How do massage therapists get injured at work?
Massage is hard physical work, and in order to ensure professional longevity, we must take care of our health. The first step to the prevention of injuries that may lead to forced withdrawal from the field of massage is to study the nature and characteristics of these same injuries. This question is relevant for both beginners and veterans of our business. Today we will consider the main reasons that force massage therapists to “retire early”, and tomorrow we will learn how to determine if we are at risk of this or that injury.
Reasons why massage therapists get injured
Physical effort. Physical effort is an integral part of our work. Some techniques and massage techniques require more effort than others. Such, for example, include deep tissue massage and work with trigger points (when the massage therapist grabs and holds the client’s tissue). We all know that such massage techniques are very tiring and require good physical preparation. However, sometimes we make very serious physical efforts without noticing it ourselves. We strain when we transfer the massage table from one place to another, we make physical efforts to lift the leg of the client lying on the table and so on – you will not list all the situations.
If you do not know when you are exerting force in the process of work, you cannot concentrate on performing a particular action and make sure that the biomechanics of your movements are correct. It is because of violations of the mechanics of movements that massage therapists often receive musculoskeletal injuries. The first manifestations of such injuries are pain, aggravated by movement, pain in the body and muscles, as well as general fatigue and weakness. Most often, massage therapists are faced with musculoskeletal injuries of the upper limbs. The most common problems include damage to the rotational cuff of the shoulder, tendonitis and tenosynovitis of the wrists, alkalis syndrome (stenotic ligamentitis), injuries of the synovial bags of the joints of the shoulders and elbows.
The most difficult for our joints, muscles, ligaments and tendons is considered to be working with large muscle groups, adhesions (muscle adhesions) and various chronic problems of the client. In addition, improper mechanics of movement during massage of deep tissues very often leads to injuries of the thumbs.
Improper body position during work. As we said above (and in all previous articles on the care of the health of a massage therapist), the key to professional longevity is the correct biomechanics of body movements during massage. Work in an uncomfortable position, for example, if you need to bend your wrists, lean forward, reach far to the table, move your head and neck from a neutral position, can lead to various injuries, due to which massage therapists usually leave the profession. These include back pain and neck problems, such as osteochondrosis. The masseur should pay attention to the biomechanics of the movements of his body and, no less important, avoid static load – the body of the masseur should be in motion during work.
Repetition of the same movements. Most often, due to repeated movements (namely, due to the constant bending forward), massage therapists get a lower back injury. That is why for all of us, the ability to maintain a neutral position of the lower back and the entire spine in a standing and sitting position is extremely important. Other common problems for massage therapists resulting from repetitive movements are carpal tunnel syndrome (tingling and weakness of the hand caused by pressure on the nerves passing through the carpal tunnel) and impingement syndrome (shoulder-shoulder pain syndrome with limited shoulder mobility).
Injuries to the rotational cuff of the shoulder develop due to the heavy load on the shoulders (again, this is a question of biomechanics – many massage therapists forget that during work they should generate effort not so much with the muscles of the body as with the weight of their body), pain in the neck comes from – due to the fact that some massage therapists keep their neck bent throughout the session, and the main reason for carpal tendonitis is the application of force by the hands at the moment when the wrists are in a bent position.
In addition, in order to avoid injuries of the rotational cuff of the shoulder, it is necessary to adjust the height of the massage table to your height, and keep your elbows closer to your body. When applying force with your hands, make sure that your wrists are in a neutral position.
Tomorrow we will discuss the basic methods of self-diagnosis of the risks of some occupational injuries. See you soon!