WCPT Africa Region Conference System, 9th WCPT Africa Region Congress

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Benedicta Adjasoo, Jonathan Quartey

Last modified: 2012-02-06



The aim of the study was to determine the pattern of musculoskeletal pain among dental practitioners in Accra.



Studies done in various countries have shown that a significant number of today’sdental personnel experience musculoskeletal pain because of the awkward postures they assume during work and are atrisk of developing serious musculoskeletal disorders. There however, seemed to be a dearth of information about the problem in Ghana. It was therefore imperative to investigate the magnitude of the problem to help physiotherapists design programmes that can help forestall or minimize the occurrence.



Fifty-five (55) practicing dentists participated in this cross-sectional survey. They were purposively selected from both private and public hospitals in the Accra metropolis of Ghana.



The participants completed the Modified Standard Nordic questionnaire, visual analogue scale and a self-structured pre-tested 22-item questionnaire to obtain information concerning location, severity and risk factors of pain respectively.



Data were summarized using descriptive statistics of frequencies and percentages. Inferential statistics of logistic regression was used to determine the relationship between gender, postgraduate qualification, number of days worked per week, years of professional work and the occurrence of musculoskeletal pain at a significance level of p<0.05.



There was a 94 % prevalence of musculoskeletal pain among participants in the last 12 months preceding this study.  Thirty-eight (73%) of the participants reported pain in the lower back, 67%  in the neck, 50% in the upper back and 46% in the shoulders. A little over half (59%) of the respondents first experienced musculoskeletal pain when they were dental students. Forty (77 %) of the respondents believed the onset of their pain was gradual. Majority of the participants reported that working in the same positions for a long period of time, bending and twisting of the back in an awkward way were the major risk factors of musculoskeletal pain among dentists.



There was a high prevalence of musculoskeletal pain among dentists. However its occurrence was not influenced by gender, qualification, experience and number of days worked per week. Proper education of dentists on ergonomic working environments was therefore recommended to minimize their occurrence.



The high prevalence of musculoskeletal pain in some parts of the body among dentists in Accra will help physiotherapists in the diagnosis, management and treatment of the disorder. Physiotherapists will also be in a better position to give relevant advice on prevention if the risk factors are known.


Keywords: Musculoskeletal pain, Dentists, Awkward posture


Ethical clearance

 Ethical approval was sought and obtained from the Ethical Review Committee of the School of Allied Health Sciences, College of Health Sciences, University of Ghana.

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