Dentists may experience hand pain, which include throbbing, aching and stiffness, in doing dental procedures. Although pain in the hand can originate from problems in the arm, shoulder area or neck, and from systemic diseases, pain that originates in the hand itself is frequently due to either osteoarthritis or tendonitis.
As always, consult a physician for any persistent problem, but here are tips for lessening the physical demands on the hand from the ADA Center for Professional Success.
- Use instruments that perform many of the functions the hand would ordinarily perform and so reduce movements of the hand; such instruments are those that swivel and reduce torque.
- Use instruments that lessen the time the hand must be used, such as instruments that have variable and rapid speeds.
- Use instruments that reduce stress on the hand, such as those that are vibration free, lightweight, and have enlarged handles
- Use instruments that improve access to the work area, such as instruments that provide bright or intense illumination, magnification, multiple spray ports.
- Reduce the time spent doing the same task. For example, take a ten minute break at least once every hour from doing tasks requiring grip.
- Use hand stabilizing techniques when doing precise hand tasks.
- After completing a task that required intense grip, gently stretch the hand, especially the area between the thumb and first finger.
- If pain continues to worsen, consider seeing a physician for a medical evaluation and treatment of the condition. A splint might provide support of the hand.
For more information on reducing hand pain, including examples of hand motions that may aggravate hand pain, click here. The article is only available to ADA members.
Do you have other tips?