Thursday, December 27, 2007

Massage Provides Pain Relief Following Surgery

Nurses don't have time to perform massage in the hospital. This wasn't always the case. Massage used to be taught as a normal part of Nursing curriculum. Massage time meant that you could speak with your patient, assess their pain status and perform a good overall examination that included providing comfort and healing touch. Now there are just too many time constraints and this practice has been eliminated.

Massage is being revisited as a means to help patients manage pain following major surgery. This stems from a trial that is published in the December publication of the Archives of Surgery. The study results suggest that pain management after surgery should probably involve more than one approach.

The study was performed on Veterans, between Feb, 2003 and Jan, 2005. During the first four days following surgery, the group of Veterans who received either individualized massage from a therapist, or an evening backrub, had a faster decline in pain. The participants also described less "unpleasantness" associated with pain.

Since massage is much less dangerous that medications, the authors of the study suggest using massage as a safe therapy for managing pain after major surgery, and that Nurses become properly trained to provide bedside massage.

I think it's a great idea to reintegrate massage as a routine part of patient care. Massage has so many benefits. I'd personally like to see every hospital admission kit stocked with a bottle of healing massage oil. I also think that the long term outcomes should be studied.

Ref: Arch Surg. 2007;142:1158-1167. ◦