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J Dent Hyg. 2017 Apr;91(2):15-22.

Effects of Yoga on Musculoskeletal Pain.


Purpose: Musculoskeletal pain has been associated with work stress and a shortened career in the dental hygiene profession. The purpose of this study was to determine if participating in two yoga sessions per week would reduce the musculoskeletal pain reported by dental hygiene students and or impact body composition.Methods: A convenience sample of 77 dental hygiene students self-selected into treatment (yoga) and control groups. Students in the yoga group participated in bi-weekly, 60-minute yoga sessions for 13 consecutive weeks. Students completed a questionnaire and a Comparative Pain Scale evaluation prior to and immediately following the study period to assess musculoskeletal pain. Additionally, the Omron HBF-514C Full Body Composition Sensing Monitor and Scale was used to measure body mass index (BMI), body fat, and muscle prior to and upon completion of the study. Paired sample t-tests and independent t-tests were used to analyze the data.Results: Thirty-eight dental hygiene students, with an average age of 23.9 years, participated in the yoga group and 39 were assigned to the control group. The majority of the participants were Caucasian (63.6%) females (90.9%). Participants in both groups were of similar age, ethnicity, and had comparable pre-study Harich Comparative Pain Scale scores. After participating in the yoga sessions, the treatment group reported a significant decrease in musculoskeletal pain (p<0.001), while the control group reported no significant decrease in musculoskeletal pain (p=0.881). The yoga sessions did not significantly impact the BMI scores for the yoga treatment group (p=.984) or the control group (p=.901).Conclusion: This research supports the practice of bi-weekly yoga sessions as beneficial in decreasing musculoskeletal pain in dental hygiene students. Yoga can be considered a viable complementary health approach to incorporate into student schedules as a means of increasing the health and longevity of a dental hygiene career.


chronic musculoskeletal pain; complementary health; dental hygiene students; dental hygienists; ergonomics; yoga

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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