Treatment seeking and self-constructed explanations of pain and pain management strategies among adolescents with temporomandibular disorder pain
Temporomandibular disorder pain is associated with pain caused due to the injured or damaged joint that connects the jaw to the skull. The different pain management strategies have been efficiently depicted in this study.
To explore adolescents' explanations of their temporomandibular disorder (TMD) pain, their pain management strategies for TMD pain, and their treatment seeking behavior.
One-on-one interviews were conducted with 21 adolescents aged 15 to 19 years who had TMD pain and followed a semi structured interview guide.
Subjects were strategically selected from patients referred to an orofacial pain clinic. All participants had been examined and received a pain diagnosis based on the Research Diagnostic Criteria for TMD. The interviews focused on the adolescents' experiences of TMD pain, their strategies for handling pain, and how they seek care. The interviews were recorded, transcribed verbatim, and analyzed using qualitative manifest content analysis.
Qualitative manifest content analysis revealed two categories: (1) self-constructed explanations, with three subcategories (situation-based explanatory model, physical/biologic model, and psychological explanatory model); and (2) pain management strategies, with four subcategories (social support, treatment, relaxation/rest, and psychological strategies).
Adolescents used physical activities and psychological and pharmacologic treatment to manage pain. Reasons for seeking treatment were to be cured, to obtain an explanation for their pain, and because their symptoms bother others.
Adolescents living with TMD pain develop self-constructed explanations and pain management strategies.
With access to these descriptions, dentists can be better prepared to have a dialogue with their adolescent patients about their own explanations of pain, the nature of pain, and in which situations the pain appears. Dentists can also explore adolescent patients' pain management strategies and perhaps also suggest new treatment strategies at an earlier stage.