African Journal of Medicine and Medical Sciences vol:39 issue:2 pages:137-42
Dental health workers like other workers have occupation related health problems and hazards which include neck and low back pain. Previous studies have shown that the prevalence and location of pain may be influenced by posture and work habits and as well as demographic factors. The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence of neck and back problems among dentists and dental auxiliaries in private and government dental hospitals in south western Nigeria. Structured self administered questionnaire was sent to dentist and dental auxiliaries by randomly selecting 3 out of the 6 state capital from the southwestern Nigeria. Participants included those in private clinics, teaching hospitals and general hospitals. The questionnaire was composed of respondents biodata, questions about specific information on neck and back pain and routine practice posture while working at chairside. The total number of properly filled questionnaire was 210 with a male to female ratio of 1.04:1. Respondents included 147 dentists, 37 dental surgeon assistants (DSA), 14 dental therapists and 12 dental technologists. Prevalence of back and neck pain among the respondents was 88.1% and 81.9% respectively. Among the male respondents, the prevalence of back pain was 86.9% and 89.3% in female while for neck pain, the prevalence was 83.2% in male and 80.6% in female. Within the different professional groups, the prevalence of back pain was highest among the DSA (89.2%), closely followed by the dentists (88.4%), then therapists (85.7%) and least among the technologists (83.3%). For neck pain, the prevalence was highest among therapists followed by technologists, dentists and least among the DSA. More females missed work due to back and neck pain than males. There is therefore the need to address ergonomic issues and change the way dentistry is practiced.