Orofacial pain and headache: a review and look at the commonalities

Steven D Bender
Current Pain and Headache Reports 2014, 18 (3): 400
Headache and facial pain - in particular, temporomandibular disorders (TMDs) - are very prevalent conditions in the general population. TMDs are defined as a collection of symptoms and signs involving masticatory muscles, the temporomandibular joints (TMJs), or both. The pain reported by TMD patients is typically located in the muscles of mastication, in the preauricular area, or in the TMJs. In many cases, headaches and facial pain will occur in the same patient. Much of the research relative to the relationship of these disorders focuses on statistics of association and prevalence data. This review will provide a brief description of the types and classifications of orofacial pains (OFPs), as well as point to relevant research describing the commonalities and potential comorbid nature of these maladies. Finally, several recent papers describing morphologic changes to the brain in headache and TMD individuals will be discussed in an effort to stimulate further research into the potential common pathophysiologic mechanism that may explain the comorbid nature of these disorders.


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