8/19/2021Is Teaching School Causing Back Pain?

We often get teachers coming into our clinic complaining of back, neck and shoulder pain. Almost everything in a primary school setting is designed for 4 to 11 year old children. This means teachers working in these environments are more likely to suffer back pain injury from constantly bending and working at low levels. Whereas high school teachers spend lots of time sitting marking and assessing papers, they also stand in awkward positions while writing on boards.

Tips for reducing back pain in a school setting

  • Take time to adjust your workstation / desk and set the screen at the correct height
    • Eyes should be level with top of the screen
    • Height adjustable chair preferably with no arms
    • Elbows, hips, knees and ankles all at 90 degrees
    • Sit on your sitting bones with the top of your pelvis forward rather than on your bum, this will bring your shoulders back
  • Make sure you are in a comfortable position before starting an activity with young people
  • Stop and move as soon as you start to feel uncomfortable in your position
  • Have access to a low mobile chair for working at very low children’s tables
    • Static children’s chairs increase the vulnerability of the spine
  • Use a high stool instead of standing for long periods
  • Have a floor cushion for when seated on the floor
  • Have some standing desks available for the children to work at
    • This both reduces the children’s sitting time and the amount of time teachers spend working at really low tables
  • Make sure the board is at the correct height
  • If possible, use trolleys or wheeled crates / suitcases to carry heavy books and resources
  • Choose your bags carefully
    • A backpack with 2 straps is best to even out the weight across the back
    • If not, then 2 similar weighted one strap bags on each shoulder
    • If you have to carry a single strapped bag then make sure you are regularly changing the shoulder you carry it on
    • Remember to stand tall when carrying these with your shoulders back and down
  • Only carry what is essential in your bag to avoid unnecessarily carrying too much weight
  • Limit sitting to 30 minutes at a time
  • Rest and movement breaks are essential

How Can a Physical Therapist Help?

Your physical therapist can help you improve or restore mobility and reduce low back pain—in many cases, without expensive surgery or the side effects of medications.

Not all low back pain is the same, so your treatment should be tailored to for your specific symptoms and condition. Once the examination is complete, your physical therapist will evaluate the results, identify the factors that have contributed to your specific back problem, and design an individualized treatment plan for your specific back problem. Treatments may include:

  • Manual therapy, including spinal manipulation, to improve the mobility of joints and soft tissues
  • Specific strengthening and flexibility exercises
  • Education about how you can take better care of your back
  • Training for proper lifting, bending, and sitting; for doing chores both at work and in the home; and for proper sleeping positions
  • Assistance in creating a safe and effective physical activity program to improve your overall health
  • Use of ice or heat treatments or electrical stimulation to help relieve pain

You don’t have to live in pain while doing a job you love.  An appointment with one of our therapists at Cypress PT can help you get back on your feet….literally!

*Sourced from ChoosePT.com.  Read entire article HERE.

*Sourced from Leamington Therapy Center. Read entire article HERE.