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A systematic review of the comorbidity between Temporomandibular Disorders and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Lucy RobinsonORCiD, Professor Justin DurhamORCiD, Emerita Professor Julia Newton


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SUMMARY The most common cause of chronic orofacial pain is a group of disorders collectively termed temporomandibular disorders (TMDs). Chronic painful TMD is thought to be a ‘central sensitivity syndrome’ related to hypersensitivity of the nervous system, but the cause is unknown. A similar understanding is proposed for otherunexplained conditions, including chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). Exploring the comorbidity of the two conditions is a valuable first step in identifying potential common aetiological mechanisms or treatment targets. Method Systematic literature review. Studies were included if they recruited community or control samples and identified how many reported having both TMD and CFS, or if they recruited a sample of patients with either TMD or CFS and measured the presence of the other condition. Results Six papers met inclusion criteria. In studies of patients with CFS (n = 3), 21–32% reported having TMD. In a sample of people with CFS and fibromyalgia, 50% reported having TMD. Studies in people with TMD (n = 3) reported 0–43% having CFS. Studies in samples recruited from oro-facial pain clinics (n = 2) reported a lower comorbidity with CFS (0–10%) than a study that recruited individuals from a TMD self-helporganisation (43%). Conclusion The review highlights the limited standard of evidence addressing the comorbidity between oro-facial pain and CFS. There is a valuable signal that the potential overlap in these two conditions could behigh; however, studies employing more rigorous methodology including standardised clinical assessments rather than self-report of prior diagnosis are needed.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Robinson LJ, Durham J, Newton JL

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of Oral Rehabilitation

Year: 2016

Volume: 43

Issue: 4

Pages: 306-316

Print publication date: 01/04/2016

Online publication date: 09/11/2015

Acceptance date: 04/10/2015

ISSN (print): 0305-182X

ISSN (electronic): 1365-2842

Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell Publishing Ltd.


DOI: 10.1111/joor.12367


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Funder referenceFunder name
NIHR-CS-011-003Department of Health