search for


Comparison of the effects of transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation, low level laser, and placebo treatment on temporomandibular joint disorders: a single-blind randomized controlled trial
Physical Therapy Rehabilitation Science 2020;9:244-51
Published online December 30, 2020
© 2020 Korean Academy of Physical Therapy Rehabilitation Science.

Hyunjoong Kima,b

aSports Rehabilitation Center, The Better Hospital, Gwangju, Republic of Korea
bDepartment of Physical Therapy, Gwangju Health University, Gwangju, Republic of Korea
Correspondence to: Hyunjoong Kim (ORCID
Department of Physical Therapy, Gwangju Health University, 73 Bungmun-daero 419beon-gil, Gwangsan-gu, Gwangju 62287, Republic of Korea
Tel: 82-62-958-7786 Fax: 82-62-958-7786 E-mail:
Received December 4, 2020; Revised December 29, 2020; Accepted December 29, 2020.
cc This is an Open-Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Objective: Physical therapy techniques are required for patients with temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD), but the effects of treatment have not been compared. Therefore, effects of transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) and low level laser (LLL), which are most commonly used interventions, were compared.
Design: Randomized controlled trial.
Methods: Thirty-six participants with pain in the temporomandibular joint were enrolled, and 12 participants were randomly assigned to either the TENS group, LLL group, or placebo group. Each intervention was performed for a total of 6 sessions for 2 weeks. For the evaluation of the participants, the mouth opening (MO), pressure pain threshold (PPT), and stress were measured at three time periods: baseline, post-test, and follow-up at 2 weeks.
Results: Significant interaction between groups according to each evaluation point was found only in PPT-masseter (p<0.05). The evaluation time point at which a significant difference appeared was at the post-test and follow-up at 2 weeks time periods. As a result of the post-test, the LLL group showed a significant improvement compared to the TENS group (p<0.05), and at 2 weeks follow-up, the TENS group showed a significant improvement compared to the placebo group (p<0.05).
Conclusions: In this study, an experiment was conducted to compare the treatment effects when TENS, LLL, and placebo were given to patients with TMD. In addition, by quantitatively presenting the effect size of each treatment, this study suggests clinical use of TENS and LLL treatment for TMD.
Keywords : Pain threshold, Psychological stress, Range of motion, Temporomandibular joint disorders


Full Text(PDF) Free

Cited By Articles
  • CrossRef (0)
  • Authorship and ethical issues