Dental professionals are at high risk for developing musculoskeletal disorders (MSD). This is due to repetitive movements, bending, twisting, reaching, incorrect operator and patient positioning, and performing repetitive movements in a static posture.
But hope is not lost! Establishing and maintaining neutral posture while practicing (and in all other areas of life) can help support the body and reduce this risk.
Neutral posture can be easily seen from the profile view. The ear should be in line with the shoulder, which is then in line with the hip. This supports the natural curvature of the spine and allows your bones to hold you up, which is what they are designed for. Oftentimes, we are in forward head posture while practicing:
Forward head posture is characterized by the ear being in front of the shoulder. This posture does not allow for your skeleton to hold your head up, but rather the soft tissues of the neck and back. This is not what those muscles were designed for and can contribute to the development of a MSD.
Postural awareness, ergonomic coaching, and ergonomic loupes can greatly improve your head posture and keep your body safe! Constantly reminding yourself to push your chin back will help establish neutral posture and build the habit of a neutral head position. Think about pushing your chin back while practicing, but also while driving, working on the computer or cell phone, working out, walking around...
We have a lot to think about while we're working on patients, but our health is #1! We must put that first if we want to have a long and healthy career with minimal pain and discomfort.
Please reach out for more information on how ergonomic coaching can help you!