Teaching with Chronic Back Pain and Multiple Sclerosis

Teaching with Chronic Back Pain and Multiple Sclerosis

About Me

My name is Wendy Taylor. I am a 5th grade teacher, and a mother to a very energetic toddler. 

My Career

Teaching can be very rewarding. When a student has been struggling to understand a certain concept and finally receives that “ah-ha” moment, that’s when I’m glad I chose to be a teacher. There are hard parts of teaching too—learning how to understand and deal with different personalities and behaviors, getting students to want to learn, and keeping them engaged throughout the entire day. But ultimately, what keeps me going is the relationship I am able to build with these kids and being able to celebrate their small victories with them.

What I love about my job is the ability to interact and build a strong rapport with my students. I may be an adult, but often still feel like a kid at heart, however, my body wouldn’t agree with that statement. Unfortunately, I have not stayed active enough in my life to maintain the energy and physical stamina of an eleven year old. Due to the long hours of standing, hunching over children to help them with assignments, trying to keep up with students on the playground, and sitting for extended periods of time for meetings, lesson planning, and answering parent emails, I have found myself with chronic neck and back pain.

Home Life

After coming home from an eventful day of teaching, I am greeted by my beautiful, sometimes overly energetic, four-year-old son. He is unaware of how drained and achy I am by the  time I get home, and I refuse to ever let him find out, as he has been waiting all day to play with me. Any mother can relate, that when I get home from work, I have a second full-time job, and that is being a mom. Taking care of my child’s every need, making sure he is cleaned up after, and getting him ready for bed, are just a few of the activities that need to be addressed at the end of the day.

Experience with Back Pain

When I was young I didn’t have the best posture, and still find myself correcting my posture to this day. I feel that my poor posture has played a role in some of the back pain I’ve been experiencing, but not entirely. I have noticed that I experience a lot more pain and migraines during the school year, rather than during summer break. Most of the back pain that I experience during the school year lies at the base of my tailbone and in between my shoulders, and my mid-back.

How Chirp has Helped Me

I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis about 11 and a half years ago, when I was 17 years old. I had experienced a variety of symptoms like numbness and tingling in both my hands, vertigo, a hard time swallowing, and fatigue. At the time I didn’t really understand what having MS meant for me and my future, but as I’ve grown and educated myself more about the autoimmune disease, I have refused to let it stop me from living my life and doing the things I love. 

That’s a big reason why feeling good is very important to me. I try my best to keep going even when I don’t feel good, but it’s never easy. The Chirp Wheel has helped me to feel good by easing my neck and back pain, which seems like a very simple thing when you say it out loud, but it has kept me feeling more energized, allowing me to do more of the things I love, like cooking, baking, hiking, bike riding, and just being with family and friends.