Immediate effect of a motor control exercise target to the neck muscles on upper cervical range of motion and motor control in patients with temporomandibular disorder


  • Alexandra Daniele de Fontes Coutinho Universidade Federal de Pernambuco
  • Ana Izabela Sobral de Oliveira-Souza Universidade Federal de Pernambuco
  • Lais Ribeiro Sales Universidade Federal de Pernambuco
  • Daniella Araújo de Oliveira Universidade Federal de Pernambuco



Temporomandibular joint disorders, Range of motion, Facial pain , Exercise , Rotation , Women


To evaluate whether a single specific motor control training session for the neck flexor and deep extensor muscles improves upper cervical range of motion and neck motor control in patients with temporomandibular disorder (TMD) and compare them to a group without TMD.
This is a before and after, controlled study. The TMD group included women aged between 18-45 years old, complaining of pain in the orofacial region in the last 6 months and diagnosed with masticatory myofascial pain according to Research Diagnostic Criteria (RDC/MD). The control group included match-controls without TMD. The participants were evaluated to global and upper (Flexion Rotation Test - FRT) neck range of motion (ROM) and to neck motor control (Cranio-Cervical Flexion Test - CCFT). They were treated with a protocol of specific motor control exercises targeted to flexor and extensor neck muscles for 30 minutes. One day after the protocol the patients were reevaluated.
A total of 23 volunteers were evaluated. The TMD group showed immediate improvement in left cervical rotation (p=0.043) and right FRT (p=0.036), while the control group did not show any improvement. There was no difference between the groups before and after treatment in relation to cervical movements. Regarding cervical motor control in both groups, the highest prevalence was of results between 24 and 26 mmHg after treatment, different from before the intervention (20 and 22 mmHg) in both groups.
A single session of specific neck motor control training only improved the left cervical rotation and upper right rotation in the TMD group, but not in the control group. There is no difference at the end of treatment between the groups. Volunteers with TMD showed improvement in the pattern of motor control of the neck when compared to volunteers without TMD.


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Author Biographies

Alexandra Daniele de Fontes Coutinho, Universidade Federal de Pernambuco

Universidade Federal de Pernambuco, Recife, Brazil

Ana Izabela Sobral de Oliveira-Souza, Universidade Federal de Pernambuco

Universidade Federal de Pernambuco, Recife, Brazil

Lais Ribeiro Sales, Universidade Federal de Pernambuco

Universidade Federal de Pernambuco, Recife, Brazil


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How to Cite

Coutinho AD de F, Oliveira-Souza AIS de, Sales LR, Araújo de Oliveira D. Immediate effect of a motor control exercise target to the neck muscles on upper cervical range of motion and motor control in patients with temporomandibular disorder. Headache Med [Internet]. 2021 Oct. 13 [cited 2024 Jun. 17];12(2):83-91. Available from: