When is it best to start trismus therapy?

Treatment for head and neck cancer may cause trismus, xerostomia and dysphagia. Individually or together, these can negatively impact a patient's quality of life (QOL). Past research has shown that jaw range of motion exercises have a positive impact on patient outcomes. However, when is it best to begin such exercises?

The new study, Effects of jaw exercise intervention timing on outcomes following oral and oralpharyngeal cancer surgery: Pilot study (Sandler, MLLazarus, CLRu, M, et al, 2019), looks at the optimal timing for exercise initiation post-operatively in HNC patients by comparing early verse late exercise intervention on oral opening and on QOL measures.

Initial results showed that although timing was not a big determining factor for oral opening, early intervention appeared to have a positive effect on some QOL measures! Thus, the study suggests that early intervention may be beneficial, however, further research is necessary.

Have trismus? Receiving treatment for Oral or Nasal Cancer?
CranioRehab offers jaw motion rehab devices including the OraStretch press that provide stretching and passive motion of the jaw. Visit our Trismus information page to learn more about the definition, causes, symptoms, diagnosis, prevention and treatment of trismus. 


Sandler, MLLazarus, CLRu, M, et al. Effects of jaw exercise intervention timing on outcomes following oral and oropharyngeal cancer surgery: Pilot studyHead & Neck20191– 12https://doi.org/10.1002/hed.25908