TCM for TMD: A multi-site randomized whole systems trial [NCCAM]

Cheryl Ritenbaugh, PhD, MPH
Temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMD) is a chronic pain condition that affects a substantial fraction of the US population, is frequently not covered by health plans, and no approach has been found to consistently and significantly reduce the pain and disability of this condition.  This project tests whole system TCM versus self-care management (PC or personal care) in an integrative, stepped care strategy that begins with a minimal intervention and increases the intensity in relation to patient needs.  This multi-site (Tucson and Portland) phase II trial will include both men and women and those who previously received TMD usual care (not TCM) and continue to have TMD pain. All patients (n=150) will receive instruction in personal care strategies. At predetermined assessment points, participants not on TCM will be randomized either to advanced steps of self care or to TCM.  We will evaluate the short-term pain and disability effects of TCM, and in follow-up to 18 months, compare long-term TCM to self-care management. The University of Arizona (Tucson) and the Oregon College of Oriental Medicine (OCOM, Portland) collaborate on this project.