Did you realize the profession of dentistry ranked four out of the top five careers that are most damaging to one’s overall health ? Now, include being a woman to that alarming statistic, and this combination could produce the perfect storm for an ergonomic disaster. But what if I was to tell you there are ways to calm the elements to limit or avoid damage to one’s overall health?
There are various options unique to women, from workplace ergonomics, specific exercises, daily activities, clothing, and so much more, when considering interventions to avert or decrease work-related pain. Essentially, there is so much information; I developed a 3-hour seminar entitled “Demystifying Pain Among Women in Dentistry.”
When should women consider armrests? Anything which results in an increase in the distance between the operator and the oral cavity, like pregnancy, a fuller chest, or short forearms. These specific conditions lead to excessive forward reaching which results in shoulder or upper back strain. Also, anyone who maintains one static position for prolonged periods, like endodontists, would benefit by adding armrests to their dental stool.
Do you have pain in your 4th and 5th fingers? Two common causes are thoracic outlet syndrome or cubital tunnel syndrome. Frequently, healthcare professionals have difficulty accurately diagnosing both ailments. A Certified Hand Therapist is highly proficient in an accurate diagnosis. Selecting proper fitting loupes, patient positioning, and a body strengthening regimen can help with a forward head and rounded shoulder posture, which are typical causes of the two syndromes. Click here for Dr. Valachi’s FREE article on hand and wrist pain.
How about upper trapezius pain? Women who are short or have short torsos cannot sufficiently lower the patient chair, forcing one to raise their shoulders while practicing and causing rock-hard shoulders and trigger points. One helpful ergonomic solution is the use of a saddle stool which permits the operator to open the angle of the hips, lower the patient, and allowing closer positioning of the patient. Click here to view a video on how to prevent neck pain in dentistry.
Could your wardrobe cause you discomfort? The leading culprits are purse and bra straps which can produce compression of the nerves within the trapezius muscle resulting in trigger points and headaches. A simple solution to this dilemma is to wear racer-back sports bra with wide straps and a theft-proof backpack–style purse which can both evenly distribute weight on the shoulders.
Is your hip pain getting you down? Prolonged sitting can lead to muscle shortening leading to less flexibility and joint mobility. Great solutions that are straightforward to implement throughout the day are intermittently standing for procedures which move the hips out of a flexed position. Also advantageous is performing hip flexor and hip external rotator stretches regularly, as well as strengthening the gluteus medius. Click here for Dr. Valachi’s FREE article on hip pain.