There are certain things that we do every day that can make our
back pain worse; one of those things is cooking. Chefs are
notorious for experiencing back pain, however whether you are a
professional chef or enjoy cooking and hosting dinner parties for
friends and family you may find working in the kitchen aggravates
your back or neck pain.
Working in the kitchen requires standing for prolonged periods
of time which exerts pressure on the spine and pelvis. Working in
the kitchen also requires bending and lifting and my personal
dislike; twisting, which increases the pressure in the spinal discs
and is the main cause for disc injury.
Here are some tips to alleviate some of the pressure on
your back and neck:
- Raise your cutting board level so that you are not bending for
prolonged periods and straining the ligaments and discs in you
- Invest in some lightweight pots and trays to reduce heavy
- Use good lifting techniques, bend your knees as well as your
back and don't over reach.
- If you do suffer with a lower back problem such as a disc
injury, having a foot stool that you can raise one foot on can help
to flex the hip and open out the little holes in the lumbar spine
where the spinal nerves emerge from. This reduces the compression
on the nerves resulting in less discomfort.
- You might be standing for a while, so wear comfortable shoes
with a rubber sole for good grip and a heel that is about half an
inch high to provide good arch support.
- Pay attention to your posture, stand with a wide stance, align
your head above your shoulders, keep your chin tucked in and keep
your shoulders back and down.
Reduce some of the effects of a sedentary lifestyle by getting
outdoors and walking around a farmers' market to buy some great
nutritious ingredients. If you suffer with back pain try to choose
foods that can help to reduce chronic inflammation. Salmon for
example can have anti-inflammatory qualities because it is high in
omega 3 fatty acids are very good at breaking down the products of
inflammation hence reducing pain.
If you are cooking for a number of people, ask for help instead
of attempting to cook the entire meal yourself. It will be fun to
get other people involved and share recipes. Sharing the workload
means you won't be doing all the standing, bending, twisting and
lifting by yourself and you can take breaks.
If you are throwing a dinner party, plan your menu in advance
and consider preparing a meal that can be worked on over a few
days. This will allow you to pace yourself to minimise the strain
on your back. An added advantage of this is that most dishes taste
better when they are started early, and you can add the finishing
touches at the last minute!
On-going back pain should be assessed by a registered osteopath,
who will take a detailed history, perform an examination, and
provide a diagnosis of the problem with an appropriate treatment
and exercise regime.
Shanilla Isabel Diaz is a registered osteopath at www.fulhamosteopathiccare.co.uk