Being a dental assistant can be very challenging when it comes to posture and sitting properly. There are several musculoskeletal disorders that can affect your job in the long run. Some so severe you may have to have surgery!! I don’t think we want that.
Dental assistant mostly experience right-sided neck and shoulder pain, also hand and finger pain that is worst in the first and second fingers. If it doesn’t get taken care of immediately, this pain could lead to muscle imbalances, ischemia, nerve compression, or disc degeneration. Structures in the musculoskeletal system can be affected by long-term wear and tear.
Shoulder and neck pain are the most common musculoskeletal disorders one can get. Right sided neck and shoulder pain is one that the assistant is highly prone to developing, and is difficult to avoid. Reason being is frequent reaching across the assistant’s mid-line with the right arm. Neck pain can also be caused by leaning forward with your head bent down for a long period of time.
Dental assistants can also end up with tension neck syndrome also known as (TNS). It results in pain stiffness and tenderness in the neck. With this the symptoms may not always be in the neck. It can occur between the shoulder blades down the arms or up to the base of the skull. Headaches are one of the main symptoms with TNS. The occupation with dentistry, where forward head and shoulders postures are common, predispose workers to a muscle imbalance that contributes to TNS. The imbalances develop between the neck and shoulder muscles that stabilize, and the ones that move.
The delivery of dental care requires excellent endurance of the motor skills for prolonged periods of time. These muscles seem to get tired quickly and start to weaken with prolonged forward head and shoulder posture. When those (stabilizing) muscles get fatigued other muscles must work harder for jobs which they were not designed to do.
With that happening these muscles are being overworked resulting in improper movement of the shoulder blade, and neck pain. In the meantime anterior muscles become short and tight, the more you pull the head forward. The ligaments and muscles can become eventually adaptable to this poor posture making neutral head postures uncomfortable.
Muscle imbalances with the neck and shoulders perpetuates as tight muscles become tighter and weakened muscles become weaker. So what that being said the longer you keep doing repetitive movements like that the worst your muscle imbalance is going to get. Reason being is because the blood vessels in the arm run behind the tight muscles, entrapment syndromes may occur as a result of pressure on the neurovascular structures.
Cervical instability is another form of neck pain that can be caused from poor posture. Forward head posture can cause the instability in the cervical spine, which can lead to the flattening of the neck curve. This mostly affects women. As muscles ligaments and tendons stretch, shorten,...