Pain, soreness and muscle stiffness are big concerns for dentists and hygienists. These musculoskeletal issues can lead to a decrease in your quality of life and the treatment you provide to patients. It can also lead to a shorter career, which is why it’s important to stay healthy, in shape and most importantly, follow these pain-reducing tips:
Watch Your Posture
The number one cause of pain in dentists and hygienists is poor posture. About 75% of dentists and hygienists report that they experience or have experienced some type of musculoskeletal pain. The most common locations are the neck, back (upper and lower) wrist and elbow.
This musculoskeletal pain is caused by prolonged static posture and frequent repetitive movements. A lot of stress is put on the joints during routine cleanings and other dental procedures. Even if the individual procedures are short, these awkward positions are still maintained by dentists and hygienists throughout the day, especially if they are seeing many patients in succession.
To alleviate the pain from static postures, make sure that you mind your posture during procedures. Proper posture includes:
- Avoiding shrugging your shoulder or slumping/hunching over
- Keeping your back and spine as straight as possible
- Avoiding awkward positioning or hyperextension of your elbows, wrists and hands
- Using ergonomic instruments that help you maintain a better posture
Position Patients Properly
Even if you remain ergonomically positioned, there is only so much you can do to avoid stress on your muscles and joints. A big part of pain dentists and hygienists experience comes from the positioning of their patients.
Improperly positioning patients forces you into poor posture in order to gain access to their mouths during procedures. Simply using a dental headrest to reposition a patient’s head can offer you easier access to a patient’s mouth during procedures. Headrests gently tilt the patient’s head backwards, opening up their mouth and allowing you easier access during procedures. They also help keep patients still, allowing you to work more efficiently and comfortably.
Take Care of Yourself After Procedures
What you do after each procedure can help alleviate pain and stiffness and increase your career longevity. Taking some time in between appointments to stretch can help relieve pain. Frequent exercise will also help you stay in shape and keep the muscles in your back, shoulders, neck and arms healthy.
Invest in Your Health and Happiness
Your personal comfort and the length of your career are undoubtedly important to you, so it makes sense to invest in both of them. Dental chair accessories can help you position patients properly and maintain a posture that helps alleviate pain. From dental headrests to Knee Supports and full Bodyrest Systems, you can get all the dental chair accessories you need from the Crescent Products store.