Working in the dental field can put undue pressure on the body. For dentists and hygienists, this includes awkward positioning while treating patients. For the front desk team, it can include long hours sitting, keyboarding, and cradling phones.
Ideally, you need breaks to stretch and rest your body, but it can be difficult to find the time. As dental consultants, we urge you to make the time. If you’re not taking care of your musculoskeletal health, you risk serious chronic pain or career-ending injury. Here are tips to promote healthier workplace movement for you and your team.
Make Stretching a Daily Habit
One of the easiest steps you can take to reduce the strain dentistry puts on your body is to stretch throughout the day: Bend, twist, raise your arms above your head, just encourage better blood flow to your muscles. Even a short stretching session in the morning, at lunch, and at the end of the day can loosen up your body and promote circulation.
Focus on Ergonomics
Ergonomics is the study of people’s efficiency in their workspace. It dictates that workplaces should be arranged so people interact with equipment safely and efficiently.
A study published in the International Journal of Pediatric Dentistry shows that dentists are prone to a variety of musculoskeletal disorders including lower back pain, upper back pain, shoulder and neck fatigue, and hand and wrist tension.
See if there are opportunities to make your office more ergonomic. That might mean standing desks for the front office team, better lighting, adjusting chair height or adding arm support for chairside work. There are many ways to reduce the physical stress caused by work, and a dental consultant can show you how.
Build movement breaks into the day. This keeps you limber and makes you more mindful of how you position yourself while working. Deliberate movement is especially important if you remain in static positions for long stretches.
Get Adequate Exercise
Exercising strengthens your supporting muscles and promotes overall improved health. It has also been shown to help you sleep better at night, giving your body a chance to recover after a long day. While strength training will be most optimal for building your stabilizing muscles, any type of exercise will be beneficial.
Do you worry chronic pain is limiting your productivity? Perhaps years in awkward positions have left you with chronic discomfort. Recognizing the source of the pain is the first step toward addressing it. For tips on how to maintain a healthier and more productive dental team, schedule a consultation with our dental consulting team.