Ergonomics and musculoskeletal pain among postgraduate students and faculty members of the School of Dentistry of the University of Barcelona (Spain). A cross-sectional study

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Harutunian, Karmen ; Gargallo Albiol, Jordi ; Barbosa de Figueiredo, Rui Pedro ; Gay Escoda, Cosme (2011)
  • Publisher: Medicina Oral SL
  • Related identifiers: doi: 10.4317/medoral.16.e425
  • Subject: Estudiants universitaris | Dentists | Malalties musculars | College students | Barcelona (Catalonia) | Occupational diseases | Muscular Diseases | Ergonomia | Human engineering | Barcelona (Catalunya) | Odontòlegs | Malalties professionals

Objectives: To evaluate the intensity and location of musculoskeletal pain suffered by students and professors from different postgraduate programs of the School of Dentistry of the University of Barcelona (Spain), to identify the variables related to the occurrence of musculoskeletal symptoms and signs, and to establish possible preventive measures for such disorders. Materials and Methods: A cross-sectional study was made among students and faculty members from different postgraduate courses of the School of Dentistry at the University of Barcelona between May and June 2007. A total of 74 dentists (54 postgraduate students and 20 faculty members) completed an anonymous questionnaire containing 19 questions. The variables were divided into three main groups: sociodemographic information, ergonomic features and musculoskeletal pain arising from professional practice. Results: Most of the dentists (79.8%) had experienced some kind of musculoskeletal pain in the last 6 months. On comparing the different locations of pain (lumbar, cervical, dorsal, wrist, shoulder and others), the neck was found to be the most commonly affected location (58% of all subjects), and only 34% of the respondents took some preventive measures against musculoskeletal disorders. Women showed a higher frequency of intense pain involving the cervical, lumbar, dorsal and wrist areas (p<0.05). A higher incidence of wrist pain was recorded in professionals exclusively dedicated to oral surgery (p<0.05). No statistically significant correlation was found between the workload (hours) and pain in the different anatomical locations (p>0.05). Conclusions: An important incidence of pain symptoms secondary to musculoskeletal disorders was observed, particularly in the cervical region. Females and younger dentists showed a higher frequency of such symptoms. The implementation of preventive measures is necessary, in view of the high incidence of these disorders
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