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Work-related Musculoskeletal Disorders Common Among Dentists

A recently published study shows that a vast number of dentists in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia suffer from pain or injuries in their musculoskeletal system, as a result of their occupation.

Musculoskeletal disorders (MSD or MSK disorders) are the second most cause of disability worldwide. Low back pain is the most frequent condition. Any MSDs due to one’s occupation is known as workplace-related musculoskeletal disorders, or WMSDs. Prevalent among those that spend all day in a chair, dentists are at high risk for developing an WMSD. And that’s if they don’t already have one.

Researchers administered surveys to 234 dentists in the area, which contained 20 close-ended questions. For comparative results, the survey included questions on demographics, health and lifestyle. To learn more about specific occupational pain, the questions also covered workplace practices, work absenteeism, pain location, pain ratings, and other related inquiries.

Results indicated that a huge majority (70%) participants have some kind of WMSD. The highest reported pain locations included the lower back (85%) and neck (84.6%). Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) ranked lower in the type of WMSDs among the dentists, with only 9% of participants reporting the condition. However, the risk of developing CTS increased with age and among private practitioners. Others with increased risk of WMSDs included female dentists, and dentists that didn’t exercise regularly.

Such high rates of WMSDs correlated with the lack of ergonomic practices. Thus, authors of the study recommend that ergonomics training intervention programs would benefit the participants, and dentists at large, for longer and healthier lives, in and out of the dental clinic.

Sheena Bergado

Sheena first met Tricia on a back pain support forum. After becoming online friends they launched PainFreeWorking.com in 2019. Due to suffering from upper back and shoulder pain, Sheena vows to find the best ergonomic office equipment in the Philippines to help fellow desk workers.