Preventing Back and Neck Pain at the Dental Office
No One Deserves to Suffer While They Work
A considerable percentage of a dental professional’s day involves leaning forward for extended periods of time while using the hands to perform intricate and precise tasks. This often leads to uncomfortable stiffness and pain in the neck and back area (with lower back pain being a common phenomenon). Sadly, most dental practitioners are no stranger to this painful truth, especially when schedules grow hectic.
While these unhealthy postures are essentially unavoidable in the profession, there are fortunately ways to prevent and manage neck and back strain in the workplace:
Take regular breaks and alternate your posture.
Take a break as often as you can, and use it to move around and stretch. The body appreciates movement, especially if it’s been held in a position of strain for a long period of time. Changing your posture regularly will help to prevent the strain caused by static muscles.
As mentioned in tip #1, stretch.
Stretching often (before work, after work, during breaks) will help to provide relief by decreasing tension in the muscles and tendons, improving circulation and elasticity, and helping to realign structures in the soft tissues which promotes a healthier posture. These are just some of the benefits of stretching!
Avoid taking on intense schedules or extra long appointments.
Hectic or over-demanding work schedules filled with consecutive procedures and treatments interfere with necessary breaks, which the body needs in order to recover. Manage your work schedule so that you won’t be required to hold unhealthy positions for longer than your body can handle.
Exercise regularly outside of work to keep the muscles strong. Strong back muscles act as a support system for the upper body… and if these muscles aren’t receiving the attention they need to function optimally daily, this can put the upper body at risk for chronic pain.
A dental worker should, before anything else, address their pain with a doctor or chiropractor if it is interfering with their daily life.
We hope these tips are able to provide you with relief inside (and outside) of your dental practice. Take care!