It was found that both manual therapy treatments had led to a clinically significant reduction of pain in those with known TMD, but the strength of the evidence had limitations.
Upper cervical spine manual therapy can assist in mandibular depression (mouth opening) and improving pressure pain thresholds when compared to that of sham treatment. The studies that compared cervico-craniomandibular therapy vs. cervical manual therapy only found that both had good short-term outcomes with regards to improving pain associated to TMD, but that combined cervical spine and craniomandibular input is needed to achieve pain relief in the longer term.
The authors of this systematic review with meta-analysis highlight that there is a body of evidence to support targeted manual therapy for cervical spine and TMD. It needs to be targeted, however, and perhaps manual therapy alone is not sufficient as the sole treatment strategy in these conditions. Further research and support for additional input, such as further detailed exercise therapy for both cervical spine and TMD is also needed.
It was also concluded that a lack of longitudinal designs and lack of homogeneity among studies limits the wider application of their findings.