Dentistry Gym – prevent neck and back pain

Dentistry GymThis week, Khalil Hussein explores the links between breathing mechanics and neck and back pain in clinicians, as well as ways to combat this.

The Dentistry Gym series has been ongoing for a few months now and our audience is growing. I receive messages most days stating how much better people feel going through the classes. I am so thrilled that this partnership with Dentistry has been advantageous for so many out there.

My wife, brother in law and I own and run a dental practice in London. I have my employees all doing the classes to prevent any injuries in the future. Prevention is always better than cure.

Neck and back pain

When it comes to neck and back pain, often I find a few issues are recurring precursors. Stress, poor endurance, and inefficient breathing mechanics.

When it comes to stress, our bodies react by preparing for fight or flight and ultimately this is a very advantageous thing. But only when we are really in trouble.

When a lion attacks us, we would like to be ready to run or fight. So in preparation for either of these events, our bodies shift our breathing, which becomes more rapid and shallow. Our blood pressure changes as does our muscle tension. All of these things help keep you alive long enough to escape the event.

However, the problem arises in modern-day life when we are subjected to micro-stressors throughout the day, especially in dentistry (I’m sure a few patients come to mind).

When this happens we are subject to neurological changes throughout the day. Unless we are able to return to a relaxed state, our bodies can effectively become ‘stuck’ in a perpetual fight or flight way of living.

This causes excess muscular tension and causes a shift in breathing mechanics that ultimately fatigues the accessory breathing muscles located in and around the upper back and neck.

When the accessory breathing muscles are used more than is necessary, they will eventually start to fatigue. This often presents with tight and sore shoulders and necks at the end of the day (I’m sure a few of you reading this have experienced this).

Over time, the muscles become perpetually fatigued and unhealthy.

Exercises to help

Now, that you have a better understanding of what is going on, let’s talk about what we can do about it. Luckily muscles and joints are much more adaptable than teeth. So we can always rebuild the body to move and feel better! It just takes some time and know-how.

In this class, we will go through breathing mechanics, and how to expand your breathing habits and relax the shoulders. We will also go through how to build better endurance of the neck and upper back muscles.

Having better breathing combined with better endurance and strength will ultimately lead to you feeling better every day and performing better as a dentist. So I advise you to give these classes a go and continue to do them a few times a week until you’ve built up a decent level of strength.

If you ever struggle please reach out to me on Instagram so I can help you further!


This class is designed for viewers to carry it out with minimal equipment at home. We don’t use weights so these exercises are quite safe for most people.

However, before conducting any exercises please consult your GP or allied health therapist for guidance and advice about your own circumstances and whether these exercises are the right thing for you.

Always seek medical advice before starting any exercise program.

Follow Khalil Hussein on his Instagram: @khalilchiro, or via his website: www.khalilhussein.net.

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