When treating patients the dental professional is seated, but may also be rotated at the hips and lower back. The natural curve of the lumbar vertebrae is the most compromised area in a seated position. This curve is developed as an infant prior to taking the first footsteps. It is unique to humans as it allows the spine to remain balanced in a fully upright position for extended periods and gives us the ability to walk. The cervical and thoracic curves of the spine are also involved.
In a seated position consider foot placement, leg position, pelvis, sacrum and low back as they are directly involved in how this is managed. In addition, the torso and weight of the arms may lean at yet another angle. Often, this position places the body both forward and twisted. It is easy to see how the potential for a stress related injury is likely to occur. Tasks involving awkward and static postures generate continuous muscle activity. The muscle fibers fatigue and develop micro tears in this cumulative trauma situation.5 Becoming aware of discomfort in the body when it is just a whisper is crucial. This calls for attention to the small sensations of the body, before they become big enough to create loud discomfort. Engaging in appropriate therapeutic yoga poses with deep, full breathing can be the keys to stability and long-term comfort. The balance of effort and ease found in the body will leave a sense of overall ease that patients, coworkers and family will benefit from as well.
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