Dental professionals present unique body mechanics as they treat patients that can result in pain and overuse injury. Numerous studies have been performed due to this fact. It has been discovered and encouraged that dental professionals can have long, comfortable fulfilling careers that could be reduced through a combination of prevention, ergonomic guidance, and specialized therapeutic interventions.8 Over time, the repetitive positions and the nature of the movements will likely result in discomfort leading perhaps to loss of work and interruption of personal/family time. Recreational activity, chores and sports will become something that might be sacrificed or decreased.
There are many areas that can suffer strain in the body. The first and largest affected, as well as most potentially debilitating, are the hips (pelvis) and low back (lumbar/sacrum) when out of balance.
Since there is limited teaching on ergonomics in dental universities around the world, it suggests the implementation of an intervention program about work related musculoskeletal disorders that focuses on ergonomic considerations and regular exercises that can be effective in reducing such disorder among dental professionals.9
There is something that can be done. Raising one’s own awareness, noticing breathing patterns, learning how to activate key areas of core stability and applying a few stretches/strengtheners will result in less discomfort in the body. When approaching this practice, remember the self as the caregiver of the body. Take the time to find simple effective methods to create postural health. It is important to note the suggested practice here will certainly benefit the dental body; however, it can be only the beginning of stopping the chain of pain and injury. Yoga has become more and more popular with all levels of age, health and fitness. It is a practice that is immediately available, diverse in style and offered at all levels which makes it open to everybody. Local studios as well as online sessions are good places to begin to deepen the ever growing body of knowledge. It may take some time to find the place/teacher that best suits individual goals. It is important as well, to remember to start in a level appropriate class and soon the proper level for each individual will present itself. The hardest part is taking the first step of beginning. Resistance itself is strong before, during or after a long busy day. No one ever says “Darn, I wish I didn’t do yoga.” Begin today to free the overworked tightness with breath and stretch, as well as strengthening the weaknesses. Creating peace and equanimity in the body, mind and spirit will allow for the freedom that will be felt in the office and into everyday life.