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Relationship Between Psychosocial Factors and Pain in the Jaw and Neck Regions Shortly After Whiplash Trauma

Ewa Lampa, DDS/Anders Wänman, DDS, PhD/Thomas List, DDS, Odont Dr/Birgitta Häggman-Henrikson, DDS, PhD


DOI: 10.11607/ofph.2226

Aims: To assess jaw pain shortly after whiplash trauma in relation to neck pain, physical symptoms, depression, and jaw pain–related disability. Methods: A total of 181 cases (106 women and 75 men, mean ages 33.7 and 36.8 years, respectively) were examined within 1 month after a whiplash trauma and compared to 117 controls (68 women and 49 men, 34.2 and 30.9 years, respectively). Participants rated current jaw and neck pain intensity on a numeric rating scale and rated nonspecific physical symptoms and depression symptoms on subscales of the Symptom Checklist-90-Revised. The nonspecific physical symptoms were further analyzed with and without pain items. Disability related to jaw pain and neck pain was also assessed. Differences between groups were calculated using Mann-Whitney U test, and correlations were measured using Spearman correlation. Results: Compared to controls, cases reported higher current jaw and neck pain intensity (P < .0001), together with higher scores for physical nonpain and pain symptoms, depression, and jaw pain–related disability (P < .0001 for all). For cases, there were moderate correlations between nonspecific physical symptoms and jaw pain and neck pain, as well as between jaw pain–related disability and jaw pain and neck pain (r = 0.43 to 0.77, P < .0001 for all). Low correlations were observed between depression and jaw pain and neck pain (r = 0.34 to 0.39, both P < .0001). Conclusion: Shortly after a whiplash trauma, pain in the jaw and neck regions is associated with the severity of psychosocial factors. Thus, psychosocial factors may play a role in the development of pain in the jaw region after whiplash trauma.


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