Schultz Dentistry: Different signs and symptoms of work-related musculoskeletal disorders

Prevention is better than cure. And this is also true for work‑related musculoskeletal disorders. The use of ergonomically designed dental instruments like the Schultz loupes has been proven to be one of the most effective ways of getting rid of the occupational pain.

Dental Treatment

Apart from using ergonomically designed dental loupes, proper patient positioning, periodic breaks, using the right dental clinical tools, correcting working posture, and doing regular stretching and exercise are also proven to help prevent various work‑related musculoskeletal disorders and injuries.  

If you are one of those dentists and dental hygienists who want to avoid early retirement due to occupational MSDs and injuries, it is wise to know not only the different ways to avoid MSDs but also their signs and symptoms.

Back problems

The most common types of work-related MSDs are the lower back pain, herniated spinal disk, and sciatica. If you start feeling a tingling pain in the back that worsens whenever you bend forward, sit, sneeze, or cough, you might be suffering from musculoskeletal pain. Back problems also include weakness and numbness of the leg and back.

General signs and symptoms of back disorders

               *   Lower spine stiffness and pain

               *   Stiffness and pain in the surrounding tissues of the lower spine

               *   Numbness and weakness in legs

               *   Tingling pain in the leg area

               *   Pain in the hip or lower back that extends to the buttocks and legs

Neck and shoulder disorders

Among the most common neck and shoulder disorders that dentists and dental hygienists are prone to are the cervical spondylosis, thoracic outlet syndrome, myofascial pain disorder, and rotatary cuff tendinitis or impingement syndrome.

Surgical treatment

General signs and symptoms of rotatary cuff tendinitis signs and symptoms

               *   Irritated or inflamed muscles and tendons

               *   Pain, swelling, and stiffness in the side of the arm and front part of the shoulder

               *   Intense pain that can wake you up from sleep

               *   Weakness and loss of mobility of the arm

               *   Pain when lowering or raising the arm or when reaching behind the back

 General signs and symptoms of thoracic outlet syndrome signs and symptoms

Thoracic outlet syndrome have three primary types- the neurological or neurogenic thoracic outlet syndrome, the vascular thoracic outlet syndrome, and the nonspecific-type thoracic outlet syndrome. Each of these types has its own signs and symptoms. However, the most common symptoms of thoracic outlet syndrome include:

                *   Fatigue or weakness of the muscle

               *   Tingling in fingers or arm

               *   Pain or numbness in neck, arm, shoulder, or hand

               *   Weakening grip

               *   Cold hand, fingers, and arm

Hand and wrist disorders

Dentists and dental hygienists are at high risks to these hand and wrist disorders:

               *   Guyon's canal syndrome, also known as Handlebar palsy or ulnar tunnel syndrome

               *   De Quervain’s  Disease or De Quervain's tenosynovitis

               *   Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

 General signs and symptoms of hand and wrist disorders

                *   Weak grip ability or strength

               *   Decreased range of motion

               *   Tingling, burning pain

               *   Cramping of hands

               *   Numbness in hands and fingers

If you experience any of the above-mentioned signs and symptoms, you may need to visit a physician. It is better to treat MSDs as soon as you notice early signs and symptoms to avoid injury. 

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