Palmer College

Palmer and University of Iowa conduct TMD study

Many people with TMD rely on medications to relieve their pain. Research such as Palmer’s current study may provide alternative treatment options and reduce the need for prescription pain medications.
woman holding pill next to face

Working in collaboration with the University of Iowa’s College of Dentistry and Institute for Clinical and Translational Sciences in Iowa City, researchers at the Palmer Center for Chiropractic Research (PCCR) on Palmer’s Davenport Campus are exploring the feasibility of using chiropractic care to treat people with chronic pain in their face and jaw, classified as temporomandibular disorder (TMD). The TMD study is co-led by Palmer’s James DeVocht, D.C., Davenport ’86, Ph.D., and the University of Iowa’s Clark Stanford, D.D.S., Ph.D.

“More than 10 million Americans suffer from head and neck pain related to TMD, with a lifetime prevalence of 45 percent and a direct care cost of $2 billion,” said Dr. DeVocht. “This makes it one of the most common forms of chronic debilitating pain in the United States. Although many medical and dental treatments for TMD are available, few if any have shown any sustained efficacy.”

One approach to relieving TMD pain is for chiropractors to provide a specific form of treatment, Activator Methods technique, using an Activator adjusting instrument to deliver a quick, gentle adjustment in a precise manner to areas of the head and neck. The TMD component of the Activator approach was developed by Wally Schaeffer, D.C., Davenport ’86, Coralville, Iowa, and has shown promise in an earlier case series.

In this TMD study, potential participants will be interviewed by phone and given a dental examination at the Dental Clinical Research Center at the University of Iowa to determine if they qualify. A total of 80 participants are being enrolled and randomly assigned to one of four different treatment groups, all of which will include an intensive self-care program for TMD pain management.

Participants are being equally assigned to either:
1) Activator chiropractic care; 2) a conventional dental splint used for TMD management; 3) a placebo treatment; or 4) the intensive self care program alone. All participants will receive examinations and treatment at the Dental Clinical Research Center in Iowa City and patients assigned to chiropractic care are referred to a private practice in Coralville, Iowa. Examinations and treatment are provided at no charge to participants. Anyone interested in participating in the study should contact the Dental Clinical Research Center at the University of Iowa at (319) 335-7414.

< article article >
Contact Us
Insights Editor
Palmer College of Chiropractic 
1000 Brady Street 
Davenport, IA 52803-5287
Phone: (563) 884-5662
Fax: (563) 884-5393
Email: marketing@palmer.edu
Comments or Corrections?

Alumni Adjustments 
Top