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Therapies for the Therapist

Updated: May 4, 2023


Therapist full back massage

I was once asked if I received hands-on-therapy treatments. It really struck a chord, as in all honesty, working in a busy multidisciplinary clinic, I didn't feel I could 'waste' my colleagues time with my own ailments, let alone take time out for regular preventative care. I definitely did not practise what I preached! This has now changed due to ageing a decade or so, having had four children and putting my body through restoring an old Edwardian house. I have had to balance the physical demands of being a manual therapist with regular investment in my own health, so that I can keep turning up to work, fit and well.


Those of us working with our hands and bodies to provide care for others, are susceptible to repetitive strain injuries, especially in our hands, wrists, shoulders, neck and back (Gyer et al., 2018). Maintaining a good posture whilst we work, adjusting the height of a bench/massage table to suit our needs, is the ideal, however this is not always possible. Not all tables height-adjust easily, they may not be present at all if you are treating somebody from their armchair or need to work at an awkward angle to access different areas, such as with podiatry. Fitness instructors risk overwork-based injuries if they teach multiple times a week (George and Abraham, 2022) and need to lead a class through demonstration, rather than verbally instruct. Often self-employed and working in a wide range of workplace settings, it is up to the individual practitioner to risk-assess to ensure they protect their bodies from harm.


As a sole practitioner, I now seek regular massage and chiropractic treatment and consider it an investment into the longevity of my practice. I can no longer wing it and rely on my body taking the knocks. I prioritise my hands, wrists and core stability as I can see the importance of preventing injury; if I am injured, I cannot work. It can be really difficult to access care for yourself when you provide that care to others, however prioritising your own health does put your clients first.


I love what I do and hope that I can continue to provide care and support to my clients for a very long time to come. If you are in need of any hands-on therapies or information on injury prevention and rehabilitation for the therapist, do get in touch!


References

George, SA., Abraham, AT. (2022). A review on musculoskeletal pain and injuries among fitness instructors. International Journal of Science and Healthcare Research. 7(2) [Online] Available at: A Review on Musculoskeletal Pain and Injuries among Fitness Instructors (researchgate.net) (Accessed 12.10.2022).


Gyer, G., Michael, J., Inklebarger, J. (2018). Occupational hand injuries: a current review of the prevalence and proposed prevention strategies for physical therapists and similar healthcare professionals. Journal of Integrative Medicine. 16(2) [Online] Available at:Occupational hand injuries: a current review of the prevalence and proposed prevention strategies for physical therapists and similar healthcare professionals - ScienceDirect (Accessed 20.10.22).


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