Nurses and healthcare providers support us in body, mind, and spirit during some of the most stressful times imaginable. During a crisis, they not only tend to injuries and illnesses but foster recovery through encouragement, education, and care. Sometimes, however, they’re the ones needing a little extra help.
If you have a caregiver in your life, send them some love in the form of cookies, an encouraging note, flowers, surprise coffee, or warm hug. And if they’re noticeably creaky from too many long shifts, tuck in the address and phone number for Family & Sports Chiropractic Clinic and Dr. Chani Henderson will do her part to keep them on their feet, pain-free.
OSHA reports that hospitals, for example, are one of the most hazardous workplaces, with an injury or illness rate almost twice that of other industries. “Hospitals have serious hazards—lifting and moving patients, needlesticks, slips, trips, and falls, and the potential for agitated or combative patients or visitors—along with a dynamic, unpredictable environment and a unique culture,” their research shows. “Caregivers feel an ethical duty to ‘do no harm’ to patients, and some will even put their own safety and health at risk to help a patient.”
And they aren’t kidding about that risk. “According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics,” say OSHA findings, “the likelihood of injury or illness resulting in days away from work is higher in hospitals than in construction and manufacturing—two industries that are traditionally thought to be relatively hazardous.”
Most injuries in the healthcare field are musculoskeletal. This comes from repetitive strain or overexertion during daily use. Short-term musculoskeletal pain is often dealt with using R.I.C.E. (rest, ice, compression, and elevation) or over-the-counter painkillers and anti-inflammatories. But medication can be hard on the stomach and shouldn’t be used long-term. And resting, R.I.C.E.-induced or not, just doesn’t happen during a busy shift in a hospital or clinic.
But powering through the pain often makes things worse. Chiropractors like Dr. Henderson know that headaches and lower back, neck, and muscle pain shouldn’t be ignored. The Cleveland Clinic explains that chiropractors are trained to tackle issues in the most hardworking areas like shoulders, wrists, elbows, hips, pelvis, knees, and ankles often without the use of medication.
Even if the nurses and caregivers in your life are unscathed by daily life, Dr. Henderson can suggest exercises and ways to maintain balance and mobility for a lifetime. Keeping muscles and joints strong and flexible reduces the risk of future injury or chance of being distracted by pain. Chiropractic visits also help with range of motion, recovery after an accident or fall, and may even improve posture.
During a shift, healthcare workers should sneak in a few minutes of much-needed, stress-busting exercise. They can take the stairs, walk laps of the building, or do a few simple exercises to keep them limber and loose. These only require a non-rolling chair for balance; do each 15-20 times if you can.
- Standing toe raises: Balancing with a chair or wall, rise from flat-footed standing onto your toes then slowly lower back down. Tighten your core throughout.
- Chair squats: Again balancing, place feet a shoulder-width apart and bend your knees to 90 degrees like you’re sitting in an invisible chair. Then return upright.
- Butt-kicker: While in the chair squat position, bend your knees and kick back, bringing your heel towards your rear end.
- Chair marching: In that same standing position, march in place, bringing your knees up to the height of a chair back in front of you.
- Shoulder rolls: Seated, roll your shoulders forward and back slowly each direction.
- Seated chair dip: Still seated, push yourself up from a chair using your legs as little as possible. Let your arms do the work. Lift yourself off the seat then slowly back down while maintaining good posture.
- Arm circles: Seated or standing straighten your arms in front of you and make small circles clockwise, then counterclockwise. Then put your arms to the side in a T-shape and go clockwise and counterclockwise again.
It’s only natural to want to care for those who take care of us. Their unique skillset mean we can’t share duties to lighten their load. But perhaps a kind word and the recommendation of a good chiropractor would have longer-lasting benefit. This spring, send some love to a nurse, doctor, or caregiver in your world. They’ve been through a lot lately and could do with a little cheering up. Coffee and cookies wouldn’t hurt either.