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Teaching & bad backs!

Discussion in 'Primary' started by Dalian Daisy, Feb 21, 2012.

  1. Does anyone else struggle with a bad back which is aggravated by teaching? I'm still a relative young un & been teaching a number of years now but my back has just got worse over the years. I think I have a curved spine anyway which doesn't help. I really noticed going back to work today that I'm back to the sore aching muscles at the end of the day, whereas last week was bliss!
    If you do struggle, what do you do to help it?
    I go a chiropractor regularly, do yoga once a week, try to use a kneeler pad in class when working with the children to save bending over desks etc. I think that even without the little chairs ( I'm quite tall) the bending down to their level & pure physicality of it makes me ache. What I do find hard is that as I work in year 2 I have to sit at their chairs to work/mark as I don't have an adult desk & chair & an adult chair won't fit under their tables so I do ache after marking- I have tried shoving my kneeler behind my back against the chair to act as a sort of cushion which was ok ish. When I teach on the carpet I teach from a bigger/adult size plastic chair as the squishy comfortable style infant teacher chairs most teachers have at my school were making my back worse as I ended up sitting on the edge of the seat as otherwise I was sat too far back, if you know what I mean.
    If you teach Y2 do you have a desk & chair or do you work at their tables?
    Any suggestions on how to save/ improve a wonky back at work would be greatly received and do share what's worked for you. Thanks![​IMG]
  2. Yes yes yes! I am an HLTA in a year 2 classroom and I do now insist on having a big chair. The children know it is my chair. Also I find changing positions often helps. I kneel down to children when they are at their tables. I have had several ruptured discs over the years and will do anything to avoid that happening again. I will not sit on a small chair I know about it if I do. It's not ideal but I cope.I bought one of those massage cushions which I use when I get home for half an hour and it works wonders with tired muscles.
    Got it from Amazon and would highly recommend it.
    Also I have some ice packs in the freezer which help and I do lots of stretches which the osteopath and physio gave me.
  3. Hi green teaaddict, Thanks for your reply! It's nice ( although not for you!) to know that other people have trouble too.
    Can I ask if you have a big chair, is that for when you support alongside the carpet or for when you do jobs? I just find I can't fit my legs under the table ( child size) when I sit on an adult size chair & then I'm leaning forward which hurts more than if I sat on their chairs. I used to work in Y1 & find our chairs in Y2 much better to sit on. I went back & did a lesson in Y1 & was like gaaahhh cahirs are so small!!
    You're right re the kneeling down to work with children being good- that's where my trusty kneeler comes in handy. My friend who was a painter & decorator gave it me, think it was from dulux but garden centres sell pads that are the same.
    I will def check out the massager! Was also thinking I should try to have more baths, I'm more of a shower person really. I have an ice pack & do use that when particulary bad but I do have to say in this cold weather I don't relish using it so don't! However, I am off to the Chiropractor tomorrow & her freeze gel- brrrr!
  4. lardylegs

    lardylegs Occasional commenter

    You need one of these - it's called a saddle stool.
  5. lardylegs

    lardylegs Occasional commenter

    [​IMG] I have tried to post a picture of something called a saddle stool - it is very comfy!
  6. When we do carpet work I tend to sit on the chair until I need to get down there and support, then I kneel down and crawl around...thats quite comfy on all fours lol. We don't spend too long on the carpet luckily. Also when sitting at the tables I use my chair I can't get my legs under but I can lean for a little while. When it gets uncomfy then I will kneel or walk around the table to another child. Again it is about changing position often. My physio likened it to pushing your finger backwards and holding that pressure for a length of time. It doesn't hurt to start with but after a while It would hurt and it is the same for backs. I am lucky to have a whirlpool bath so I do spend a great deal of time under the jets [​IMG] I keep thinking it might be time for a change of keystage. No way would I ever go down to year one or foundation. I would have to find another job if I was put there. I just would not manage.
  7. rainbowdrop86

    rainbowdrop86 New commenter

    This is only my second year of teaching, first in ks1. However I've really noticed the difference with an aching back being in ks1, particularly returning after half term. Any tips?
  8. zugthebug

    zugthebug New commenter

    won't help when working with children but you can insist on an adult height table and chair for planning, marking etc. you have the right not to have to work at children sized desks. I can't sit at a Y2 sized chair and table, i seize up and can't walk if i sit and mark over lunchtime. approach head who 'did not want teachers sitting at desks' pointed out section in health and safety guide and was given a proper size chair and desk
  9. Noooooo- just composed a lovely long message to you all & erased it- grrrrrrr! So I will try & be more succinct this time.
    Zugthebug: I don't have a desk but my TA has a table of near adult size but her chair is a ricket old wooden thing. I could ask for a better chair- Any recommendations from the usual consortium style catalogues for a slim but supportice chair ( can't have anything too big as space restricted) I could then mark at her desk after school.
    Kneeler pads are great & def the way forward!
    Lardy: that chair looks very unusual- could I get away with scooting about in between thier chairs- I'd probably get stuck in between tables!
    Fruitloop: stuff that helps me are freeze packs & alternating hot wheat bags, the kneeler, stretching, visiting a chiropractor every 6 wks & yoga- def the more you move the better.
    greenteaaddict: thanks for all your suggestions! I'm glad I'm not alone. It's interesting what your physio said about moving about & changing position .This is what my chiro said too.The other thing she said was that we should stretch in the morning as the liquid between our discs (?) crystallises overnight & needs to be released. She says all animals do this after sleeping & children but as adults we have lost our instinct to do it. She also said build stretches & movement into the day- apparently at lunchtime I should get down on all fours & do the cat & the camel stretch- you could imagine the funny looks as a child or adult walks in to borrow something & there is Mrs DD on the floor with her **** in the air!!
    I did used to do stretches with the kids instead of Wake & shake & they loved it so might do that again... and failing that 6 weeks til half term!!
    I have also got out from the library a book with a DVD about a 15 minute back routine so worth a try too.
    So think active guys!!
  10. A nice easy stretch is to sit on a normal chair and just touch your toes slowly. Do this about 6 times. I do this every morning and several times during the day. You could do that at work easily without raising an eyebrow [​IMG] Another one for morning would be to lay on your back and grasp your knees to your chest. Hold then release and repeat several times. I like this one it feels so good!
  11. Yes I can relate to that and also I find I can go dizzy sometimes when standing after kneeling for a while.
  12. rainbowdrop86

    rainbowdrop86 New commenter

    I'm considering getting a kneeling stool for the class room. Im only in my second year of teaching and worried that my back aches already! Any good ones out there
  13. Thanks Greentea- I will try those, will certainly raise less eyebrows!!

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