To evaluate the effects of Chinese scalp acupuncture in patients diagnosed with Temporomandibular Disorders (TMD) on pain, sleep and quality of life (QOL), and compare these results with the results from traditional therapies.
Sixty patients diagnosed with TMD using the Research Diagnostic Criteria for Temporomandibular Disorders (RDC/TMD) were allocated into four treatment groups: Counselling (C = 15), Occlusal Splint (OS = 15), Scalp acupuncture (SA = 15) and Manual Therapy (MT = 15). Participants were re-evaluated within one month. Three questionnaires were used to access sleep disorders, QOL and pain: The Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI), World Health Organization Quality of Life (WHOQOL-bref) and the Visual Analogue Scale (VAS), respectively. The data obtained were analyzed using the Statistical Package for the Social Science program (SPSS 22.0).
The SA group significantly improved pain (p = 0.015), as well as the OS (p = 0.01) and MT groups (p = 0.014). Only the OS (p = 0.002) and MT (p = 0.029) groups improved sleep. MT group significantly improved QOL in terms of the physical domain of the WHOQOL-bref (p = 0.011) and the OS group in the psychological domain (p = 0.012).
The scalp acupuncture proved to be another alternative for pain relief in patients with TMD, demonstrating positive results in the short term. However, it was not as effective in improving quality of life and sleep.