Background: Musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) are an emerging problem among dental professionals globally. Dental professionals are constantly at risk for developing these disorders that reduce not only their productivity but also their efficiency and workability. MSDs present as pain, swelling, tenderness, numbness, and loss of strength at the affected area.
Aim: The aim of the study was to determine the prevalence of MSDs and associated factors among dental professionals in Tanzania.
Materials and methods: This was a 1-year descriptive cross-sectional study that was conducted among practicing dental professionals in Tanzania from 2018 to 2019. The information collected included sociodemographic characteristics of participants and questions pertaining to their practice of dentistry. The standardized Nordic questionnaire was used to assess the presence of any musculoskeletal complaint. Analysis was done using Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) for Windows version 20.0. Chi-square test was used to determine the associations between variables of interest, and p-value was set at p <0.05.
Results: A total of 155 dental professionals participated in this study with a male predominance (75.5%), and majority (63.9%) being dentists. Age of the participants ranged from 24 to 70 years with a mean of 37.94 ± 8.96 years. The prevalence of symptoms of MSDs among dental professionals was 79%. Associated factors for the development of MSDs were identified to be the years of practice, body mass index (BMI), and type of treatment routinely performed (p <0.05). The lower back was the most (54.2%) affected body part followed by the neck (52.3%).
Conclusion: The symptoms of MSDs are very common among dental professionals in Tanzania. Duration of practice, BMI, and type of treatment mostly performed were significantly associated with the development of musculoskeletal symptoms (MSS), and the most commonly affected part was the lower back.
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