I’m a teacher, I’ve got back pain, what can I do?
Studies show nearly every primary teacher has experienced work-related muscle and joint aches, strains and pain at some point in their career.
The most common causes of discomfort reported (either caused at or exacerbated at work) are:
- back pain 88%; followed by neck and shoulder pain 73%; and
- knee pain at 56%.
Musculoskeletal pain is a common cause of staff absence in schools. There is a high risk of short term problems turning into long term absence. Productivity is reduced and children’s learning affected, not to mention the burden it places on individual sufferers. Yet, musculoskeletal health and practical interventions are frequently overlooked in schools.
Staff working in schools, particularly those working with younger children are most at risk, but every teacher can be affected. The “child” environments, together with the added factors of budget restrictions, pupil academic targets, limited understanding of healthier working practices and cultural resistance to change in schools, perhaps leads to little consideration given to musculoskeletal health and the benefits of ergonomics.
However, safer, healthier working and learning environments can be created and healthy habits developed. This leads to positive improvements in health, safety and well-being for staff and pupils.