An oral rehabilitation robot for massaging the masseter and temporal muscles: a preliminary report
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This study determined suitable conditions for masseter and temporal muscle massage using a specially fabricated robot and evaluated its effects on patients with TMJ dysfunction associated with myofascial pain.
The robot was designed with two arms with six degrees-of-freedom, and equipped with plungers. A phase-1 trial examined 22 healthy volunteers to determine its safety and suitable massage pressure, examining three different pressures. The volunteers evaluated their comfort, warmth, and ease of mouth opening by use of a visual analogue scale (VAS). A phase-2 trial examined the safety, suitable dose regimen, and efficacy in 12 patients. Maximal mouth opening was measured, and muscle pain and massage were evaluated subjectively.
The robot was safe in the phase-1 trial, except for two massages in which the pressure was excessive. Massages at 6–10 N were given the highest VAS scores. In phase 2, the massage pressure was arbitrary and each muscle was massaged seven times for 1 min, three times every two weeks. After evaluating the efficacy, additional treatments were performed at a greater pressure or for longer. The massage treatment was very effective for most patients.
The massage treatment was safe and effective for most patients when administered at a pressure of 6–10 N seven times for 1 min per muscle every two weeks. The robot may constitute a useful tool for treating TMJ dysfunction associated with myofascial pain.
KeywordsMassage Myofascial pain Temporomandibular disorder Masseter muscle
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