Prevalence of Musculoskeletal Pain among Dentists in Shiraz, Southern Iran

N Pargali, N Jowkar


Background: Occupational diseases are worldwide. Some dentists believe that they are at a higher risk for development of some musculoskeletal disorders for the postures they should have during work.

Objective: To determine the prevalence of musculoskeletal pain and their associated occupational factors among dentists from Shiraz, southern Iran.

Methods: In a cross-sectional study, 90 dentists of 375 members of Fars Dental Association were selected at random and asked to complete a self-administered questionnaire. The questions were about personal characteristics, job history, some work characteristics mostly pertaining to dentistry including physical risk factors at work plus any report about the occurrence of low back pain (LBP) and neck pain.

Results: Of the 90 questionnaires distributed, 82 (91%) were completed and returned for analyses. Of 82 studied dentists, 42 (51%) were female (mean±SD age of 36±6.6 yrs) and 40 (49%) were male (mean±SD age of 39.4±8.7 yrs). 27 (33%; 95% CI: 23%–43%) dentists had LBP; 23 (28%; 95% CI: 18%–38%) had neck pain; and 10 (12%; 95% CI: 5%–19%) had both. Of these 60 dentists who had pain, 27 (45%; 95% CI: 32%–58%) had radicular pain and 28 (47%; 95% CI: 34%–59%) felt numbness and/or paresthesia in their limbs. 33 (55%; 95% CI: 42%–68%) of 60 dentists with musculoskeletal complaint could not identify any factors for their pain. The prevalence of neither LBP nor neck pain were significantly different between men and women. The place of work and the prevalence of complaint of musculoskeletal pain were also not significantly correlated. None of the studied work-related risk factors had a significant association with the complaint of musculoskeletal pain.

Conclusion: Although the prevalence of LBP and neck pain is high among dentists, we could not find any correlation between the studied work-related risk factors and musculoskeletal disorders. We concluded that dentistry, per se, is probably not an initial factor for development of neither LBP nor neck pain, but it could accentuate the symptoms.


Musculoskeletal diseases; Occupational health; Low back pain; Neck pain; Dentists; Prevalence; Epidemiology

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 pISSN: 2008-6520
 eISSN: 2008-6814

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