Get into the habit – of ‘stacking’

Hand washing, note writing, PPE changing – now it’s time to add a full body stretch to your routine

29 March, 2021 / indepth
 Andy White  

Back, shoulder and neck pain are common occurrences within the dental profession and, if they aren’t addressed, can be debilitating throughout all areas of your life. 

How can you address these issues daily? 

You can’t change your job or the positions you need to sit in to carry out your work. However, you can change what you do in the rest of your day. This simple process can help you address tightness and create a habit which will last longer than your pain. 

So how do you do it? 

Well, you add the following full body stretch into an already regular routine. This is called habit stacking (for more on this, read the book Atomic Habits). Without thinking about it you already have pretty specific routines. For example, once you finish with your patient you will have a routine that includes hand washing, note writing and PPE changing. 

All you are going to do is add one repetition of the stretch shown in the photos into the section straight after one of the phases in this routine – note writing, for example. 

1 Start with a full body reach for the sky:

2 Side bend either way:

3 Return to the middle. Then a full forward fold to touch the floor:

If you do this after every patient, you’ll be doing 20-30 stretches a day. 

Over time, you can stack a second movement on top of the first to hit a slightly different muscle group (more in future editions). Try it today and see how you get on! 

Dr Andy White is chief executive of Physio Focused (plus: Instagram and Facebook) supporters of Running Scotland 2021.

Tags: Mental Health / wellbeing

Categories: Feature / Magazine

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