If you’ve ever suffered from back pain, you know that it can affect your mood, sleep, work, and overall quality of life. What you may not know is that the design of your dental stool can have a direct impact on how your back feels at the end of each working day.
Hours spent twisting and leaning over patients to get the best possible view of the oral cavity can lead to strain, fatigue and pain over time. This is why the majority of dental health professionals have reported at least one musculoskeletal disorder (MSD) during the past year, with up to 60-percent of dentists reporting lower back pain1—a major factor in shortened dental careers.
Rather than choosing early retirement or changing professions, back pain can be better mitigated with dental seating that promotes a healthy posture.
Some MSDs, particularly ischemia and premature disc degeneration, are directly connected to how dental professionals are taught to sit: thighs parallel to the floor with hips at a 90-degree angle. This posture is likely a legacy of the flat, non-adjustable stools of early dental chair design.
Research by a physical therapist for Dental Economics found that positioning the hips higher than the knees (for an increased hip angle) reduced lower-back muscle activity and disc pressure. Chairs with a tilting seat were recommended to maintain the natural curve of the lower back. This type of seat design decreased pressure on discs, allowing closer positioning to the patient while reducing lower back pain overall.
Assuming you typically practice sitting down, working a typical 37.5-hour week over 48 weeks equates to 1,800 hours spent sitting on your dental stool each year. If your stool is unsupportive, causing you aches and pains, it may be worth investing in a more ergonomic solution.
A dental stool that promotes healthy posture will provide adjustability, sufficient back and seat support, and dynamic performance. The A-dec 500 dental stool, for example, is specifically designed to flex, form and adjust to your every move, for all-day comfort and support. The contoured backrest cradles the spine, while a tilted seat distributes weight from seat to feet, encouraging blood flow and promoting proper circulation.
Whether you’ve just started to notice the occasional ache, or you’re feeling it every day, a better dental stool could not only ease your back pain, it could actually extend the length of your dental career. A-dec also offers a complimentary guide called “What to Look for When Buying Dental Equipment,” which offers more tips about finding the right dental stool.
They’ve got your back.
1 Hayes, M., Cockrell, D., & Smith. (009). A systematic review of musculoskeletal disorders among dental professionals. International Journal of Dental Hygiene, 7(3), 159-165.