If you’re a teacher, you know that back pain is an issue that is commonly associated with your job. Although you might not be stuck at a desk all day like some professionals, you’re still at your desk for extended amounts of time and on your feet for long periods of time as well. If you’re struggling with persistent back pain, consider the following four suggestions as they could be the help you need to begin feeling better.
Invest in Supportive Shoes
Think of your feet as the foundation of your body’s frame. They need to be well cared for and properly supported. As a teacher, you likely have access to health insurance that would allow you to visit specialist called a podiatrist. Particularly if you’re experiencing lower back pain, it may be the result of poor support in your shoes and consulting a medical professional could be life changing.
However, if you’re a substitute or adjunct teacher, you might not be able to visit a doctor as easily. Instead shop for sensible shoes or look for kiosks at local malls or pharmacies that use a sensor to identify how your weight is distributed on your feet. Once you take the test, which takes about 30 seconds, the kiosk will recommend one of a few pre-made shoe inserts that will be much more affordable than custom inserts. These inserts should help address the pain you’ve been feeling.
Get a Standing Desk
If you’re using a computer while you teach and doing things like hunching over to click to the next slide, that repetitive motion may be causing you trouble. Similarly, if you’re grading papers or lesson planning for extended periods of time, as most teachers do on a regular basis, you’re likely causing a strain on your back, neck, or shoulders by remaining in one position.
By using a standing desk, you can adjust your desk to your ideal height needs depending on the task at hand and also depending on how you’re feeling at that moment so that you can customize your environment to your needs.
Just because you’re able to move throughout the day doesn’t mean that you’re doing the kind of movement that is best for your body consistently. Look into yoga poses that provide a deep stretch for your specific type of pain and slowly, carefully work your way into that pose. It may take several weeks or months to achieve a certain pose, but even small steps are likely to help improve your pain.
Work on Strengthening Your Core
While the feet are the foundation of your body’s frame, your core is the muscle set that is created specifically to help support your back. Do mental check-ins throughout the day and ask yourself if your core muscles are engaged, not just hanging loose or sucked in tight.
Look into exercises that will help build your core muscles to help support your back and improve your posture. You may be surprised to learn that there are more options out there than just doing crunches or sit ups.