Risk of Headache, Temporomandibular Dysfunction, and Local Sensitization in Male Professional Boxers: A Case-Control Study



      To evaluate differences in the incidence of headache, trigeminal nerve mechanosensitivity, and temporomandibular functionality in professional male boxers (exposed to repetitive craniofacial trauma) who were actively training and without severe previous injuries compared with handball players.


      Case-control study.


      University-based physical therapy research clinic.


      Eighteen boxers (mean age, 23±4.61y) as the cases group, and 20 handball players as the comparison group (mean age, ±2y, and sex matched), were included. All participants (N=38) completed the assessment protocol.


      Not applicable.

      Main Outcome Measures

      Measurements were taken of the headache impact (Headache Impact Test-6) and the pressure pain threshold over the trigeminal nerve sensory branches, the masseter muscle, and the tibialis anterior muscle. The secondary outcome measure included the temporomandibular function (Helkimo Clinic Index).


      The boxers showed slight mandibular function impairment, local muscular and neural sensitization, and a higher impact from headaches than did the handball players. The between-group comparison found significant differences in all outcome measures (P<.05), except in the tibialis anterior muscle pressure pain threshold on the dominant (P=.958) and the nondominant (P=.453) sides.


      Professional male boxers seem to suffer a greater headache impact and local sensitization of the craniomandibular region than do professional handball players. It cannot be determined whether these findings are short-lasting, as a result of the training activity, or long-lasting.


      List of abbreviations:

      BMI (body mass index), HIT-6 (Headache Impact Test-6), PPT (pressure pain threshold), TA (tibialis anterior), TMD (temporomandibular disorder), TMJ (temporomandibular joint)
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