The Most Important Instrument

It was a Monday afternoon and I had settled into my daily routine. I was sitting on the edge of my chair, legs crossed, torso twisted just finishing up on the towards surfaces on the mandibular anteriors when I my coworker chided me "You don't teach your students to sit like that, do you?" She rightfully doesn't have sympathy for me when I have a sore back. I have only met one hygienist in my entire dental career whom has claimed to not have had any musculoskeletal symptoms resulting from time spend in the dental operatory chair. She was also very dedicated to her yoga practice. I thought to myself "Ain't nobody got hime for dat!" I then came across a survey that was conducted in 2012 of more that 1100 dental hygienists. In it, 51% of respondents self-reported either single or multiple workplace injuries.1 The study indicated that hygienists manage musculoskeletal disorders by stretching, core-fitness training, medications, therapeutic massage, or chiropractic treatment. Even  with that care, 27% have temporarily and 38% have permanently reduced work hours. We can often forget that it won't matter how sharp our scalers are, how expensive the equipment we use, or how much we get paid if our more important instrument is being neglected day in and day out. So next time you think to yourself "Ain't nobody got time for day" remember you won't have time for a job if you don't take time for your body. I will be focusing my next few posts on what you can do to ensure job security for yourself an your most important instrument- your body. The first step for me was to be kinder to my internal dialog about my body. When I am feeling my muscles in a knot, instead of complaining first, I express gratitude for my muscles. My body is what allows me to have this AWESOME career. Being more grateful has helped! Be grateful and stay tuned, I will be posting a video about clock positions now that I have repented of my harmful ways.

1Guignon AN, Purdy CM. Stop the pain! Greater Cleveland Dental Society website. 2014. Accessed June 25, 2014 - See more at: