ACS Surgery News Recognizes the Working Pain Epidemic

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ErgoPractice News – July 2016

In the April 2016 issue of the ACS Surgery News, the Official Newspaper of the American College of Surgeons, the front page featured “Operating with pain: Surgeon workplace injury underrecognized.” The clinicians on the ACS Communities Online Forum reacted strongly and several of their letters were printed in the June 2016 issue.

We agree that workplace injury has been underrecognized in both surgery and dentistry. The first SurgiTel loupes with adjustable declination angle were released in the early 90s. They were a landmark success because they eliminated the pain that everyone had. If you don’t believe such a simple change can make such a huge difference, read the Real Stories section below.

Today more people recognize that ergonomics are important, but they don’t know exactly how. The cause of neck pain is often misdiagnosed as from sports injuries or a bad pillow. And slick marketers obscure the facts by labeling everything “ergonomic” without any reasoning for why; other than the word helps sell.

It is very easy to determine if someone’s neck pain is caused by non-ergonomic loupes. If they look like the person on the left below, if they are tilting their head more than 20 degrees forward (Valachi), they are bound for trouble and need a loupe upgrade.

Do your colleagues work like that? They may already be suffering from a pain they can avoid. This pain is probably infecting their daily lives and they are quite likely are on their way to a forced, early retirement due to injury. (Example: Singer)

If you know anyone in any practice who looks like that person on the left in the photos below, please forward them this post. If they are like the clinicians in the articles, they are suffering quietly – and needlessly so.

-B.J. Chang PhD