Is Strength Training the Key to Your Dental Career Longevity?

By: Savannah Craig

One of the many things associated with a career in dentistry is back and neck pain.

Finding ways to protect yourself is crucial to being able to have a long career.

Since dental school, I’ve been trying to find solutions for managing and preventing back pain. I’ve tried stretching, massage therapy, and yoga.

While these approaches helped when I experienced pain, I didn’t feel like they were really preventing future injury or pain.

Try Strength Training to Help Prevent Pain

In residency, I found strength training through a group fitness class. The workout is something I greatly enjoy and it helped me to create healthy habits for exercise I’m lifting heavier weights than I’ve ever thought possible three days a week.

I truly think strengthening my back muscles and improving my core strength allows me to practice dentistry with less pain.

I can spend long hours in the operating room, see 4 times as many patients a day, and have far less pain than I did while in dental school.

What Type of Strength Training is Best for Dentists?

There are many programs and exercise suggestions for dental professionals. However, I think we make things more complicated than it needs to be.

While specific exercise plans can be helpful, I don’t think it is the only answer for dentists to prevent injury from our profession.

At the most basic, I believe any movement and strength training will be beneficial for dental professionals.

If you feel more comfortable with a personal trainer or someone who can provide you with specific advice for you that can be a great option.

If you prefer the energy of a group fitness class, that can be a great option too!

Build a Balanced Life Outside of Dentistry

It is important to build a balanced life outside of dentistry, you are more than a dentist.

Exercise can give you an outlet to help with stress, make new friends, and gain confidence. There are so many mental benefits to finding an exercise regimen that you enjoy and can make a routine part of your life.

Finding a place where you can release some of the pressures that come from this career and get back in touch with your body can be beneficial on many levels. This is not to say I don’t still enjoy a massage or a yoga class.

For me, it is all balance. Strength training has been life-changing for me in preventing pain and injury from my job.

Find the exercise plan that works for you. It is important to keep yourself healthy so that you can keep your patients healthy!

Photo by Victor Freitas

Savanah Craig

Savanah Craig

Savanah Craig is a graduate of Baldwin Wallace University with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Biology. She is currently a 2022 D.D.S. Candidate at The Ohio State University College of Dentistry. She will be pursuing a General Practice Residency in Columbia, SC following graduation. In her free time, Savanah enjoys reading, exploring new restaurants, and traveling.