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Musculoskeletal Disorders and You—From Day One

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As I pondered this topic and started looking for recent statistics pertaining to dentistry, I stumbled across an article on musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) among dental students. Yup, you read that right—students!

I read the article and discovered that a study conducted at the University of Melbourne in Australia, published in March 2016, found that 85% of students reported having MSD “in at least one body region.” The highest prevalence was reported in the neck and lower back. Final-year students had the highest percentageof poor posture (68%). So it seems that dentists start their careers already suffering from MSD, chronic pain, poor posture, and the fatigue, as well as depression perhaps, associated with these conditions. The article further notes that MSDs are multifactorial and are impacted by stress as well as prolonged static postures—all unavoidable in the dental profession unless you proactively address it.

The article did include some mind-blowing stats, too: 64%-93% of dental professionals report having general, work-related MSD. That’s a lot of people in pain. And that’s the biggest reason dentists retire before they thought they would.

There are various ways to mitigate this work-related “cumulative trauma,” one of which is doing your utmost to improve and maintain good posture. One way to do that is use a chair designed to help build your core strength, and avoid your body’s tendency to do something called “muscle substitution,” which is when a muscle under a lot of constant strain compensates by using another part of the muscle to hold your position. The snow-ball effect here is that tight muscles just get tighter and weak muscles continue to weaken. Not good.

Four series of stools manufactured by the Brewer Company address these issues. Brewer has been offering seating with “dynamic motion technology” to dental professionals since the 1980s. Their chairs and stools keep your core muscles (basically every muscle except those in your arms and legs) activated, which builds and then maintains their strength and stamina. It’s like subtly working out all day. In time, neutral posture will be natural, and pain and fatigue will be lessened for good.

Brewer’s chairs and stools can be effortlessly adjusted and allow for a very wide range of motion. The seats and backs are made with Brewer’s proprietary Hybri-Gel foam, which keeps the padding cool and comfortable while providing pressure management. Click here to find out how these seating options can be customized to your needs, preferences, and office decor. 

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