Alterations in kinematics of temporomandibular joint associated with chronic neck pain

Weng Sam Siu, Yi Fen Shih, Shyh Yuan Lee, Chih Yu Hsu, Min Ju Wei, Tzyy Jiuan Wang, Hsiu Chen Lin, Yin Liang Lin*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Temporomandibular disorder (TMD) is an umbrella term for pain and dysfunction of the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) and its associated structures. Patients with TMD show changes in TMJ kinematics and masticatory muscle activation. TMD is commonly comorbid with non-specific chronic neck pain (NCNP), which may be one of the risk factors for TMD. Objectives: This study aimed to investigate whether patients with NCNP have altered TMJ kinematics and masticatory muscle activity. Methods: This was a cross-sectional exploratory study including 19 healthy participants and 20 patients with NCNP but without TMD symptoms. TMJ kinematics was measured during mouth opening and closing, jaw protrusion and jaw lateral deviation. Surface electromyography was used to record the muscle activity of the anterior temporalis, masseter, sternocleidomastoid and upper trapezius while clenching. Furthermore, cervical posture, cervical range of motion (ROM) and pressure-pain threshold of the neck and masticatory muscles were measured. Results: Compared with the healthy group, the NCNP group showed significantly reduced upper cervical rotation ROM (p =.041) and increased condylar path length (p =.02), condylar translation (opening p =.034, closing p =.011) and mechanical pain sensitivity of the upper trapezius (p =.018). Increased condylar translation was significantly correlated with reduced upper cervical mobility and poor cervical posture (r = −0.322 to −0.397; p =.012–.046). Conclusion: Increased condylar translation and path length in patients with NCNP may indicate poor control of TMJ articular movement, which may result from neck pain or may be a compensation for limited neck mobility. Evaluation of excessive TMJ translation may be considered in patients with NCNP.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Oral Rehabilitation
StateAccepted/In press - 2022


  • cervical pain
  • electromyography
  • forward head posture
  • motion analysis
  • neuronal convergence
  • temporomandibular disorder


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