Non-pharmacological Approaches for Relieving Work-Related Musculoskeletal Pain among Nurses

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Abstract Summary
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Authors (including presenting author) :
Leung PY (1), Law YL(2), Leung H(2), Chu KM(2), FUNG M(2), Wong MC(1) , Chan CY(1), Chan CF (1), Mak CC(1), Tsang KF(1)
Affiliation :
(1) The Department of Clinical Oncology, Tuen Mun Hospital (2) Yan Oi Tong - The Chinese University of Hong Kong Chinese Medicine Centre for Training and Research (Tuen Mun)
Introduction :
Work-related musculoskeletal pain is common among health care workers. According to recent studies, the pain occurs twice as often among nurses than the general population. The most frequent pain is low back, shoulders, legs and neck. The prevalence of pain may vary between 33% and 88%. Caring for dying patients is especially demanding, since immobile patients are activity daily living dependent on health care workers. The department of Clinical Oncology in the New Territories Cluster worked with Hospital Authority Tripartite Chinese Medicine Centre for Training and Research (HA-CMCTR) to address the above problems.
Objectives :
1. Empower staff with the ability to alleviate muscle tension 2. Create caring culture 3. Promote occupational health
Methodology :
Nurses sometimes have to change priorities from looking after patients to themselves. Stressed muscle fibers release inflammatory chemicals to aid the healing process but they cause significant pain and discomfort in the process. Registered Chinese Medicine Practitioners (CMP) from HA-CMCTR were invited to conduct a series of workshops focusing on the pain management. In the workshops, therapeutic massage and acupressure were taught to increase comfort and relaxation. Studies have proven that massage triggers the body’s relaxation response, which is well known to reduce anxiety and pain levels. Acupressure involves manipulation of the skin and soft tissue with primarily the fingertips instead of needles on acupoints. This manual approach that can be used for self-management of pain. Theory sessions: CMP helped the staff to understand the Chinese Medicine philosophy in which the function of human body is based on holistic understanding of the universe. Body constitution may change in different seasons. Demonstration sessions: Simple, non-invasive and non-pharmacological techniques were demonstrated by CMP. “Three rights” technique was locating the right points, applying right amount of pressure and in a right position with peaceful mind. Practical sessions: Staff practiced the techniques immediately, including locating the acupoints, applying pressure and relaxing in a comfortable position with the guidance from CMP.
Result & Outcome :
Most staff reported that massage and acupressure were relatively easy to learn. They reflected positive comments and good understanding on the workshops. Therapeutic massage and acupressure can empower the staff to alleviate muscle tension so as to achieve a relaxed state. They are inexpensive, allows nurses to bring them home and it can be easily adopted anytime. They can be further advocated to keep staff healthy to provide long-term benefits.

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