I talk about microbreaks a lot, but what exactly are they? A quick stretch? A coffee break?
*Also, read to bottom of this post for a special announcement*
We are so very busy in dentistry, it's hard to even think about taking any breaks at all.
But hear me out...
When we are working in dentistry, we are prone to prolonged, isometric contractions of certain muscles. For example, the upper traps, shoulders, or forearms.
When this happens, pressure builds up inside the muscle and cuts off blood flow. We all know that blood:
-Provides oxygen and nutrients
-Removes waste products
So, if we have a muscle that is under incredible load (think being in the chicken wing for a long time) and isn't getting the nourishment it needs, it will start to fail. Symptoms of this can be:
-Eventual injury of that muscle, leading to missed work, surgery, and straight-up pain and misery.
What to do??
That's where the microbreaks come in. Microbreaks:
-Relax the muscle
-Reduce the pressure
-Allow blood to flow back in, healing the microtrauma and removing waste products
-Also, feel damn good
These have been shown to reduce pain, fatigue, and the future risk of injury when done consistently.
The rule of thumb:
-Take one every 20 minutes for 20 seconds.
You can do this when switching from hand to power scaling or during a prep or restorative appointment (likely your patient would like a break too)!
I will be posting a series of videos (starting tonight) highlighting my favorite microbreaks for the muscles most commonly overused in dentistry on my Instagram page, @steph.posturepros. Be sure to click to follow me and save those stretches, they are key!