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Vol. 72, No. 1
ISSN: 1488-2159
February 2006


Do Eating Disorders and Chronic Facial Pain Coexist? A Preliminary Study


• Michael B. Goldberg, MSc, DDS, Dip Perio •
• Debra K. Katzman, MD, FRCPC •
• D. Blake Woodside, MD, FRCPC •
• Gerald I. Baker, DDS, MS, FRCD(C), FICD •

A b s t r a c t

Objective: Although eating disorders and chronic facial pain have been documented for many years, no studies have investigated the coexistence of these disorders. Both conditions are chronic, possess an underlying psychologic component to their origin and are associated with other psychiatric comorbidites. The objective of this descriptive study was to determine the prevalence of chronic facial pain in a population of patients with eating disorders. In addition, eating disorder symptoms were investigated in a patient population with chronic facial pain.

Methods: The study group was composed of 110 patients from 2 eating disorder programs and 78 patients from a chronic facial pain treatment centre participated in the study. All patients received 2 standarized questionnaires, the Eating Attitudes Test 26 (EAT-26) and the Hapak questionnaire, to determine the presence of symptoms associated with an eating disorder or a temporomandibular disorder, respectively.

Results: Using a digital analog scale, 60.9% of those in the eating disorder population reported some form of facial pain currently or in the recent past. Only 2 patients in the chronic facial pain population scored above the threshold for significant eating disorder

Discussion: This pilot study describes the coexistence of chronic pain in an eating disorder population. The presence of chronic pain may interefere in the treatment provided to patients with eating disorders.


MeSH Key Words: eating disorders; facial pain; temporomandibular joint disorders/etiology
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