The new school year has begun and all over Greater Vancouver teachers are planning their lessons for the annum ahead. However, with so much attention placed on preparing students for success, many teachers (yourself included) neglect one key element – their own physical wellness. While rest and nutrition are important, attention to body movement and function is critical if you expect to be at your best through to the next summer break. Here is what you need to know.
5 Practical Reasons Why School Teachers Benefit from Regular Physiotherapy
1. Defense Against the Sit & Stand Pain
Unless outdoor learning is a big part of a given curriculum, teachers are often contained within a relatively small classroom all day long. A sit and stand routine ensues, and with it comes a variety of pains. Let’s review.
If you like to get up and engage your students, you’ll be on your feet for most of the day. This puts a major strain on your lower extremities. If you stand all day and already have any issues with your gait (manner of walking) you will be more likely to experience plantar fasciitis, one of the most common causes of foot/heel pain. In this case custom orthotics may be required to correct the problem. Physio-presribed accessories may also assist with common pains that occur from being on your feet in a class all day. For example, compression socks, stockings, and hosiery are all known to help cramping, bunions, swelling, joint damage, and other feet-specific ailments. View more on how physiotherapy can help treat sore feet.
If you tend to load your students up with a lot of work before retreating to your desk for the remainder of the class, then you have to contend with the issues that come from sitting for extended periods of time. One of the most common causes of lower back pain today is sitting in an office, or in your case a classroom. This musculoskeletal disorder can effectively be addressed by a physiotherapy clinic’s chiropractor. In addition, manual therapy and RMT treatments can be employed to address other common issues that come with sitting all day, such as injury to the gluteus medium muscle and/or the iliopsoas muscle.
2. An Answer for Overuse Injuries
In addition to the above physical ailments, there are certain activities that you do as a teacher that put you at risk for overuse injuries. Teachers in a traditional setting face significant risk of repetitive strain injury, especially hand/wrist pain from preparing assignments, grading papers/tests, emailing parents/colleagues, and logging a large volume of information into the school’s database.
A physiotherapist will work with you to identify impending or current wrist tendonitis. If so, repositioning techniques can be applied and supportive devices can be prescribed (i.e. wrist brace, etc.). Your physiotherapist will also detail a regime of pre-class and in-class (during recess and lunch) stretches and exercises to keep you functioning optimally throughout the school day. View more on the benefits of physiotherapy for hand and wrist pain.
3. Fewer Sick Days
The injuries addressed above frequently lead to teachers having to use up their sick days, and more. This not only disrupts your livelihood, but the educational experience of your students, no matter how fun they may think their substitute teacher/s may be. In the end, they need you in the class with them, to help guide them and foster their potential. Chronic headaches and migraines also lead to teacher absences. Did you know that treatments and therapies available at your local physio clinic can also be applied to directly treat them? View more on how physiotherapy can put an end to your headaches.
In the end, by easing pain and preventing future injury your class will remain in session and your students will be better for it, even if they hate to admit it.
4. May Better Qualify You for Extra Curricular Activities
Some teachers, especially at the elementary school level, do double-duty in the gym as a team coach. This not only benefits you from a student engagement perspective, it bodes well professionally as it makes your resume more robust. The latter is essential if you’re looking at moving on to bigger teaching gigs in the future. By remaining free of injury and improving your overall fitness through physiotherapy you will be a strong candidate to sub-in for PE class or to take on coaching duties.
5. Pass Physical Health Knowledge On To Your Students
Students look to you to provide them with valuable information that can be applied not only to their future studies, but to life in general. You already have a strong background in important subjects, but you can also become more knowledgable about physical health when working with a physiotherapist. This is practical information that you can pass on to students to their benefit.
Think about it, your students are in the same boat (class) as you. They face the same physical risks (overuse injuries) from sitting, writing, and typing. When you learn about how to correct poor sitting posture and writing/typing form, you can teach them the same. They will have the opportunity that you didn’t have when you were a student, and will shake off bad habits early in life. You can even make stretches and exercises a part of your daily class routine. Not only will these movements help prevent overuse injuries, they will stimulate the senses of students. Given that physical activity improves cognitive performance it will help them concentrate better in class when it’s time to return to readings and lectures.
Get a step ahead of the class by scheduling a consultation at our Greater Vancouver clinic in Burnaby today.