ErgoPractice News – June 2017
An ErgoPractice is a facility where no one works with pain or discomfort. It is a place where clinicians can truly concentrate on their patients’ health. It is a workplace where no one treats pain symptoms with massage/chiropractics/drugs. It is a workplace where no one has to claim on a disability that could have been easily been prevented. It is a workplace where no one has to take their pain home to their personal lives.
The ACS Surgery News had a cover story highlighting chronic pain and injury which indicated 92.3% of surgeons reported occupation-related symptoms, and 27.6% reported sustaining an injury or chronic condition from their work.1
Studies show the majority of practicing dentists are practicing in pain.2 Even more disturbing, 70% of dental school students report chronic neck and back problems by their third year!3, 4
Research on hygienists shows 1 in 3 will develop a work-related injury, with neck injuries being the number one reported problem. Once diagnosed, more than 1 in 3 had to reduce their hours.5
Tools for an ErgoPractice
Ergonomically designed vision systems such as loupes are required in order to have an ErgoPractice. It should be noted that improperly designed or adjusted loupes are the main cause of chronic neck pain and injuries. And co-axial illumination is needed to help maintain the best working postures established with ergonomic, custom loupes. Finally, ergonomically designed stools support a natural, upright working posture.
What Can You Do to Help?
Are you concerned about the people you work with? Do you see them bending over their patients as they work? Do they describe feeling soreness and fatigue? Are they paying for massage or chiropractic treatments? Even if they don’t admit to you that they are in pain, the statistics above would suggest they are!
The reason this can continue is that many people don’t know there are real, long-term solutions out there. Today, there is an entire industry that specializes in ergonomic products of all types for all sorts of specialties. Today, there are workplace ergonomic consultants who specialize in surgery and dentistry. These consultants know an impressive amount of detail about all aspects of how your type of work impacts the human body. And if you don’t believe a product, like ergonomic loupes, can literally save someone’s career – check out some of the testimonials at the bottom of our eNewsletter (issue archive at: www.SurgiTel.com/News). Unfortunately, not all products labeled ergonomic truly are ergonomic. For example, see our December 2016 eNewsletter at www.SurgiTel.com/news.
It may feel like you are getting into someone’s personal business by asking them about their pain. But when their pain is related to the work you both share, and they have pain and you do not, is it truly right to not share your solutions? Simply share your story with them and share this article with them. Let them know they are not alone and there are real solutions. They are not trapped!
If you are a leader of a business or department and your employees wear loupes, you have even more urgent reasons to get into your employees’ business. You probably know someone who has had to take disability. Statistics from insurance carriers for associations such as the ADA show one-third of dentists will become disabled for more than 90 days, and 40% of those will remain permanently disabled after 5 years. So if you do not want to lose good employees, make their ergonomic health a priority in your office!
How You Can Help
Ask your coworkers if they have pain. Ask them if they would like that pain gone. Start talking to your equipment providers about ergonomic options. Hire a consultant if you need to. We offer a complete line of ergonomic products, including ergonomic loupes, eye-safe LED headlights, and ergonomic stools. If you see someone hurting themselves by bending their neck more than 25 degrees forward, it is most likely due to non-ergonomic loupes! Contact your local representative at www.SurgiTel.com/MyRep before anyone suffers any longer!
- Chitnis, Deepak. “Operating with pain: Surgeon workplace injury underrecognized.” ACS Surgery News Apr. 2016: 1 . Print.
- Lynch K. My back is hurting my practice, Part 1. AGC Impact; February: 2006
- Rising DW, Bennett BC, Hursh K, Plesh O. Reports of body pain in a dental student population. JADA 2005;136:81-86
- Thornton LF, Stuard=Buttle C, Wyszynski TC, Wilson ER. Physical and psychosocial stress exposures in US dental schools: the need for expanded ergonomics training. Applied Ergonomics 2004;35:153-7
- Guignon An, Purdy CM. 2012 Dental Hygiene Practice in North America. The physical, economic and workforce impact of musculoskeletal disorders among clinical dental hygienists. Presented at the American Dental Hygienists Association Annual Session, June 2014.