Dental hygienists are predisposed to unique muscle imbalances, all exercise is not necessarily good exercise for dental hygienists. In fact, certain generic exercises, Pilates routines and gym equipment can actually throw hygienists into the vicious pain cycle. Recent research shows that a method called muscular endurance training can help dental professionals reduce work-related pain. Other research supports specific types of exercise in reducing pain.
VIEW VIDEO: “Why Dental Professionals Require Specific Exercise”
VIEW SAMPLE MUSCULAR ENDURANCE EXERCISES:
How to Develop an Effective Exercise Program
• Target the correct muscles with muscular endurance training: Use light resistance and high repetitions (15-20 reps) when training these muscles, usually an elastic exercise band is sufficient for the shoulder muscles, while gravity-resisted exercise on the floor or an exercise ball is good for the trunk muscles.
• Perform strengthening exercises 3 times a week, always allowing 1 day in-between sessions.
• Target specific tight, ischemic muscles with regular chairside stretching. Stretching should be performed daily.
• Strengthening exercises should only be performed when there is no musculoskeletal pain and full range of motion is present.
• It is a good idea to seek professional guidance from a physical or occupational therapist when beginning any new exercise regimen and to ensure good technique.
Embarking upon an exercise program requires prudence and discretion, considering team members’ predisposition to certain muscle imbalances. Selecting improper exercises can lead to imbalance, ischemia, nerve impingement, and other pain syndromes. Developing balanced musculoskeletal health with a well-designed exercise program can help hygienists prevent work-related pain, avoid injuries, extend their careers and improve their quality of life.