Healer Heal Thyself: Massage Therapy for Nurses

Nurses dedicate their lives to helping others feel better, but  the rewards of their work come at a high price.  Their profession demands long hours, lack of sleep, heavy lifting and emotional turmoil. Those who work in a hospital or nursing home setting often experience sore legs and feet. Lifting patients can trigger chronic back pain.

These discomforts often cause nurses to reduce their work hours. Some request administrative nursing roles. Others leave the profession. Massage therapy can help alleviate the physical and mental stress associated with nursing.

Common Nursing Injuries

A study published in The Australian Journal of Rural Health found that 60 percent of student nurse injuries involved the lumbar region. Other injuries include disorders of the ankle, foot, knee, neck and shoulders. The reasons for these injuries are obvious. Patient-care activities involve;

1. Moving heavy loads

2. Performing repetitive movements

3. Long duration standing

4.Working in awkward positions

5. Working in the same position for long periods of time

Massage fro Back Pain

These biomechanical challenges are a recipe for injury and discomfort. Massage therapy can reduce the chronic, compressive loads that lead to disc injury. Practitioners use  a variety of massage techniques, which include:

1. Myofascial release

2. Deep longitudinal stripping

3. Trigger point therapy.

Lower Body Pain and Injury

Prolonged standing produces compressive loads on the knees feet and ankles. The cement floors at some hospitals intensify the problem.  Extended lower extremity compression can trigger early onset arthritis, plantar fasciitis and shin splints. Massage methods such as deep longitudinal stripping and active engagement can alleviate shin and calf pain. Similar techniques applied to the arch of the foot can reduce foot tension, and minimize the pain associated with plantar fasciitis.

What the Research Tells Us

Not much, unfortunately. In 2012,  the Journal of Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice published a study on chair massage for nurses. The report, titled “Feasibility and Effect of Chair Massage Offered to Nurses During Work Hours on Stress-Related Symptoms: A Pilot Study,” examined the efficacy of chair massage for alleviating stress related symptoms in nurses.

The 38 participants, included five men and 33 women, ranging in age from 21 to 65 years. About 84 percent of the volunteers worked 8-hour shifts and the rest worked 12-hour shifts. They completed  series of questionnaires which “assessed quality of life, perceived stress, cognitive and somatic anxiety-related symptoms, and current levels of anxiety, insomnia, physical symptoms such as musculoskeletal pain and headache, and self-reported mood, energy level, and job satisfaction.”  About 92 percent of the participants reported improved sleep, reduced anxiety and minimized pain.

If that’s what chair massage can do, imagine the effects of a full body massage! Call Happy Physio on 9272 7359 today!