School teachers more likely to develop back pain

Kathmandu, May 18

Although back pain is common among all office-goers, school teachers are more likely to develop chronic shoulder, neck and back pain, say doctors.

Nearly 30 per cent patients suffering from back pain are teachers, said Dr Prajwal Man Shrestha, senior consultant orthopedic surgeon at the Blue Cross Hospital, Tripureswor.

“The problem is mainly caused by poor posture and standing for long hours as teachers are not allowed to sit while teaching,” he said, adding that risk of developing the problem increases with the number of years spent in teaching.

To make matters worse, each class lasts for around 45 minutes and teachers hardly have any leisure. “As a result, they cannot take enough rest. This increases the risk of developing a severe back ache,” said Dr Shrestha.

Basu Krishna Gosain, a teacher at Paragon Academy, Bhaktapur, said he continuously stands for six hours every day while teaching. “When I return home from school, I am hardly able to do any work at home due to back pain,” he says. Gosain has been teaching for the last seven years.

Sita Khatri (35), teacher at Bimal Memorial Bidhya Pith, Nalinchwok, Bhaktapur, shares a similar story. “I’m a married woman and have to cook and do the dishes for my family before and after school,” she says.

Khatri’s five-year-old child is differently-abled and this makes matters worse as she has to take extra care of her child.

“My school is half-an-hour walk from my house and I have to carry my child as he cannot walk,” she said, adding that her heavy workload might be the reason for her back pain.

“When standing for long hours, the entire weight of the upper body rests on the spinal cord. Due to this, the muscles get stressed and cause back pain. Those who do not exercise regularly and work hard develop back pain,” said Dr Shrestha.

Although both male and female teachers suffer from back pain, this problem is mostly seen among young teachers of private schools, said Dr Shrestha.

“Young teachers think they can handle hard work without rest, but every one needs proper rest,” he said.