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.”
Do you have pain in your upper back? An increase in the distance between the operator and the oral cavity, like pregnancy, a fuller chest, or short forearms can cause excessive forward reaching which results in shoulder or upper back strain. Women in dentistry who meet these criteria must be implementing specific ergonomic strategies.
Do you have pain in your 4th and 5th fingers? One cause could be thoracic outlet syndrome, which is frequently misdiagnosed as carpal tunnel syndrome. Requesting a referral to the correct specialist and implementing 3 dental ergonomic strategies are key to resolving this syndrome.
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 special ergonomic dental stool which permits the operator to open the angle of the hips, lower the patient, and allowing closer positioning of the patient.
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. Selecting the correct bra and an ergonomic purse style can help mitigate upper trapezius trigger points.
Is your hip pain getting you down? Prolonged sitting can lead to muscle shortening leading to less flexibility and joint mobility. One intervention that is straightforward to implement throughout the day is intermittently standing for procedures, which move the hips out of a flexed position. There are also many more ergonomic and exercise strategies to prevent hip pain in women dental professionals.
Access the full article, “Work-related Pain among Women in Dentistry” in the WellBody System for Dental Professionals.