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Decrease Your Risk of Musculoskeletal Injury

Musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) are a leading cause of workplace injury, decreased production, and early retirement among oral health professionals. Clinicians in dentistry experience MSDs at higher rates in the back, neck, and shoulders than the general population, manifesting as varying levels of pain, decreased mobility and strength, and loss of sensation. The physical symptoms result from the fatigue of muscles, tendons, ligaments, and joints. Compromised ergonomic positioning, repetitive motions, and pinched positioning with the hands or wrists are contributing factors that often occur during patient care. Increased levels of work intensity, prolonged exertions, and the psychosocial impacts of stress can initiate or exacerbate this fatigue. Clinicians with MSDs report negative effects on their psychological health and overall quality of life, experience higher levels of depression or mental distress, and note lower levels of confidence and decreased satisfaction at work.


Which of the following is a contributing factor to MSDs during patient care?

Shot of a female medical practitioner experiencing back pain Dean Mitchell / E+
Correct! Wrong!

Improving equipment and workplace design for improved visibility and postures can reduce the risk of MSDs.

Office syndrome concept. Young asian businesswoman feeling pain in neck after working on computer laptop for a long time marchmeena29 / iStock / Getty Images Plus
Correct! Wrong!

Slumped postures decrease the risk of MSDs through increased spinal loading and flexion of the head and neck.

Research and development isn't without it's demands Moyo Studio / E+
Correct! Wrong!

The clinician should maintain the ideal working distance of 12” to 16” between his or her eyes and the patient’s head, while the clinician’s back and neck remain in line with the long axis of the body.

Dentist adjusting surgical light in dental clinic Morsa Images / E+
Correct! Wrong!

A decrease in vision can cause compromised postures.

Dental medical glasses with binocular lenses, in dentistry clinic vmargineanu / iStock / Getty Images Plus
Correct! Wrong!

Which of the following can cause the individual to squint, further exacerbating eye muscle fatigue?

Teen Female Texting on a Smart Phone with Solid Blue Background and Pink Fur Jacke agil73 / iStock / Getty Images Plus
Correct! Wrong!

Magnification has been associated with ergonomic and vision improvements that can lead to decreased risk for MSDs.

Portrait of a young female dentist wearing magnifying glasses Yuri_Arcurs / E+
Correct! Wrong!

Decrease Your Risk of Musculoskeletal Injury
Not bad, but there’s room to grow when it comes to understanding decreasing your risk of musculoskeletal injury. Consider reading more about this important facet of dental hygiene care. Good luck!
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This information is from the article Support Your Ergonomics and Visual Acuity During Patient Care by Denise Kissell, BSDH, EFDA, MPH and Brian Partido, BSDH, MSDH. To read the article, click here.

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