Evaluating the Prevalence of Musculoskeletal Neck Pain in Dental Hygiene Students

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Purpose: Poor ergonomics is one of the leading factors in developing musculoskeletal disorders. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the level of forward neck flexion of dental hygiene students during manual scaling procedures while wearing magnification loupes and investigate the prevalence of musculoskeletal neck pain.Methods: convenience sample of second year dental hygiene students was recruited for this observational study (n=24). A goniometer application was used to measure levels of neck flexion, while wearing dental loupes, 30 minutes into a manual scaling procedure. Participants completed a McGill Pain Questionnaire with a body diagram and an additional survey at the end of the session. Descriptive statistics were used to analyze the data.Results: All participants' showed neck flexion exceeding 20° at the conclusion of a 30-minute manual scaling procedure. A majority (67%) were in a compromised range and 33% were in a harmful range. The top five pain descriptors identified in the pain questionnaire were aching, tiring-exhausted, throbbing, tender, and heavy. Pain was identified in the shoulder/trapezius (63%), cervical (50%), scapular (36%); and the participants' reported pain ranging from 1 to 7.Conclusion: Fifty percent of the participants experienced cervical neck pain when exceeding a forward neck flexion of more than 20° during a manual scaling procedure. The shoulder/trapezius and cervical regions were most frequently identified as the location of pain or problems. An early prevalence of musculoskeletal pain in was observed in this sample population of dental hygiene students.

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Journal of dental hygiene : JDH / American Dental Hygienists' Association







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