Headache and Oral Parafunctional Behaviors

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Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback


This study tested the hypotheses that individuals with headaches would show significantly more oral parafunctional behaviors than non-headache controls, be diagnosed with one or more temporomandibular disorders (TMD) significantly more frequently than controls, and would report significantly less pain and other symptoms of headache after participating in a habit reversal treatment to reduce oral parafunctional behaviors, compared to a wait list control. In Phase I, individuals with and without self-reported headaches were examined by a blinded examiner and participated in a week-long experience sampling protocol (ESM) to assess oral parafunctional behaviors, pain, and emotional states. In Phase II, those with headaches were randomly assigned to either a habit reversal treatment or to a wait list control group. In the last, sixth week of the program, participants again completed an ESM protocol. Results showed that headache patients were significantly more likely to report oral parafunctional behaviors than non-headache controls and to receive a Research Diagnostic Criteria/TMD diagnosis. Results from Phase II showed general improvement in both groups on pain and parafunctions. Individuals with headaches engage in significantly higher rates and intensities of oral parafunctional behaviors. Treatment of these behaviors using habit reversal techniques appears to have the same effect on pain as waiting.



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