Mitigation of Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSDs) through Ergonomics
Authors: Affaf Fatima, Anum Hira, Kulsoom Fatima
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Objectives: To investigate the prevalence of Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSDs) in practicing dentists and dental students in
Karachi and to analyze what percentage of dental practitioners make use of ergonomics in their practices.
Methods: The study was cross-sectional observational study conducted over a period of one month (February to March, 2015) by
self-administered questionnaires. The sample size was set at 250 individuals by using convenience sampling technique from
different universities, hospitals and private clinics in Karachi.
Results: Of total 250 questionnaires distributed, 211 responses were registered. The percentage of response rate was 84.4%. The
study population of respondents had females outnumbering males (Females=143, males=68). It comprised of 42.2%
undergraduate students, 47.4% graduates and 10.4% post graduates on different designations as students, teachers, house officers,
clinicians and PG trainees. Almost every dental college in Karachi was included in study sample. Amongst the dentists, 68% of
them used both hand and vibratory instruments. 57.3% of the dental students used hand instruments. 60.7% of the dentists and
dental students experienced backache due to faulty seating positions. Different therapeutic modalities such as muscle relaxants,
physiotherapy, deep heat, oil massage and analgesics were used both orally and topically to deal with musculoskeletal problems.
64.8% dentists practise principles of ergonomics in dental practice. Amongst them, 7.4% strictly follow it and 57.4% follow it to
some extent. 75.3% of undergraduate respondents were of the view that principles of ergonomics are not taught in their
Conclusion: The conclusion drawn was that half of the population was unaware of the principles of ergonomics in dentistry and
more than half practised it to some extent but experienced backaches. These aches can be explained by inadequate body support,
inappropriate posture and excessive dynamic motion caused by vibratory instruments as was evident through questionnaires. The
general attitude was found to be pro health hazards and not towards following ergonomics principles strictly.