Exercise of the Month for March 2013

This month’s exercise, provided by Bethany Valachi, PT, MS, CEAS, targets the primary spine stabilizers: quadratus lumborum, lateral oblique, and transverse abdominal muscles. Research shows that this type of strengthening, when targeted with endurance training, may reduce and prevent low back pain.

Mar 15th, 2013
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VIDEO: Sidelift Exercise for Dental Hygienists

Got low back pain? This month’s exercise targets the primary spine stabilizers: quadratus lumborum, lateral oblique, and transverse abdominal muscles. Research shows that, when targeted with endurance training, this type of strengthening may reduce and prevent low back pain. Read more …

You use your spine stabilizers constantly in the operatory, especially when you leave the backrest of the stool to visualize an area of the oral cavity. Few exercises target one of the most important stabilizers, the quadratus lumborum, (your ‘hip-hiking’ muscle). Those exercises that do isolate this muscle usually create unsafe compressive loads to the spinal discs.

This exercise safely targets these essential stabilizing muscles while minimizing dangerous compressive forces to the spinal discs--helping you prevent back pain and work more comfortably without fatigue.

Begin in a side-lying position with your arms crossed and head on a small pillow. Pull navel to spine and hold as you slowly lift both legs off the floor, making sure your pelvis does not roll forward or backward. (Fig. 1 below)

Briefly hold and repeat 10 times on each side. Two common mistakes include rolling the pelvis forward and arching the back, or rolling the pelvis backward while flexing the hips. Both mistakes can place increased stress on the back.

When ready, you can progress to the advanced version of this exercise. (Fig. 2 below)

Place the ball under one side and position your top foot in front of bottom foot against the wall so you are securely balanced. Interlock your hands behind head, tuck your chin, pull navel to spine and slowly lower the body over the ball and raise to straight position while avoiding any twisting. Repeat 10 times on each side. To make this exercise more challenging, move the ball lower, toward the hip.

You can also target these muscles in a similar manner on a piece of equipment found at most gyms: a side-sit-up bench. Stand on the foot platform of the bench that is tilted 45 degrees to one side, with your feet anchored. Cross your hands across the chest and slowly straighten the body. Repeat.

View original video: Why Hygienists Require Specific Exercise

Read more about preventing and managing low back pain in dentistry.

Bethany Valachi, PT, MS, CEAS, is a physical therapist, dental ergonomic consultant, and CEO of Posturedontics, a company that provides research-based education. Clinical instructor of ergonomics at OHSU School of Dentistry, Valachi lectures internationally at dental meetings, schools, and study clubs. She covers 24 exercises for dental professionals in her new research-based exercise DVD, “Smart Moves for Dental Professionals On the Ball” Home Exercise DVD, available at www.posturedontics.com. Also included in the DVD kit are exercises that dental hygienists should avoid. Enter Discount Code OTB2013 upon checkout to receive RDH eVillage special discount.

To read articles in RDH eVillage FOCUS written by Bethany Valachi, click here.

To read about ergonomics and dental hygiene, click here.

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