The inhibitory effect of a chewing task on a human jaw reflex

Pauline Maillou, Samuel W. Cadden, Frank Lobbezoo

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    2 Citations (Scopus)


    This study was undertaken to investigate whether an inhibitory jaw reflex could be modulated by experimentally controlled conditions that mimicked symptoms of temporomandibular disorders. Reflecting on previous work, we anticipated that these conditions might suppress the reflex. Electromyographic recordings were made from a masseter muscle in 18 subjects, while electrical stimuli were applied to the upper lip. An inhibitory reflex wave (mean latency 47 ms) was identified and quantified. Immediately following an accelerated chewing task, which in most cases produced muscle fatigue and/or pain, the size of the reflex wave decreased significantly by about 30%. The suppression of inhibitory jaw reflexes by fatigue and pain may result in positive feedback, which may contribute to the symptoms of temporomandibular disorders. Future studies of temporomandibular disorder sufferers will help to determine whether such reflex changes reflect the underlying etiology and/or are a result of the temporomandibular disorder itself. Muscle Nerve 41: 845-849, 2010

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)845-849
    Number of pages5
    JournalMuscle & Nerve
    Issue number6
    Early online date11 Feb 2010
    Publication statusPublished - Jun 2010


    • Electromyography
    • Inhibitory
    • Jaw reflex
    • Muscle fatigue
    • Muscle pain
    • Exteroceptive suppression periods
    • Closing muscles
    • Temporomandibular disorders
    • Myofascial pain
    • Noxious stimuli
    • Modulation


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