Teaching school isn’t thought of as a particularly strenuous activity — but teachers facing a significant risk of suffering from a back injury at some point in their careers.
Back injuries can occur slowly over time, so a victim might not even realize that there’s an issue until the damage builds up. Using proper body mechanics and ergonomic equipment can help, but teachers still face a lot of back-breaking challenges. There are, however, a few other things teachers can do to minimize the risk of problems.
Minimize bending and lifting
One of the hazards that teachers face is having to bend over. This is common for teachers who have younger students who require more hands-on assistance, but even teachers in the upper grades do a lot of bending and lifting as they look for course materials and help students.
Instead of always bending at the waist, teachers who have to help young students might benefit from stooping down. This helps to keep the back a bit straighter and won’t wear on those muscles as much. With older students, sitting down at a table to look at their work together may keep pressure off a teacher’s back.
Recognizing a back problem
Since the back pain and stiffness will likely start off as a bother and then get progressively worse as time marches on, teachers need to pay close attention to how they’re feeling. If back pain gets worse and won’t abate when they get rest, they may need to visit a doctor for an evaluation. The doctor should provide guidance about how the teacher can protect the back while they work. In some cases, the back injury can be serious enough to require surgery and time off work.
When a teacher needs medical care or misses work because of a work-related injury, workers’ compensation or a similar program, should cover the costs of that care and provide partial wage-replacement benefits. If you’re struggling to get your workers’ comp claim approved, speaking with an attorney is often wise.