One complaint among many dental professionals is the amount of work-related back pain that they experience on a regular basis. Due to their often busy schedules, they do not have the time to find out what, specifically, is causing the pain and how to treat it. While there are a variety of reasons that back pain is experienced, there are a few that are common causes among dental professionals.
One of the main contributors to back pain is one’s posture. While most of the work performed requires standing, and even stopping over the patient, posture should be a focus. Professionals often stand in any way that makes reaching the patient more accessible, but actually, causes harm to their backs in the process. It is essential to stand up as straight as possible, as much as possible. Also, if feasible, raising the patient as they are reclined in the chair helps to reduce strain on the back. Be sure to help your body out by placing equipment within easy reach, as well.
Another factor related to increased back pain is the equipment that is used. It is understood that equipment is needed to provide medical care, but a better choice would be to opt for that which is ergonomically designed so that it’s easier to lift and does not increase back pain. Office equipment, especially poorly-designed stools that cause dentists to lean over their patients, play a significant role in the back pain that is experienced. Stools that are ergonomic and have back support are going to be the better option, especially in instances of prolonged use. Lastly, and this is something that is often overlooked, but shoes are also key to managing back pain. Because most work is performed while standing, proper shoes that offer maximum support will always be the best choice for any job that requires standing for extended periods of time.
While there is no way to get around the frequency and length of time offering medical care entails, it is still important to take time for breaks and rest. At any time there is a free moment, dental professionals should be sure to relax and do stretches if possible, even if for just a few minutes when available. The relief experienced in short breaks can lead to better long-term back health.
As explained, it is imperative that dental professionals are mindful of how they care for patients so that they don’t create medical problems for themselves, and if anything can make you aware that you might need a massage every month or two. When specific practices are implemented, pain is decreased, making it easier to offer the best medical care to patients as possible.
Featured image credit: South Temple Dentists