A Note to SUPER TEACHER
I recently received this email from a regular reader who I will refer to as "SUPER TEACHER". She emails me questions and I like to answer them. I thought that this latest email might be a good one to share with all of you. I have edited out some of the less pertinent information from her email. You can tell where the edits are because I have replaced her words with "…". Hopefully the information is useful to you and I want you to consider that my very best blog posts come from interacting with people like you online, so please feel free to send me questions!
From: SUPER TEACHER
To: Staff, Body Of Health
Subject: Re: question
I went in my chiropractor … to ask him … a few other questions regarding my past issues/situation. Now my upper back is in pain at times since I've been bending over/leaning on student's desk more this job than in past jobs & on my feet a lot more. My chiropractor told me that many teachers have come into him with back problems though. I have another appointment in 2 weeks unless I have to go before that but don't really want to bother him again before that so I'll wait. (I have been having some pain today off and on but thinking it's soreness since I just went in for an adjustment yesterday so I'll see after a few days.)
Thanks for your post.
From: Dr. Young
To: SUPER TEACHER
Subject: Re: question
Dear SUPER TEACHER,
Thanks for following the blog! I’m glad you’re getting good information from it and I’m happy to help. I don’t think you would be bothering your chiropractor by going in to see him before the two weeks is up. I always tell my patients that there is no medal or badge they receive for toughing it out until their next visit when they are in pain!
Teaching can be tough on the back. I have been a teacher before. I have taught everything from Sunday School to College classes and BOY! I do not miss the sore back! Whether it’s lugging materials around, standing and lecturing or leaning over a desk. Here are a few tips that may help you out:
If you are helping a student at their desk then try squatting, kneeling or lunging next to the desk. This way you are able to keep your back straight and that is less stressful. When you keep your spine straight then your vertebrae stack on each other and the discs in between them deal with the force of gravity. When you are leaning over then your muscles and ligaments are trying to keep you up which can be stressful. Also this is good for the students. You get down to their level rather than looming over them which establishes a better rapport.
Wear comfortable shoes! This can make a HUGE difference in how your back feels. Avoid anything with an elevated heel or a narrow toe. Good shoes will allow your feet to help you maintain good posture and these muscles will help you balance too rather than overworking your low back muscles to keep you going.
Take some breaks. I don’t mean that you need to hit the teacher’s lounge for 15 minutes at a time. But when I was teaching I would stand and lecture for a while and then I would sit on a stool and lecture for a while. I would move around the room to allow my body a chance to move. So take frequent breaks from being stuck in the same position all day. When students are doing group work, individual work or between classes that is a good time to do some pain free range of motion stretches with the neck and low back. Bend forward, back, rotate side-to-side and lean to the sides avoiding pain. This keeps you from tightening up. I would even have my classes take a break sometimes and stretch with me. It is good to the students too!
Hey look! I wrote you your very own blog post! Hopefully these tips are helpful!