Although teachers are not necessarily sat down for as long as office workers, they are still just as susceptible to musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs)
Standing for extended periods of time, bending or crouching down to low desks and chairs, or sitting on chairs designed for children can all put strain on a teacher’s body.
MSDs are one of the leading reasons for extended periods of time off across a range of professions throughout the UK workforce. The economical impact of extended absence is huge and in the case of teachers, the academic impact on students also needs to be considered.
Research shows that:
- 75% of teachers suffer neck and shoulder pain
- 53% have suffered with knee problems
- 33% have had trouble with their hips
- 82% experience MSD related pain at least once a week
What do teachers need to be aware of?
Teachers should pay special attention to how much time they spend on their feet, particularly if they are stood in one place, such as next to the whiteboard, for long periods of time with little movement.
Spending a lot of time standing, particularly in one position, can increase the risk of:
- Varicose veins
- Poor circulation
- Painful swelling of the feet and legs
- Joint damage
- Lower back pain
- Problems with the feet
Standing properly can help to alleviate pain and strain. When standing, feet should be shoulder width apart, with weight evenly distributed across both feet. Knees should be slightly bent, the back kept straight and shoulders pulled back.
When interacting with students, teachers should note how often they are crouching and bending down. These actions can put huge strain on the body and should be avoided where possible.
Achieving good musculoskeletal and postural health is all about making sure that the teacher is properly supported and comfortable throughout the range of tasks they must fulfill each day.
The Jollyback Teacher’s chair is a great addition to any classroom. It prevents the need for teacher’s to crouch and bend by allowing the teacher to sit at pupil height in an ergonomically supportive chair. The castor base and adult height handle, make the chair easy to move without the need for bending or lifting.
A supportive, ergonomic chair for working at their own desk should also be made a priority by teachers and their employers.