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As we all have known, work-related musculoskeletal disorders or MSDs and injuries have been reported as the number one cause of early retirement dental professionals. If you want to enjoy the perks of being a dentist or dental hygienist for years or decades, it is smart to do all possible things that can help you avoid MSDs and to attain a pain-free dental practice.
In the last few days, we have been talking about the significant role that ergonomics play in achieving a pain-free dental practice. We've talked about the different types of MSDs, the different signs and symptoms to watch for and also a few effective ways to avoid them such as using the right hand instruments, ensuring proper lighting, doing regular exercise and stretching, observing proper finger temperatures, and using the right magnification device like Schultz loupes. Today, we are going to uncover some other things that you can do to avoid or at least minimize your risks to MSDs.
There are a few postural techniques that can help you get rid of MSDs. Here are some of them.
One is to maintain an erect and neutral posture. Make sure that the natural curve of your lower back is maintained when sitting down. This can prevent or minimize lower back pain and injury.
As much possible, work close to your body. The farther you extend your arms, the more muscles are at work. Using the right pair of dental loupes can help you maintain a healthier operator posture and minimize lower back and neck pain.
Using an adjustable saddle-style operator stool with lumbar, thoracic and arm support can help promote natural low back curve. Adjust the height of the chair to a comfortable level.
Adjust illumination device
Try to adjust the placement of the light to attain optimal illumination. Better off, use a dental headlight to illuminate the operating field. As compared to the overhead light, dental headlights are easier to adjust and are more efficient. They can help promote better working posture as well.
Avoid wrist and finger problems
Avoid or at least minimize wrist and finger movements to get rid of wrist and finger problems. Excessive wrist and finger movements, as well as too much forceful exertion, can lead to strained wrists and fingers.
Dental tools positioning
Make sure every dental tool, device, and instruments you need are within easy reach. Avoid reaching across the body or twisting your body too much as this can lead to low back pain.
Shift working positions
Consider alternating different work positions such as standing, sitting, above the patient, and side of the patient. Each work position uses different muscle groups. Static postures like when you are just using a single work position all throughout the day can be too much workload for a single group of muscles to handle.
To avoid straining only a single group of muscles, try alternating to different positions and share the workload with the other groups. It allows the other groups of muscles to relax and rest while you are using one group.