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Prevalence and Predictors of Musculoskeletal Pain Among Undergraduate Students at a Dental School in Saudi Arabia

Authors Felemban RA, Sofi RA, Alhebshi SA, Alharbi SG, Farsi NJ, Abduljabbar FH, Farsi JMA

Received 19 November 2020

Accepted for publication 6 January 2021

Published 17 February 2021 Volume 2021:13 Pages 39—46

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/CCIDE.S292970

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Professor Christopher E. Okunseri


Raneem A Felemban,1 Reda A Sofi,1 Seba A Alhebshi,2 Salma G Alharbi,3 Nada J Farsi,4 Fahad H Abduljabbar,5 Jamila MA Farsi6

1Faculty of Dentistry, King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia; 2Department of Prosthodontics, Faculty of Dentistry, King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia; 3Department of Pediatric Dentistry, Faculty of Dentistry, King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia; 4Department of Dental Public Health, Faculty of Dentistry, King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia; 5Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Faculty of Medicine, King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia; 6Department of Oral Biology, Faculty of Dentistry, King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

Correspondence: Nada J Farsi
Department of Dental Public Health, Faculty of Dentistry, King Abdulaziz University, PO Box 80200, Jeddah, 21589, Saudi Arabia
Email njfarsi@kau.edu.sa

Objective: Musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) are injuries to the musculoskeletal (MSK) system that occur due to repetitive or singular trauma and negatively affect one’s daily life. Dentistry is a field that exposes professionals to the highest rate of work-related MSDs. This study aimed to assess the prevalence and predictors of MSK pain among a sample of dental students.
Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted among a sample of 377 dental students and interns at the dental school of King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. We distributed a validated questionnaire, the Nordic Back Pain Questionnaire, which included additional questions, to all dental students participating in clinical practice and to dental interns. Categorical variables were described by presenting frequencies and percentages, and continuous variables by displaying means and standard deviations. Logistic regression was performed to identify predictors for developing MSK pain over the last 12 months.
Results: Overall, 91.2% of the participants experienced MSK pain or discomfort in one or more body parts over the last 12 months. The highest prevalence was for neck pain (69.2%), followed by shoulder pain (67.1%) and lower back pain (65%). Females were more likely than males to experience MSK pain (odds ratio [OR] = 2.98, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.3– 6.7), and those who exercised regularly were less likely to experience MSK pain than were those who did not (OR = 0.27, 95% CI: 0.1– 0.6).
Conclusion: This study showed a concerningly high prevalence of MSD symptoms among dental students, especially in the neck, shoulders, and lower back. Educational and occupational health programs in preclinical years could be effective for reducing MSK pain.

Keywords: occupational hazards, dental students, musculoskeletal disorders, occupational health, ergonomics

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