Proper movement of the neck and shoulder are of vital importance in the delivery of both effective dental care and the performance of activities of daily living. Poor posture, sustained postures, and the resultant muscle imbalances in the neck and shoulder can result in painful upper limb musculoskeletal disorders. Dental professionals are prone to abducting their shoulders (moving the upper arm away from the body) during dental procedures. These sustained positions can cause impingement of the tendon that passes under the shoulder, subsequent muscle weakness and instability of the shoulder girdle. Sustained shoulder abduction during precision activities also places a high level of demand on the trapezius muscle (large, flat, triangular muscle between your shoulders and your neck). Positioning the patient too high or working with the head tilted forward or to one side can lead to a greater demand placed upon this muscle.
These sustained postures with insufficient rest periods can cause excessive tension in the shoulders by the end of the day without you even realising it. Increasingly, dentist stools are being developed with arm supports that allow you to rest the arms during certain upper limb activities. Some arm supports are also available which are moveable allowing you even more flexibility with your arm position during operations. For more information on upper limb supports in dentistry, please call 0203 0510157.