The research is focused on orofacial pain mechanisms and neuromuscular control of cranial muscles. Experimental human pain studies are used to bridge basic and clinical research. The pathophysiology of amplified pain sensitivity in patients with different types of orofacial pain (Temporomandibular Disorders, Burning Mouth Syndrome, “atypical facial pain” and odontogenic pains) is studied in collaboration with national and international researchers. Rationale management of pain and perturbed jaw motor function is the final goal for “oral rehabilitation”.
Characteristics of peripheral and central sensitization of the orofacial tissues (muscle, joint, mucosa) are studied with advanced psychophysical techniques, microdialysis, electrophysiology (brain stem reflexes, sensory nerve action potentials, evoked potentials) and brain imaging (fMRI) in collaboration with CFIN. Together with basic scientists, primary afferent recordings from trigeminal nociceptive afferent fibers are studied in response to pro-inflammatory substances and neurotransmitters and paralleled by human experimental and clinical studies. Intervention with hypnosis is studied in orofacial pain patients using fMRI, brain stem reflexes and genotyping of “candidate pain genes”. Cortical plasticity to training of cranial muscles is studied using transcranial magnetic stimulation techniques.