“A teacher takes a hand, opens a mind, and touches a heart.”
We cannot provide sufficient lofty praise for the incredible impact and value of teachers. Widely acknowledged, both in studies and anecdotally, are the decisions and pathways that we have all undertaken in our lives due to the influence of our teachers.
At Spinal Rehabilitation and Wellness Center, we know this firsthand from our own experience. To that end, we praise our teachers and honor all those who have undertaken this worthy profession.
We Know You Are Stressed
We also acknowledge, however, the stress that teachers endure. From the challenges of managing a group of children to the endless hours that stretch beyond the classroom in scrambling to acquire supplies or grading exams or homework—teaching can be a juggling act.
In our line of work, we know that that the stress teachers endure takes its toll physically. The demands of teaching can be hard on the body, particularly the spine.
Here are the many ways in which this can result in back pain, not to mention the other parts of the body as well:
- Standing long hours, and usually on hard surfaces. This places particular stress on the lower back, as well as the legs and feet.
- Sitting for long periods, potentially on ill-designed chairs or furniture (such as children-sized chairs or desktops), and even on the floor. This promotes poor posture and other imbalances, and subsequently, can result in back pain.
- Constant bending, stooping or leaning, such as when talking to small children. Additionally, rooms fit to children-size mean continuous bending down. We typically bend forward 2,000 to 4,000 times a day, placing an enormous strain on our backs. Multiply that by weeks and years, and the problem becomes vividly apparent.
- Lifting or carrying heavy objects, such as books, furniture or even the children themselves. This is a common cause of back strain.
- In addition to the physical stresses, while rewarding, teaching can be emotionally stressful as well. It’s an acknowledged fact that emotional stress causes muscle tension as well as chronic pain.
Tips for Alleviating Back and Body Pain
So, how to alleviate the pain? The first step is to practice good posture. Good posture is important while standing, walking, sitting and lying, and allows us to function with the least possible strain on the supporting muscles, ligaments and joints, particularly of the spine. Two of the most important aspects for teachers are good posture while standing and sitting:
- Stand tall, with your shoulders pulled back and arms at your sides
- Keep the weight mostly on the balls of your feet, and your knees slightly bent
- Keep your feet planted about shoulder-width apart
- Keep your head erect, over your shoulders
- If standing for a long period of time, shift your weight back and forth from the balls to the heels of your feet
- Sit with your back against a chair whenever possible, and with your back straight and shoulders back
- Sit with your weight evenly distributed on both hips
- Use a pillow or lumbar roll to support your lower back
- Keep your feet flat on the floor
- Avoid getting up by bending forward
- Try to get up often, but at least once every 20 to 30 minutes
- Stretch when you get up
Research has shown that massage can provide substantial relief for those who suffer from back and body pain. It increases circulation and blood flow, decreases muscle stiffness and tension and provides relaxation and its many mental and emotional benefits.
The certified massage therapists at Spinal Rehabilitation and Wellness Center are widely experience in a variety of massage techniques tailored to benefit teachers for the long and yet fulfilling days in the classroom. Contact us today for your free gift, and spread the word to any and all teachers!