It might seem unnecessary to explain how to sit down - after all, many of us spend our days on our office chairs. However, an average of 12 - 33 per cent of Australian citizens report lower back pain every day.
Sitting correctly can reduce the risk of back pain, which costs the government around $1 billion annually.
There are a few easy ways to ensure dentists in your practice are not gambling on their spinal health with poor posture and equipment.
Using a Salli two-part saddle chair can help minimise the risk of chronic back pain because dentists can maintain their natural posture while sitting on it.
Many workers hunch their backs when sitting on traditional office chairs, which reduces blood and nutrient flow to the area which can, in turn, weaken the discs and ligaments in the back.
Using a saddle chair ensures the back is not rounded and encourages natural posture.
Obviously dentists are not always at their computers, but when they are, reaching or straining to use the keyboard is not ideal. Dental equipment producer Salli recommends lowering table height by 2 cm in the afternoon and by 3-4 cm when writing to maintain a healthy back.
Exercise and movement
Dentistry can be a workout on its own. The average human head is around 8 per cent of our total body weight. So, if dentists lean forward with their entire upper body for 10 minutes it represents the same amount of muscular exertion used to curl a 45 kg dumbbell 53 times, according to dentistryiq.com.
However, it is still important to take regular breaks from sitting. Consider investing in a bluetooth headset so dentists can walk while they talk.
Stretching regularly should also help because staying in one position is not good for the back and all dentists should do regular exercise.
People with extreme lower back pain may benefit from an armrest for their non-dominant hand so they can take some weight on their arm rather than the lumbar region.