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The effect of jaw exercises on anxiety and depression in patients with head and neck cancer receiving radiotherapy: Prospective 2-year follow-up study

Journal article
Authors Susan Aghajanzadeh
Therese Karlsson
Lisa Tuomi
Caterina Finizia
Published in Head and Neck-Journal for the Sciences and Specialties of the Head and Neck
Volume 42
Issue 2
Pages 330-335
ISSN 1043-3074
Publication year 2019
Published at Institute of Clinical Sciences, Department of Otorhinolaryngology
Pages 330-335
Language en
Keywords head and neck cancer, mental health, quality of life, radiation therapy, trismus, quality-of-life, functional status, oral-cancer, trismus, intervention, impact, Otorhinolaryngology, Surgery
Subject categories Otorhinolaryngology


Background This nonrandomized matched study investigates jaw exercise effect on anxiety/depressive symptoms in head and neck cancer patients with trismus during 2 years postradiotherapy. Methods Fifty patients with trismus postradiotherapy were included in a 10-week jaw-training intervention. A matched control group was included (N = 50). Maximum interincisal opening (MIO) <= 35 mm was used as the trismus criterion. Patients were assessed using MIO and Hospital Anxiety Depression Scale preintervention, postintervention, and at 2-year follow-up. Results A significant difference was found in depressive symptoms between the intervention group and control group (4% vs 33%) at 2-year follow-up, with more control group patients reporting possible depression. In the intervention group, significantly fewer patients had possible/probable depressive symptoms at follow-up (4%) compared to preintervention (34%). No change was seen within the control group. Conclusion Structured jaw exercise in patients with postradiation trismus had positive effects on MIO and depressive symptoms but does not seem to have any significant effects on anxiety symptoms.

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