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Hygiene is hard on the body- how do you cope?

I only work part time- 22 hours a week with the occasional additional four hours per week picked up here and there. I find that on the weeks that I work those additional four hours, I get more headaches from the knotted muscles in my back and neck. How do you all manage to work and not kill your body? Do you do exercises? Get massages? I try very hard to keep my good posture while working but let’s face it, if you have to bend over to see something, you do what you need to do. I am beginning to feel that one of the benefits that employers provide should be a monthly stipend for massages! 😉 Wouldn’t that be great!



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30 Answers

I’ve been working 28 years, the first 20 of them full time, the last 8 part time…I’ve always felt fortunate to not have and issues…no carpal tunnel, no tendonitis, no back or neck trouble…well..this year I’ve had two episodes of literally feeling like I was having a heart attack and a burning sensation in my left armpit…turns out it was my trapezius muscle…from holding my left arm out around the patient and the tilt of my head all these years…

Dr recommended Yoga…I’m already very active…enjoy biking, sports, walking…but I’ll be damned the yoga stretches and really works!..I’m not a fan of massage or chiropractic visits so the yoga is a great way for me to manage things with this dimply added to my routine…its been great!

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I currently work 45 hrs per week- crazy, I know. I use loupes, and stretch my hands, arms, and back throughout the day when switching over my room. I’ve found over the course of my 14 year career that strength training with weights helps greatly with my posture- yes I slump over sometimes, but when my abs are stronger, I sit up straighter. Pilates, yoga, stretching exercises at least once a week help as well. I have a foam roller at home to lie on and open up my chest, and I think acupuncture, chiropractic and massage are helpful, but unrealistic for daily or weekly treatments due to cost. Strong Core = Better Posture!

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I go to a chiropractor every other week. I wish I could get a massage every week but it can get expensive. Make sure your instruments are sharpened so you are not having to grip them as hard. Dull instruments cause you to grip tighter and lead to tightened muscles in your hands up to your neck.

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There is a dentist in Carlisle, PA who actually hires a massage therapist to come in and give massages to his employees once a month. How awesome in that? I think loupes are a must in order to maintain good posture. They have certainly helped to take the strain out of my shoulders and lower back. Also, frequent stretches throughout the day are a must.

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Before my pregnancy I personally would go to the gym 4 days a week. At the gym I did yoga and spinning. In the winter I snowboard EVERY weekend from friday to sunday. For my hands I like to squeeze stress balls. I think this has helped a lot in conduction with good ergonomics

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Go to Posturedontics.com
That site has helped me with trigger point therapy options and book on practicing dentistry pain free and the video for exercising and strengthening the smaller muscles that support the larger muscles in neck, back, shoulders and arms etc. Just need to do that video more!
I also have a foam roller and the Back Knobber II that helps with muscle knots.
Massage is nice, but I’ve found that Dry Needling is an acupuncture technique that I have every three months and helps tremendously. Do not have any medications or a diagnosis of anything related to work issues before you get disability insurance. Any thing as simple as a muscle relaxer script will get a denial. So if you haven’t ever been treated yet officially I can give you a name of someone that can get disability insurance for you. Let me know.

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Oh..I also agree with the above mentuon of the foam roller…my daughters pitching trainer heard of my discomfort and recommended it…got one at a physical therapy place and its also a great tool! 🙂

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I was having such severe pain at one point I really thought I was going to have to change careers. I began seeing specialist of many types, trying all sorts of different meds, and doing physical therapy. None of it helped. One doctor recommended massage therapy, which I would do daily if I could, but can’t afford. The massage therapist told me he could tell I was out of alignment and recommended a chiropractor. It was amazing how much better I felt after my first visit. The chiropractor recommended yoga. That has also been amazing. I do yoga 2 to 3 times a week and see the chiropractor 1 or 2 times a month. Very happy with the results. Strengthening my core and maintaining it is the way to reverse the crazy things we twist our bodies into sometimes when we are cleaning teeth.

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I’d definitely say yoga and pilates. As an RDH and a certified pilates instructor both yoga and pilates saved my body and career. Good luck!

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I have been a hygienist for 22 years and worked 5 days a week till 4 years ago. I still do 5 when we need an overflow day. I was in chronic pain until I found a massage therapist who did deep tissue massage and Rolfing. It has saved my career, and I go every other week. Yes it is expensive but well worth the money to save my career and not be in chronic pain. Wearing loupes with a light, having a good operator chair, stretching and staying properly hydrated have helped immensely. It takes a combination of things to maintain your body if you are dental hygienist. Remember you are worth it!! So invest your time and money into modalities that will give you a long and successful career.

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I injured my neck in a fall and I have been going to a chiropractor for the last year and was taking 2 steps forward and 1 step back. I decided to go to PT as an add on to the chiro. She has been doing dry needling (mentioned above also) on my neck and back and I am AMAZED at the results! It has made my neck 100% better! I also have been having lower back and right hip problems. Apparently hygiene should have a height limit because I have to lean to see anything because my torso is so short! I learned at my chiro appt yesterday that as a result of the way I have to sit, my pelvis is tilted. I definitely have to do something different because I Feel at 31 I should not be dealing with this yet lol! I’m going to check into different seating options and yoga/Pilates. Hopefully it will help me, as I am getting pretty discouraged at this point!

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I do the monthly massage and chiropractic care. At the office I use a ball chair from Isokinetics.com (others use a saddle chair) and loupes.

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Massage once a month and Chiro few times a year! Lots and lots of Aleve!!! Ugh hate it lol!

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Loupes, accupuncture, massage and stretching! You have to also strengthen the supporting muscles to be able to contort yourself during work days. I also remind myself to keep a light grip and sit up straight while practicing patient care. Best wishes!

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I think loupe glasses keep your posture correct. I also recommend a 30 to 50 min walk on your lunch hour. You may have to just eat light before or after the walk but it will give you a strong lower back and will save you money by not needing a massage

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Saddle stool and loupes for posture, head lamp, and massage 2xmonth. Lean pts back far enough and get a night guard- clenching can add to those tight muscle in the head and neck.

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Saddle stool for posture and chiropractor once a week. Also massage when needed.

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I am thinking about trying a saddle stool too. I try to stretch between PTs even if it is quickly, or even while they are rinsing if they take a long time. I have only been practice for about five years and I hope I hope I don’t have too many problems on the future w this. I also wear loupes and a headlight to prevent bad ergonomics even though mine still are not great!

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I have cervical spinal stenosis after 22 years of 25 hrs/ week of hygiene. After going to PT for 6 visits, I use an over the door traction device I got from a surgical supply store.

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After 28 years of 3-4 days of hygiene I have found that regular exercise has helped the most. I agree with the ones that recommend yoga but strongly recommend a mix of different exercises. I do aerobics, strength training, cycling…anything to keep moving but at times a good deep tissue massage is still in order.

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I have a saddle stool and really like it. I used to do monthly massage and chiro visits, but for the past year and a half I have been doing Bowen Therapy once a month instead. It is WAY more gentle than the deep tissue massage I relied on for 20 years AND I have been feeling better since I started having Bowen Therapy done! There is only ONE person doing Bowen currently in my area, so if you live more rurally, you may not find many practitioners. The first time I tried it years ago, I had to drive 2 hours to get the closest practitioner! With a small child, I knew that I wouldn’t be able to keep making that trip, so I was THRILLED when I found my local person! Best of luck.

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Proper ergonomics from day one and use of loupes is the best way. I find that monthly chiropractic is very helpful too.

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Chiropractor once a week. Massages when I can or when my neck and shoulders insist I need one!

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Try to stay as active as possible outside of work. Stretching is also key. Keeping the muscles doing other activities is so important and then stretching on a daily basis has saved my career. Take proper ergonomics very seriously and also keep your instruments sharpened. I’ve been doing hygiene over 15 years and have laid off the activity and stretching outside of work and it snuck up on me. As soon as I got back into my routine, I felt better again. Good luck!

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Bikram Yoga! I have Scoliosis + chronic myofascial pain from a bad accident I was in ( hit head on by a drunk driver,Car totaled was in the hospital after..)+ Assisting Ergonomics often take a toll on my back/neck/shoulders. ” A Body in motion, stays in motion” completely true. Yoga and Thai Massage are my saviors!

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What about inversion tables? I haven’t gotten one yet but I used to work with a dentist that swore by them. He said pay the money once and you’ll never need a chiropractor again.

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Yoga. That is all that needs to be said.

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Try giving up gluten for 2 weeks. All my pains went away.

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I use loupes, a saddle stool, and a Sidekick to keep my instruments sharp at work. Outside work, circuit training 3-4 times per week to keep the core super strong, plus an occasional massage. I like yoga, but love the weight training more, that’s just me. I tried chiro before my start with circuit training but found it is only temporary and expensive fix. I’d rather work out with my fun team at the gym, they have become friends!

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I have worked 32 hours per week for 18 years. I started having neck and upper back issues 3 years in. I did therapy, exercises, massage, and chiro. 4 years ago, a chiropractor said if I could do pull ups, I’d have virtually no pain. I couldn’t do one pull up. My boyfriend is an athletic trainer. He bought me a total gym (think chuck Norris). I love it! Keeps me feeling great. I also lost inches and had to buy new clothes!

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