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If you are a hygienist, or a professional dental practitioner reading this blog post, most likely you are currently experiencing back and shoulder pains or perhaps you have experienced such pains at some point in your career. If you are currently suffering from back pain, you can use a few these simple ways to relieve the pain.
Working long hours and staying in uncomfortable and unnatural positions for extended periods of time can lead to a backache and shoulder pain. I can personally attest to this since I have also experienced this during my first year in practice.
There are two effective ways to minimize back pain. First is the use of dental magnification loupes and second is doing the superman exercise.
Dental magnification loupes
The greatest challenge we typically face as a dental professional is the nature of our work environment. We do not have direct access to the area we are working on, not to mention the limited illumination inside the oral cavity. Working with indirect vision and dark operating spot is quite difficult most especially if we do not have the right tools to use when performing dental procedures.
In order for us to at least have a better view of the oral cavity, we tend to bend forward and stay in a crouched position until we are done with the dental procedure we are working on. This, together with the unique stresses that we experience while practicing dentistry like postural asymmetry, mental stress, and prolonged muscle contraction, can eventually lead to chronic back pain.
Dental magnification loupes eliminate the need for you to crouch closer to your patient's mouth by allowing you to clearly see the oral cavity within a specified working distance. They are as well ergonomically designed to let you work comfortably while maintaining a healthy posture. Aside from this, dental loupes also help improve your visual acuity, precision, quality of work, and overall performance.
Effective Back Exercise
The superman exercise is an excellent way to get rid of or at least minimize back pain. It works by strengthening and building significant stability for the spine. The superman exercise targets the erector spinae.
Here is how you can execute this back exercise.
- Lie on your stomach on a flat surface like the floor and extend both your arms and legs.
- Raise your chest, legs, and arms simultaneously off the floor by using the muscles of your back and hold such position for a few seconds. You must look like Superman flying.
- Gently lower your arms, legs, and chest and bring them to the starting position while slowly inhaling.
- Do the entire routine in 15–20 repetitions.
And that's it.
It is no surprise that back pain is common to dentists and hygienists. In fact, several studies have revealed that a large percentage of dentists and hygienists suffer from chronic back pain at some point in their career.
According to the International Journal of Dental Hygiene, around 36% to 60% of dentists and hygienists are diagnosed with back pain. The Physical Therapy Sciences also conducted a separate study with regards to the prevalence of back pain among dental professionals and reported that 70% of dentists all over the United States had back pain.