Journal of Chiropractic 1991 Dec;28(12): 29-34
Surveys estimate in excess of 50 million Americans, primarily women, currently operate video display terminals (VDTs) in the home and workplace. Recent epidemiological studies show that almost 80 percent of the estimated 30 million Americans who suffer from temporomandibular disorders (TMD) are women. TMD are associated with a host of risk factors including psychosocial stress, trauma, malocclusion, oral habits, sedentary lifestyle, bad posture and nutritional factors. Most of these risks are associated with sympathetic nervous system (SNS) activation and stress hormone release. As a result, the onset and maintenance of muscle spasms, myofacial trigger point formation and activation, as well as pain in the head, cervical spine, shoulders, and/or thoracic and/or lumbopelvic spine may be produced. VDT operation may also irritate the SNS in at least three ways. They are: electrostatic ambient air negative ion depletion; electromagnetic radiation (EMR) effects, and eyestrain and postural stress, including forward head posture (FHP), associated with poor work habits and work station design. These findings indicate that chiropractors and allied health professionals who manage patients with TMD must consider VDT operation as an additional risk factor. Chiropractors are advised to educate patients as to these known risks, encourage preventive behaviors on the part of employers as well as employees, and recommend workplace health, safety and ergonomic improvements when indicated.