I am surprised yet again to find that change keeps happening at the speed of life. At the end of last year, in a sudden move, I decided to leave Body & Spine. And just a couple of days ago, I decided to leave Back in Motion. In the span of less than a month I went from 3 clinics to one and all it took was a couple of conversations. Both splits were amicable. I thoroughly enjoyed working at both chiropractic clinics. This made the decision to leave especially difficult and probably delayed the decision by months. I simply left because I needed to work less, enjoy life more, and take care of myself. It is a shame. I will miss both clinics and the people there. It seems strange to imagine somebody else working there or the clinic operating without me. I guess that means they were really good places to work.
I found myself on the sure path to RMT burnout. In school, we were taught very early in the program that the average RMT’s career is 5 years. That’s it. 5 Years. School for 3 years, work for 5 years and then the next career. It sounded impossible. They explained that part of it is due to the emotional burnout of always giving and caring to so many different people. The other reason is the physical burnout. The wear and tear of repetitive strain injuries on our bodies leads to carpal tunnel syndrome, tennis elbow, and chronic neck, shoulder and back pain. Again, we heard their warnings without heeding them. Without having massaged for more than 4 hours a week, we had no idea what it was really like. Who could predict that the chronic injuries would grow so slowly? Almost silently the body adapted to the constant strain of massage work. One month you might have a sore thumb which gets better. A few months later, your wrist gets sore and then heals. Perhaps later still, some tennis elbow. They all seem transient and just a minor hassle that comes with the job. But left unattended, they stay for a while.
I have survived the trigger thumb and the tennis elbow scares. Right now, for the first time, I am suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome. Another scare for RMT’s. The signs came quietly at first: Some mild discomfort, a clicking sound with certain wrist movements. But this time, after hearing from my chiropractor that her official diagnosis of my condition was in fact carpal tunnel syndrome, I finally listened. I decided on a few changes. I quit both chiropractic clinics. By concentrating on my private practice I could replace my clinic hours with half as many private hours without feeling any financial pinch. I also decided on a 5 day work week. It sounds insane, but I spent most of last year working a 6 day work week. And before the 6 day work week, there was the 7 day work week. It sounds like absolute insanity and stupidity in retrospect, but at the time, I felt invincible. I am going to limit my treatments to 4 treatment hours maximum per day until my carpal tunnel is resolved and possibly up it to 5 per day after that. I know RMT’s that work 7 or 8 hours of treatments a day and are no worse for wear. I don’t know how they do it. I have great respect for them, but I have to respect my body and the fact that it is turning 40 this year.
I guess that this is my first official public whine. I hope to be an RMT for a good long time. I love the profession and I love the positive impact I make on people’s lives and don’t want to give it up for anything. So hopefully with these steps I will be able to enjoy the most amazing profession for a little longer.
At current I am not working at Body & Spine any longer. I will still be available at Back in Motion until February 13. After that date, I will only be available for treatment at the Pape & Danforth location.