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Prevalence and Associated Factors of Back Pain among Dental Personnel in North-Eastern State of Malaysia

Introduction: Dentistry is a high risk profession for developing back pain because high visual demands result in prolonged and affixed as well as uncomfortable postures.

Aim and Objectives: This study was conducted to determine the prevalence of back pain and its associated factors among government dental personnel in North-Eastern State of Malaysia.

Methods: A cross sectional study was conducted among 350 dental personnel including dentists, dental nurses, technicians and dental surgery assistants in all government dental clinics in North-Eastern State of Malaysia. The research tools used for the study consisted of a proforma on socio-demographic and occupational characteristics, a validated Branson Posture Assessment Instrument (BPAI) and direct observations on the respondents while they performed their daily routine. Descriptive statistics consisting of mean and standard deviation as well as percentages were calculated for numerical and categorical data respectively. Multiple logistic regression analysis was carried out to determine the factors associated with back pain. 

Results: A large majority of the respondents were female (79.1%) and Malays (98.0%). The age of respondents ranged from 22 to 56 years old. The prevalence of back pain was 44.9% (95% CI: 39.65, 50.07) with the highest prevalence found among dental technicians [52.4% (95% CI: 40.05, 64.71)]. After controlling for potential confounders, the significant risk factors associated with back pain were poor posture (OR 3.52; 95% CI: 2.22, 5.59) and being a dental auxiliary (OR 3.63, 95% CI: 1.81, 7.30).

Conclusion: The prevalence of back pain among dental personnel in North-Eastern State of Malaysia was relatively high. The significant risk factors associated with it were poor posture and being a dental auxiliary. Innovations for an ergonomically friendly dental equipment would probably improve the work practice and therefore the health of dental personnel.

Author(s): Razan Abdul Samat , Mohd Nazri Shafei , Nor Azwany Yaacob , Azizah Yusoff

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