary step to prepare for a larger study that will provide clinicians with information that should be helpful when discussing treatment options for patients with TMD.

J Am Dent Assoc. 2013 Oct;144(10):1154-63. [PMID:24080932]

Author information: DeVocht JW, Goertz CM, Hondras MA, Long CR, Schaeffer W, Thomann L, Spector M, Stanford CM. Palmer Center for Chiropractic Research, Palmer College of Chiropractic, Davenport, Iowa.

ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT01021306

Free PMC Article