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.
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.