Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Protecting Your Back, Part 1

Tips for protecting your back from a women dentist viewpoint ...

"Back pain is too common. It is not limited to construction workers and nurse’s aides; back pain affects up to 70 percent of dentists according to recent studies. While most back pain will heal in about one month with the proper combination of short-term rest and prescribed exercises, some people will develop chronic low-back pain that can interfere with everything from work, to family life, to vacation fun.

Dentists can endure low-back pain that results from the cumulative effects of seemingly nonthreatening activities such as bending forward to reach the oral cavity, bending forward and twisting to view the posterior teeth, and performing chores at home that require lifting, bending, and reaching. Here is a brief overview of back basics, risk factors for low-back pain, and general strategies to minimize these risks. Subsequent columns will address proper lifting and exercises to maintain a healthy back.

... Risk factors for low-back pain

A risk factor is a condition that increases the chance of developing some type of condition. Just as many risk factors exist for developing dental caries (such as poor oral hygiene and poor diet), many risk factors also exist for developing low-back pain. Overall, risk factors increase the compression forces of the spine and decrease the stabilizing factors of the body. Proper use of the body, called body mechanics, can prevent the occurrence of low-back pain. Such risk factors include the following:

* Static sitting: Increases the spinal compressive forces by 30 percent.
* Sitting in a forward-bent posture: Increases spinal forces by 70 percent because the back is supporting the weight of the upper body.
* Standing and forward bending: May increase back forces by up to 100 percent or more if lifting objects.
* Lifting heavy objects: Heavy lifting with arms outstretched places additional load on the body.
* Poor physical condition: Muscles and ligaments in the back and stomach need to be flexible and strong enough to support the low back.
* Lack of rest: All muscles and joints need recovery time to heal."    (Continued via Woman Dentist Journal)    [Ergonomics Resources]

Spinal Column - Ergonomics

Spinal Column

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