Veterans May Suffer TMJ Disorder as a Comorbid Pain Condition

For veterans of the armed forces, adjusting to life post-service or post-tour can be filled with unique challenges. Especially if that veteran must also deal with the aftermath of combat injuries or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or both. In addition to primary injuries, many veterans also face what is known as a comorbid pain condition – that is, a chronic condition that occurs in tandem with another chronic condition.

Recently, a study examining comorbid pain conditions in veterans was published in the journal Pain Reports. In the report, researchers discussed a high instance of comorbid pain conditions in veterans – especially those with PTSD. Though the study looked specifically at dry eye (DE) and other ocular disorders, one disorder was of particular interest to Dr. Alexandra George, a dentist from Wexford, Pennsylvania.

“What’s fascinating about this study was the discovery that many veterans suffering from temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ disorder) do so comorbidly,” says George, a practitioner of neuromuscular dentistry, which works to alleviate the symptoms of TMJ disorder. “This shows us that TMJ disorder can kind of be the cause as well as the effect in a lot of disorders.”

The study concluded that the patients’ rates of DE increased with the number of pain conditions they reported having, and patients with DE reported more ocular pain with their DE when their DE was comorbid with other conditions.

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