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5 Strategies to Help Ease the Pain

Neck, wrist, and back pain are common among dental hygienists due to highly repetitive movements. Here are 5 strategies to help you ease the pain.

Neck, wrist, and back pain are common among dental hygienists due to highly repetitive movements. Poor posture, such as rounding of the shoulders or neck and trunk flexion, leads to muscle overload and pain. Here are 5 strategies to help you ease the pain.

1. STRETCH

From neck stretches to yoga moves, dental hygienists can practice several stretching exercises to help relieve tension, increase range of motion, and reduce muscle tightness. Hand and wrist, shoulder, and chest stretches can be done at work to help decrease pain.

2. GET UP

Staying in one position for a long time can create aches and pains in the lower back, neck, and lower extremities. Clinicians must get up and take breaks to prevent developing musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs).

3. WATCH YOUR POSTURE

It’s easy to slip into a hunched over position while working, but this can lead to pain. Clinicians should stretch and reposition themselves into proper sitting and standing postures. When sitting, the clinician should sit tall. When standing, the transversus abdominis muscles should be engaged.

4. HIT THE GYM

Engaging in aerobic exercise for 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week, not only helps to counteract some of the physical restraints placed on a dental hygienist but also reduces stress. Core-strengthening exercises, such as planks, can help alleviate low back pain, while resistance training and weight lifting can strengthen certain muscle groups.

5. SEE A PROFESSIONAL

Several types of health care professionals can help alleviate pain in the areas most experienced by dental hygienists. Massage therapists and acupuncturists can focus on pressure points, while chiropractors can align the spine and address complaints related to the neck, wrist, legs, and arms. Physical therapists are well equipped to design a program tailored to the dental professional’s needs. By observing the dental hygienist’s environment and postural and movement patterns, a physical therapist can recommend an exercise program focused on individualized needs.

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