November 29, 2022


A Passion for Better Health

Chiropractors can aid ease suffering from dental hygiene: Reality or crack?

Editor’s notice: This write-up is a capstone undertaking from three students at Pacific College in Oregon. View for far more capstone projects in future concerns of RDH eVillage.

Submitted by Miranda Cooper, BSDH(c), Megan Hess, BSDH(c), Morgan Slippy, BSDH(c), and Lesley Harbison, MS, RDH, EPDH.

Do you bear in mind when you utilized to dental cleanliness school and how fired up you have been picturing your foreseeable future in vibrant scrubs, going to with individuals, and helping build wholesome smiles? Little did you know your physique was about to shout “Surprise!” as you seasoned recurring aches and pains. Dental hygiene, nevertheless an remarkable vocation, can just take a toll on your human body. Aches and pains may perhaps at some point have an affect on several dental hygienists, but thankfully there are alternatives and preventive steps that might assist.

What are those aches and pains? They’re musculoskeletal conditions (MSDs), which typically come up from someone’s specialist profession. Professions with repetitive movements and static, awkward positions add to MSDs.1 In basic, the most common web pages for MSDs in dental gurus are the neck, shoulders, wrists, arms, and back again.2

Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is an really frequent MSD that’s usually identified in dental gurus. In point, the dental workforce is 10 occasions additional very likely to acquire CTS than any other qualified workforce in the United States.3

Associated reading through

Virtually 100% of hygienists have pain on the position. What can you do?
Hygiene instrumentation, hand health and fitness, and ergonomic harmony

As new graduates, we desired to comprehend additional about what causes MSDs and their involved threat components to assistance stop these in our possess occupations. The chance aspects drop into three categories: biomechanical, environmental, and psychosocial.3

Biomechanical danger elements consist of the everyday mechanical movements and forces made use of to conduct tasks this kind of as using hand scalers and ultrasonic scalers.3 In accordance to Blake McGowan, repetitive responsibilities, excessive drive, uncomfortable positions, prolonged sitting and standing, and static postures are the major biomechanical danger factors for MSDs among dental hygienists.4

Environmental components contain how the operating environment can impact the system.3 A single new environmental aspect that can enhance the possibility of a chronic MSD is the onset of the SARS-Cov-2 pandemic. The use of further personal protecting equipment (PPE) has greater our psychological worry and reduced the freedom of motion we loved prior to the pandemic.5 Points that can make improvements to our operating surroundings incorporate owning a excellent clinician chair and suitable lighting to see within the oral cavity.3,5

The psychosocial possibility aspects are all those that could affect our inner thoughts and emotions, these kinds of as the very long several hours and weighty patient load.3

Modalities to minimize agony

In addition to working towards excellent ergonomics and increasing the doing work ecosystem, we explored therapeutic modalities to reduce soreness and stop lengthy-expression troubles related with MSDs. Chiropractic treatment was of particular curiosity to us. Medical professionals of Chiropractic (DC) are health-care providers who concentrate mostly on the musculoskeletal procedure and how it relates to the nervous process.6

The American Chiropractic Association (ACA) estimates that 35 million Americans search for care from a DC yearly.6 A person of the most prevalent therapeutic techniques utilized by chiropractors is spinal manipulation or changes. According to Craig Gonzales, DC, one particular of the chiropractors we interviewed, manipulation is defined as adjusting the joints and spine again to their primary form and function by way of controlled pressure. This can be achieved manually or with an instrument-assisted approach.6 As a result of many chiropractic adjustments, patients encounter lessened agony, amplified motion, and enhanced effectiveness.

Given that dental hygienists are at greater threat for serious discomfort and MSDs owing to the repetitive nature of their occupation, chiropractic treatment is a person of numerous procedure solutions they can pursue for relief. Chiropractors can support hygienists have an understanding of why they are enduring ache and what can be accomplished to stop it. This might contain changing posture, stretching in amongst clients, and working out consistently. Applying joint manipulation modalities, chiropractors can also take care of the flareups that may perhaps happen during a dental hygienist’s vocation.

What did we find out from our interviews?

Because of to the limited research pertaining to the advantages of chiropractic treatment for dental hygienists, we performed interviews with chiropractors and expert hygienists who have received or at the moment obtain chiropractic treatment. We needed to obtain a greater comprehension of the rewards of chiropractic treatment, have an understanding of why dental hygienists seek chiropractic care, and recognize limitations to receiving chiropractic treatment.

We questioned various hygienists about their ordeals with MSDs and chiropractic care. 1 has been getting chiropractic care since 2008 because of to CTS and other musculoskeletal challenges. She reported, “After a handful of chiropractic adjustments, I really did sense superior. I absolutely come to feel considerably less ache.”

A different has sought chiropractic care ever considering the fact that dental cleanliness college, but she says she doesn’t go normally plenty of. When she is dependable with therapy, it prolongs the time amongst her aches and pains.

An additional a single noted that nevertheless she has gained procedure from a chiropractor, she prefers physical therapy since she believes it is additional prolonged-expression. Curiously, the two chiropractors we interviewed supported this thought, endorsing physical treatment as an adjunct for chiropractic care to assist in a long-expression impression. The chiropractors also emphasised incorporating a number of stretches that relate to dental hygienists’ particular career functions, indicating this could do a lot to lower pain.

We questioned two chiropractors about their encounters treating hygienists. We asked 1 about the popular locations he adjusts when dealing with hygienists. He said rib displacement, tight pectoralis muscular tissues, tight trapezius muscles, tight levator scapulae muscles, and a significant amount of mobility restriction in the higher ribs and back again. Figure 1 reveals a chiropractor adjusting a displaced 1st rib into position to restore normal operate and variety of motion. Determine 2 shows manipulation of the rotator cuff, even though determine 3 shows spinal manipulation of the lessen back again.

There are many philosophies practiced by today’s chiropractors. Our analysis and interviews located a commonality in approaching MSDs with the goal of strengthening the ailment although minimizing the frequency of required treatment.6 A single chiropractor reported, “I treat acute injuries principally, with the objective of the affected individual finding far better and not acquiring to hold coming back again. I instruct sufferers some uncomplicated points they can do at home to avoid accidents from recurring.”

Why not chiropractic treatment?

Right after conducting our interviews and examining the literature, it is very clear that chiropractic treatments have benefits for dental hygienists and may maximize career longevity. We wished to recognize why dental hygienists may well be hesitant to test it. The most typical barrier described was the concern of manipulation and the possible of owning to go on therapies for an prolonged period of time.

1 hygienist concerned that the popping her back would trigger extra problems than assist, which would lead to extended-time period dependence on chiropractic treatment. She stated that the sound of her joints popping was terrifying. One more hygienist encouraged her colleagues to “do your individual analysis and make certain the chiropractor you pick is a superior one.”

In particular, anxiety of neck manipulation might cause some people not to take into consideration chiropractic treatment. The ACA states that neck manipulation is remarkably risk-free. Some clients might practical experience soreness for up to 24 several hours, but quite a few go away with relief from their discomfort.6 The barrier of concern, though relatable, can be mitigated by making a trusting connection with a chiropractor who will hear to you and fully grasp your demands.

Yet another common barrier to chiropractic treatment is the lack of rewards for this procedure. Chiropractic care might not be perceived as needed by insurance coverage firms. Therefore, healthcare advantages presented by employers may perhaps not involve protection for this remedy.1

Chiropractic treatment does appear to deliver aid for MSDs and might be a feasible selection for several dental hygienists. Our investigate concluded that if dental hygienists encounter MSDs, discovering a trusted chiropractor can enhance good quality of lifetime and increase career longevity.

We hope this write-up can help you realize your physique and what a chiropractor can do to support. We also hope this assists to alleviate any panic that is interfering with looking for treatment. From our interviews, we concluded that it is a truth! Chiropractors can aid.


  1. Hawk C, Whalen W, Farabaugh RJ, et al. Finest procedures for chiropractic administration of sufferers with persistent musculoskeletal ache: A medical observe guideline. J Altern Complement Med. 202026(10):884-901. doi:10.1089/acm.2020.0181
  2. Malloy L, Boyd LD, Adams JL, Winery J. High-quality of lifestyle in dental hygienists making use of complementary substitute medication approaches for work‐related musculoskeletal disorders. Int J Dent Hyg. 2021. doi:10.1111/idh.12549
  3.  Netanely S, Luria S, Langer D. Musculoskeletal issues among dental hygienists and pupils of dental hygiene. Int J Dent Hyg. 202018(2):210-216. doi:10.1111/idh.12428
  4. McGowan B. Biomechanical danger factors for musculoskeletal issues: What is new? EHS These days. Published on line 2016. Retrieved Oct 10, 2020.
  5. Gandolfi MG, Zamparini F, Spinelli A, Risi A, Prati C. Musculoskeletal issues among Italian dentists and dental hygienists. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 202118(5):2705. doi:10.3390/ijerph18052705
  6. ACA Fingers Down Better–American chiropractic association. What to assume on your to start with go to. Accessed April 5, 2022.