Dentists have a high occupational risk of neck disorders with impact on somatosensory function and neck mobility

J Occup Health. 2021 Jan;63(1):e12269. doi: 10.1002/1348-9585.12269.


OBJECTIVES: Musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) in the neck and shoulder region may be associated with significant impairment of quality of life and well-being. The study was to determine the prevalence of painful MSDs in Chinese dentists and evaluate somatosensory function and neck mobility compared with non-dental professional controls.

METHODS: One hundred dentists (age: 36.5 ± 9.8 years) and 102 controls (age: 36.2 ± 10.0 years) were recruited between September 2019 and December 2020. The Medical Outcome Study 36-item short-form health survey questionnaire and information of MSDs history were recorded. The cervical range of motion (CROM) with and without pain, and the pressure pain thresholds (PPTs) of the facial and neck muscles were tested. Chi-square test, Mann-Whitney U test and multiple linear regression analysis were used to analyze the data. The factors in the multiple linear regression analysis were occupation, working age, and gender.

RESULTS: The prevalence rate of neck pain was significantly higher in dentists (73.0%) compared with the controls (52.0%) (P = .002). The regression models of cervical range of posterior extension, lateral flexion and rotation were statistically significant (P ≤ .001). The regression models of PPTs of the tested facial and neck muscles were statistically significant (P < .001).

CONCLUSION: Dentists are at higher risk of neck pain. The bigger cervical range of left rotation of dentists could be related to the working posture. The lower PPTs in dentists may reflect a hypersensitivity in the facial and neck muscles. Preventive measures are needed to reduce occupational hazards in dentists.

PMID:34390307 | DOI:10.1002/1348-9585.12269

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