When working in a dental practice, we spend all day taking care of patients. But if we only worry about our patients' health, we can put our own health in jeopardy.
Some common health problems for dental professionals include neck pain, shoulder problems, back pain, and hand and wrist pain. We must be proactive about our health if we want to prevent these issues—and others.
In the Trapped in an OP Facebook community, members got together to share strategies they use to take care of their bodies. Here are some of the most common strategies your colleagues shared that help them take care of themselves.
Getting regular exercise was a common response from people who reported experiencing minimal to no pain at the end of each day.
One person said they worked in private practice for two years before starting an exercise regimen and was in constant pain. She described her neck, shoulders, and lower back as being “on fire” at the end of each day. After working out and strengthening the different muscle groups in her body, the pain is mostly gone. She still has a day “here and there” when her neck or back will be sore but that is typically only after “an unusually tough day.”
Another colleague said they go to the gym two to three times per week. She still gets some aches but describes them as minimal, and “much less” then when she was doing nothing. She couldn’t move her arm after work before she exercised.
Others reported stretching, core strength, and yoga as helping.
Eating clean came up multiple times, too. As one member put it, exercise is important but “you cannot out-train a bad diet.” Others reminded us that “we are what we eat” and that meal planning can help us lose weight and increase energy.
Participating in Friendly Competitions
If you have trouble sticking to an exercise or nutrition routine, maybe you need a little friendly competition. One member mentioned that her office runs a “Biggest Loser” competition. Each person puts in $25 and the doctor matches the contributions. Whoever wins the competition gets $500. Whoever finishes in second place gets $200.
There is nothing like a little competition and having some money on the line to help you get focused.
Getting Professional Help
If there is one thing we should know as dental professionals, it is how valuable it is to get professional care. It is what we offer to patients, after all. Thus, it might come as no surprise that many dentists and hygienists visit chiropractors and get massages on a regular basis. Another professional some colleagues choose to see is a personal trainer to get in shape.
If you eat clean and exercise regularly and still experience pain or lack of energy, a little professional help could go a long way.
Taking a Balanced Approach to Health
If you really want to be proactive about your health, consider taking a balanced approach—combining clean eating, regular exercise, and help from professionals.
One member practices yoga, gets regular chiropractic help, and does lots of stretching throughout the day. Another gets regular chiropractic and massage services, works out four to five days per week, and meal preps every meal. That combination helps him get “tons of energy during the day.” Also, the only time he experiences aches or pains in his neck and shoulders is when he is getting close to his next chiropractic and massage appointment.
Finally, another member rides Peloton daily and eats vegan, describing health, nutrition, and fitness as a “huge part” of her life.
What do you do to take care of your body?
If we do not take care of our own bodies, it is only a matter of time before we will not be able to care for others. If you have been experiencing aches and pains or neglecting your own health, join your colleagues in the Trapped in an OP Facebook community and take action.
The sooner you start, the sooner your pains could feel better, your energy could go up, and more! Join the Trapped in an OP Facebook community to connect with other dental professionals working together to support each other in business and in life.