Symptoms of the neck and upper extremities in dentists

Scand J Work Environ Health. 1990 Apr;16(2):129-34. doi: 10.5271/sjweh.1807.


Symptoms of the neck, shoulders, arms, and hands of 99 dentists and a reference group of 100 pharmacists were studied by means of a telephone interview. Forty-four percent of the dentists and 26% of the pharmacists reported symptoms of the neck [relative risk (RR) 2.1, 95% confidence interval (95% CI) 1.4-3.1]. Symptoms of the shoulder were reported by 51% of the dentists and 23% of the pharmacists (RR 2.2, 95% CI 1.5-3.3). Musculoskeletal symptoms in the forearm were present almost exclusively in the dentists (12 versus 1%). Numbness and paresthesia were more common among the dentists than among the referents (RR 4.2, 95% CI 2.3-7.7). Unilateral Raynaud's phenomenon in the dominant hand occurred in six dentists and one pharmacist. The high frequency of symptoms from the neck, shoulders, and upper extremities of the dentists was probably related to their difficult work positions with cervical flexion and rotation, abducted arms, and repetitive precision-demanding handgrips.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Arm / physiopathology*
  • Dentists*
  • Epidemiologic Factors
  • Epidemiologic Methods
  • Female
  • Hand / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Muscles / physiopathology*
  • Neck Muscles / physiopathology*
  • Occupational Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Occupational Diseases / physiopathology
  • Raynaud Disease / epidemiology
  • Raynaud Disease / physiopathology
  • Shoulder / physiopathology