Dentistry is great for your back.
Oh hang on, that's wrong isn't it? Dentistry is awful for your back. Studies show that 70-90% of dentists report some kind of back pain. Even before qualifying I was having such significant back problems that I was seeing an osteopath once a month and I have even had lumbar X-Rays to make certain there isn't a physical abnormality.
This meant that when I decided to take out income protection insurance, any problems arising from the vertebral column are excluded from any payouts.
So I know that I really have to look after my back, neck and shoulders.
There are lots of things you can do to minimise the stress you put on your back and shoulders and there are many people out there who are much more qualified to talk you through them than I am. I just want to explain the 2 surprising things I found have really helped me over the last few years to the point that back pain is extremely rare for me now and my shoulders are only occasionally a problem.
The first big change was when I jumped up in magnification of my loupes. When my old 2.5x cheap loupes broke I decided to upgrade to some top of the range 5x ones. Evident we're great with an optometrist coming to the practice to take measurements not only of my eyes but also my posture to make sure they were properly set up for me. The result is that the loupes really help encourage me to adopt a better sitting position more of the time.
And the second big change has come only in the last 6 months with me deciding to learn Tai Chi. This set of "moving meditation" and whole body stretching has resulted in me learning ways to avoid over-working those difficult areas and has hugely increased my core strength and flexibility. I attend one long lesson each week and add to that with just 10 minutes practice each morning before work to help relax my muscles and clear my mind. I have found this to be an enormous help with my back and shoulders.
I have just completed the beginners class so yesterday took part in a public demo to show what I have learnt and help encourage others to think about attending a free trial session. Here is a video of that demo:
If you would like to find out more about Tai Chi then have a look at this video of Master Moy (The father of this form of Tai Chi) showing how it's supposed to be done and talking about the benefits:
Dr Chris Harper