One of the most common problems that dentists from all over the world face is back pain. Due to the nature of their work, which includes staying in a static position for extended periods and sitting in an awkward position to gain access and visibility of the mouth, their posture suffers terribly.
According to a study published in the Journal of Physical Therapy Science, 70 per cent of dentists experience back pain which is an alarmingly high number.
Dentists are categorized as a high-risk group when it comes to back issues. One of the primary reasons includes their lifestyle choices. They tend to neglect self-care such as regular exercise, rest, proper nutrition, and hydration, thus failing to maintain a healthy work-life balance.
Moreover, poor posture and positioning also hold significant importance. Practitioners who work from a 10 o’clock position tend to face more musculoskeletal issues as they usually lean more to visualize the oral cavity better. Prolonged standing can also cause muscle spasms, leading to pain in the joints and nerves of the spine.
First and foremost, dental professionals should start focusing on their physical health. They should stretch before work, engage in more back extension exercises, take breaks and minimize repetitive motions. They should also consider using assistive devices, like vertically adjustable flip-up loupes, to attain a larger field of view and maintain a safe working posture of the head.
Furthermore, they should be wary of ergonomics and ideally work from a 12 o’clock position to maintain a good posture. Dentists should position their chairs in a higher place and adjust their hips higher than their knees to reduce strain on their spine. The seat pan should also be short and tilted slightly forward to facilitate their back curve.
To sum up, dentists should be wary of their lifestyle choices and positioning while working. A few minor adjustments to their routine can have a massive impact on the longevity of their career by avoiding chronic back issues. If they start taking care of themselves better, they will be able to help more patients in the long run.