“It isn’t clicking anymore. Cool, huh?” My little client, A., flashed a smile that lit up the room. She glanced at her mom, as if she needed approval to show her elation. Her mom was clearly thrilled with her daughter’s progress.
We live in a world where chaos, 24-7 connectivity, and constant motion are realities of daily life. As a result, we are often in a continual state of stress. It is important to be mindful that you are subject to the hurricane that is life and that self-care is critical.
With more than 5 million nurses working today, nursing ranks as the largest of the health-care professions.1 Given the type of work nurses do and the stresses they endure, it is not surprising that nursing has such a high rate of musculoskeletal injuries tied to it. Physical demand is a primary reason nurses choose to downgrade their work hours, request administrative nursing roles, or even leave the profession.2
Right now, more than 350,000 Americans experience symptoms associated with multiple sclerosis (MS), including weakness, spasm, loss of coordination, and impaired cognition. As a massage therapist, you can be sure that someone with MS will walk through your door and be desperate for help.
What is MS?
MS is an inflammatory disease of the central nervous system (CNS) in which the myelin sheath deteriorates, resulting in the destruction of nerve fibers. The origin is unknown, but we do know:
The body of the 84-year-old client on Robert Toporek’s table shows years of abuse. A once-fractured skull, uncountable broken ribs that healed with time and tape, and the remnants of 500 facial stitches have all left their mark. Yet, the client never complains; he would say these injuries—and the many more he endured over the course of his 32-year career—came part and parcel with his job.
Patient experience is commonly referred to as the fifth vital sign. Persistent suffering is at the crux of the term patient experience.1 Hospitals dependent on patient satisfaction surveys for funding and ratings are trying a variety of interventions to improve the patient’s experience and relieve postoperative pain and distress. According to recent studies, massage therapy safely and effectively improves patients’ postoperative experience.
Delivery workers have one of the highest rates of musculoskeletal injury compared to other occupations. The television show King of Queens might portray Doug Heffernan as a lighthearted, rarely debilitated delivery worker, but in reality, this occupation is physically and mentally demanding, with injuries comparable to those experienced by professional athletes.
The unique biomechanical challenges of this occupation put these workers at significant risk for a host of musculoskeletal complaints, including injuries to the shoulders, neck, back, head, and knees.
“I’m a little perplexed,” announced my client, Ms. A. “About what?” I asked. “About how massage works,” she replied. Slightly confused at her question, I asked her to elaborate.
The term deep-tissue massage is defined by different authors in different ways. Some say it is massage directed at the deeper myofascial structures of the body. Others ask, “What if the myofascial structures needing deep-tissue massage are superficial?” Some say that deep-tissue massage is work that feels deep to the client. Others ask, “Does this mean the work should feel painful to the client?” Some say the term is a misnomer and should be completely stricken from massage literature.
A client relays this conversation with her primary care provider:
Mrs. Smith: No matter what I do, it hurts all the time. It hurts when I rest, and when I work. It hurts when I eat healthy, and when I eat junk. It hurts whether I sleep or not. It hurts all the time. I don’t remember what it’s like to not hurt. What am I supposed to do?
Doctor: I can’t imagine why you’re having so much pain, Mrs. Smith. Your tests show hardly any …