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Back pain in the kitchen

By Gemma Newell Nov 21 2012 | 12.16 PM

There can often be nothing less enjoyable than having to do the washing up after a nice relaxing meal but this can be even less inviting if you suffer from a painful back.


Unfortunately, kitchen surfaces are often not set at the correct height to suit an individual's needs and frequently people are working in the kitchen for hours leaning over too much or reaching up too high.


Re-designing your kitchen to have everything at the perfect height is usually not an option, so I have compiled the following tips to hopefully reduce the problems:


  • Wear good shoes - Comfortable and supportive shoes can help to reduce the load in your back by helping the alignment of the feet and hips and providing some cushioning from the floor.
  • Using a gel pro mat - similarly to good shoes, many people report relief in their back pain using a cushioned gel mat under their feet.
  • Change the activity/position - This can be hard to do if you need to be working on the stove for a while, but where possible try to change the activity or take regular breaks from a sustained posture:

- Do the washing up in stages - do something else in between.

- Open the bottom cupboard and rest a foot on the lower shelf to offload one side - (usually the affected leg if you have leg pain).

- Sit down to prepare foods e.g. chopping vegetables

- Try a perching stool- periodically leaning against a high stool can take some pressure off the lower back.

  • Use a washing up bowl - If the sink is too low then it might be an idea to wash the majority of the dishes in a washing up bowl on the draining board instead of in the sink. This is usually at a much better height for your lower back.
  • Share the load - Cooking or doing the washing up with your partner or a friend can not only be much more fun but can also help to reduce the amount of time with your back in a poor posture.



Not all back pain is the same, so seeing a physiotherapist may help you identify the cause for your pain. They can then provide you with specific strategies to help manage your pain in the kitchen.

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