Teachers are at a particularly high risk of developing back, neck and shoulder problems, says a new survey by the British Osteopathic Association. Stressful working conditions, brought about by large class sizes, scarce resources and poor rewards for their work, are blamed for the high rates of self-reported musculoskeletal disorders (MSD) among teachers.
While nursery staff are most likely to be involved in activities involving prolonged periods of kneeling, bending and stooping, teachers in schools tend to spend a lot of time in “head down” activities, such as reading, marking or writing, which can lead to problems in the back, neck and upper limbs.
The report also suggests that psychosocial factors, such as the demands of high workloads or high perceived stress levels, can be associated with MSD.
The study compared findings from a variety of research projects into the prevalence of MSD among teaching staff around the world.