When most people think of work-related injuries, they may not think of dental professionals right away — but injuries are fairly common in the dental industry.
A recent study, published in the U.S. National Library of Medicine, showed that work-related harm in the dental industry is common, particularly with musculoskeletal concerns.
Despite the advances that have been made in equipment, technique, and technology, you may still be concerned about work-related injuries and want to prevent them as much as possible.
You can reduce your risk of injury by exercising these specific areas and performing these stretches that may protect vulnerable muscles and joints from harm:
1. Back Stretches
The same study by the NLM showed that back injuries are one of the main injuries that you may face as a dentist. These injuries can happen at any time and may develop or worsen throughout your career.
Due to frequent bending, overall poor posture, repetitive movements, and other strains, the lower back is a specific area of vulnerability.
A few stretches in between patients can lower your chances of ending up with a back injury. Stretches to benefit your back include the seated head tilts and extending your arms completely upward to relieve tension. While it only takes a couple of minutes, the benefits can be lifelong.
When you have more time, using exercises like yoga can help you reduce injuries as well. Many yoga poses aren't overly strenuous and still effectively stretch back muscles.
2. Hand & Arm Stretches
Arm and hand pain is another common work-related injury for dentists. Since you use similar hand and arm movements while working with all of your patients, you may find pain or discomfort from repeatedly using the same muscles.
Hand and arm stretches are an important way you can reduce work-related injuries, including by flexing your forearms and twisting your wrists to avoid elbow pain and help reduce the tension.
The more patients you see in a day, the more frequently you should do these stretches to avoid a repetitive strain injury. If your joints are hurting, take a moment to stretch before you see your next patient.
3. Neck Stretches
Finally, your neck is another common location for injury among dentists. This issue often comes from factors that have already been discussed, such as repeated strain and poor posture.
Corner stretches and levator scapulae stretches can each make it easier for you to work without pain and discomfort and reduce your chances of injury.
Protect Yourself From Loss of Income Due to Injury
Even if you're cautious not to over exert yourself when seeing patients and stretch or exercise frequently, sometimes injuries are unavoidable. That’s why it’s critical to protect yourself and your practice with disability income insurance.
At Treloar & Heisel, we want to help you feel secure in your dental career. Our disability income insurance e-book explains your coverage options to help you begin to find the best policy for your needs.