Prevalence of Muscular Skeletal Disorders among Qualified Dental Assistants

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2020 May 16;17(10):3490. doi: 10.3390/ijerph17103490.


The occupation of dental assistants (DAs) involves many health risks of the musculoskeletal system due to static and prolonged work, which can lead to musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs). The aim of the study was to investigate the prevalence of MSDs in DAs in Germany.

Methods: For this purpose, an online questionnaire analyzed 406 (401 female participants and 5 male participants, 401w/5m) DAs. It was based on the Nordic Questionnaire (lifetime, 12-month, and seven-day MSDs' prevalence separated into neck, shoulder, elbow, wrist, upper back, lower back, hip, knee, and ankle), and occupational and sociodemographic questions as well as questions about specific medical conditions.

Results: 98.5% of the participants reported complaints of at least one body region in their lives, 97.5% reported at least one complaint in the last 12 months and 86.9% affirmed at least one complaint in the last seven days. For lifetime, 12-month and seven-day prevalence, the neck was the region that was most affected followed by the shoulder, the upper back and the lower back.

Conclusion: The prevalence of MSDs among German (female) DAs was very high. The most affected area is the neck, followed by the shoulder, the lower back, and the upper back. It, therefore, seems necessary to devote more attention to ergonomics at the working practice of DAs as well in education and in dental work.

Keywords: MSD; dental assistants; dental education; dental profession; dentist; musculoskeletal; pain; prevalence; questionnaire.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Dental Assistants*
  • Female
  • Germany / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Musculoskeletal Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Musculoskeletal System
  • Occupational Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Prevalence
  • Surveys and Questionnaires