Dentists spend a lot of time sitting down on their dental operator chair. Now, Research has indicated that one of the important aspects to consider when you are choosing seating is the angle the chair will place between thighs and the upper body.
Most dental operator chairs place the thighs at a 90 degree angle to the upper body, which can put stress on the lumbar system. Research indicates that increasing the angle to 135 degrees is better as it reduces pressure on the spine.
Increasing the angle between thighs and the upper body means the spine takes on its natural 's' shaped position.
Sitting with a thigh-body angle of 90 degrees means that discs are pressed and can 'bulge' out.
Sitting in a way that is not anatomically correct places more stress on ligaments as well as on the spine, which can have negative consequences in future.
Pain and chronic illness can be a result of incorrect sitting habits that weaken discs in the back.
With up to 80 per cent of Australians developing back pain at some point in their lives, ensuring your practice is fitted with dental chairs that promote back strength should be a priority.
As many as 10 per cent of those with back pain go on to develop significant disabilities, according to research by Andrew M. Briggs and Rachelle Buchbinder in the Australian Medical Journal.
Back pain can have a huge impact on quality of life and contributes a large cost to the community.
However, the high angle required between thigh and upper body can make sitting down on traditional office chairs difficult.
One way to ensure staff are sitting correctly, is to invest in a range of saddle chairs.
The Salli range of saddle chairs let the lumbar vertebrae sit correctly which reduces stress on the discs.
With these chairs, back muscles also strengthen because the body is positioned correctly - and lower back pain may be reduced significantly for people who use these chairs.
Those who use these chairs may find reaching for items becomes easier and more comfortable, which is naturally important for dentists who often need to move around to access different types of dental equipment required.