Dear friends of ours are dentists. They in turn are friends with more dentists who are specialists of dentistry. Periodontists, endodonists, and orthodontists and off course they work with dental hygenists.... Well they all have something in common because of the type of work that they do. I have noted this through many a conversations with them recently and over the years.
They often have to deal with neck pain, headaches that cause shooting pains, shoulder pain, muscle spasms of the upper back and midback region. The reason is that they are spending large amounts of the day hovering over patients in different positions. Positions that do not forbode well for their necks, shoulders, and even backs. Sometimes they are in these positions for hours.One of the most common used muscles by the dental profession is the trapezius muscle.
In fact, another common condition among dentists and dental hygenists is called trapezius myalgia. The trapezius muscle is often used in almost all dental procedures by the dental professional. Symptoms of trapezius myalgia includes muscle pain, tenderness and muscle spasms.Furthermore trigger points in the trapezius muscle cause referred pain, specifically a headache behind the eye, into the temple and the neck. Studies have shown that this set of symptoms happens on the side of the mirror or the retracting arm.
Well I often have recommendations for them. Things they can do to stay relaxed and free from muscle tension. First I do recommend seeing a chiropractor regularly. Dentists specialize in teeth, and chiropractors specialize in backs and necks. Specifically, getting the proper alignment in the spine is important for posture, and pain relief. Next I often recommend some kind of muscle work. Either at home with a trigger point therapy device or seeing a massage therapist is effective as well. Concentrating on the suboccipitals, cervical paraspinals, upper shoulders, trapezius, rhomboids and scalene muscles is important.
I also recommend using a countoured neck pillow at night to sleep on. One example is the arc4life linear gravity neck pillow. This pillow comes with two different neck rolls that you can sleep on. One firmer, one softer. For something more serious like a pinched nerve in the neck or a neuropathy, I may recommend the arc4life traction pillow.
Also using a tractioning type of device during the day can be equally relaxing and give the muscles a chance to stretch and de- stress. I have had many dentists use the soothe a ciser for themselves just to stretch their own spines out. Another great device that you one can lay on for 10-15 minutes a day is a cervical tractioning pillow.
Here are some more recommendations specifically for the dental profession:
- Don't position the patient too high
- Use properly selected magnification
- Use armrests
- Take Frequent Breaks
- Manage Stress Appropriately
- Use Moist Heat Therapy for chronic pain and stiffness
- For Women, don't wear narrow straps on your bras- a racer back or sports bra may be better fit as it does not cut into the trapezius muscle as much.
As with any profession, there are always ways that we tax our bodies. Especially after doing the same repetitive tasks over and over. In the case of dentistry, the trapezius muscle is the most used muscle while on the job. Taking care of peoples teeth is very important- not only for asthetics but also for general health. But as a dentist, they themselves have to care of themselves so that they can keep others peoples teeth healthy. I guess it goes both ways.
- Treatment options for someone with neck and shoulder pain
- Upper back and neck pain relief by stretching the trap muscles
- One Way to have good posture during the day
- Fix that hunch back posture
- The arc4life pillow gives a neck stretch to the neck and shoulders