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Home > Newsletters > November 2003

Recent Research


Complementary Treatments for Temporomandibular Disorders


Evidence Does Not Clearly Support Acupuncture for Addiction

Complementary Treatments for Temporomandibular Disorders

Little information exists about specific complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) therapies used for particular health conditions. This study examines the use of CAM therapies among patients with temporomandibular disorders (TMD).

The authors surveyed 192 patients with documented TMD as part of a larger project on the effectiveness of various CAM modalities for TMD patients. The survey asked about use of and attitudes toward specific CAM therapies for treating TMD and other patient-identified health conditions. The survey also measured physical health, health behavior, and psychosocial functioning.

Nearly two thirds of the respondents (62.5%; n = 120) reported using CAM therapies for TMD or a related condition. Of all the therapies reported, massage was rated as the most frequent and among the most satisfactory and helpful. In general, respondents who used CAM for their TMD reported being most satisfied with the "hands on" CAM therapies (massage, acupuncture, and chiropractic care). The vast majority of respondents reported using CAM approaches for TMD simultaneously with conventional care (95.6%; 66 of 69). Those using CAM for TMD tended to be older, had a history of multiple medical problems, and reported more positive psychologic functioning. Respondents who most often reported CAM treatment as "very helpful" for their TMD were likely to be healthier (i.e., reporting higher levels of exercise and fewer sleep disturbances).

The authors conclude that given the frequent use of CAM treatments by their respondents, allopathic providers should inquire about the adjunctive use of CAM among their TMD patients.

DeBarr, L.L., et al. Use of complementary and alternative medicine for temporomandibular disorders. Journal of orofacial pain 17(3)224-36.

Evidence Does Not Clearly Support Acupuncture for Addiction

Acupuncture, in the form of insertion of needles bilaterally in the outer ears, is widely used for the treatment of addiction in the US. However, support for this form of treatment from controlled studies has not been consistent. This article examines recent clinical trials of acupuncture for addiction treatment, with a goal of conveying to the reader some of the complex issues involved in conducting studies in this area. Acupuncture trials in addictions frequently have been conducted without preliminary dose-ranging studies to establish efficacious doses of the experimental treatment, use needle insertion controls of unknown degrees of activity, and present no rationale for the type or intensity of concurrently offered psychotherapy. At the present time, it is premature to put forth recommendations for or against acupuncture for the treatment of addiction based on evidence from extant studies.

Margolin A. Acupuncture for substance abuse. Current psychiatry reports 5(5):333-9

This Month's Articles

November 2003
Volume 1, Number 9

Alternative Therapy for Menopausal Women

Herbal Product Websites May Be Misleading

Recent Research

Ask The Doctor


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