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Neck and Back Pain in Undergraduate Dental Students at a UK Dental School

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Sadhvik Vijay, Mark Ide

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)241-245
Number of pages5
JournalBritish Dental Journal
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 9 Sep 2016


King's Authors


Objective Limited data exist on musculoskeletal problems within dental students: we aimed to determine the prevalence of these disorders. Design Single centre cross-sectional study Setting A UK Dental School 2015. Subjects (materials) and methods Students completed a modified Nordic pain questionnaire. Main outcome measures Self-reported frequency and severity of pain, fitness and coping strategies. Results 63% of 390 respondents were female and 75% aged under 23. Seventy-nine percent experienced pain with 42% experiencing pain for 30 or more days in the past year. Lower back pain was most common (54%) and was most frequently the worst area of pain (48%). Thirty-six percent reported pain lasting at least four hours. The mean ‘average pain intensity’ VAS score was 3.81/10 (sd = 1.75) and mean ‘worst pain intensity’ was 5.56 (sd = 2.10). More females reported neck pain (58% versus 37%, P <0.001) and higher ‘average pain intensity’ (mean 4.02, sd 1.82 versus 3.43 sd 1.55, P = 0.012. Daily stretching was used by 55.7% of respondents, and this positively correlated with ‘average’ and ‘worst pain intensity’ (P = 0.096 and P = 0.001) scores. Eighteen percent sought professional help to manage pain. Conclusion Musculoskeletal pain is a problem for dental students. Education in self-care may be helpful, however, assessments of possible interventions are needed.

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