Saturday, January 30, 2016

Back Health for Teachers

Chronic back pain is common, and teachers can be extra vulnerable.
http://teacherink.blogspot.com/2016/01/back-health-for-teachers.html
Sitting for long periods of time is terrible for your back.  So is bending over at the waist.  I used to do this all the time, to check kids’ work, or to correct their penmanship.  Now I bend at the knees.  No matter how silly it looks, I know it’s the right thing for my back health.


Here are some devices that have helped my back stay healthy and pain-free.

1)       This is the TENS system I bought about 5 years ago.  It's right up there as one of the best purchases I ever made.

It is exactly like the professional machine a physical therapist or chiropractor would use (except the pro model costs $3000).  One or two sessions completely dissolve any lower back pain.

You have to know how to use it.  If you don't, I recommend seeing a professional therapist first.  The rules include: don't let the pads touch, don't place the pads directly on your spine or near your heart.  Place them in the 2 or 4 spots of most pain, and use for approximately 1 hour a day as needed.  Always, always...turn off the electrical device before placing or removing the pads.

One important feature is a timer, so it turns off automatically if you fall asleep with it on.  Another must-have feature is a variety of electric pulses.



 


2)      My second best tip is to use a lumbar pillow.  I rarely sit without one, as nothing beats preventing pain.  My favorite back pillow is a half-cylinder memory foam shape. The Tempur-Pedic brand is hands-down the best, and for back health, I splurged.  I layer 2 pillows on my deep-set chair.  I put the lumbar pillow arched against my lower back.  


I carry my pillow in a thin burlap bag on those days when we sit all day at professional development.  I simply place the bag against a chair for comfort.

3)     I also use these 2 foam rollers.  They're used to massage legs, hips, back, etc.

And they work wonders!  As you roll slowly back and forth, you get a deep tissue massage.  For the lower back, I place one under the lumbar area and one under the shoulders.  Then I roll over both at the same time.  

A word of warning: your first sessions may be painful, veeeery painful.  That’s good.  It means all your tight muscles are loosening up.  After a week, it’s a pure pleasure. 


4)    An herbal heat pack creates a total home spa experience.  I got this on impulse, and it was one of the great gifts I recommend to anyone for that "ahhhh" feeling at the end of a long day—spent in a classroom or elsewhere.


For back health, I make sure to stretch daily and I have my kids do it, too—even if it’s only for a few seconds between lessons.  I hope I’m instilling a lifetime habit of health.


Of course, if you have chronic back pain, please see a professional first.  Find out the root cause, which may involve posture, muscles, arthritis, or spinal discs.  

And treat your back like royalty.  It is.

 photo Renee sig BLOG mistral 3_zpsdafcpaq6.png

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