Working in a professional kitchen can wreak havoc on the human body.
Perhaps most surprisingly, as the Daily Mail reports, spending “four hours or more of each day standing … can lead to problems including back pain, aching muscles, corns, bunions and excess pressure on hip, knee, and ankle joints. Other symptoms include lower limb swelling, varicose veins, and back pain. Coronary heart disease and arthritis can also be worsened by standing for long periods.”
Between prolonged standing, repetitive motion, and lifting heavy items, chefs really put their bodies through the wringer. To avoid being forced into early retirement, here are some ways to prevent kitchen hazards.
Lift with Your Knees or Ask for Assistance
A busy professional kitchen often requires you to lift heavy objects including bulk produce, racks of meat, or equipment and kitchen implements. To avoid getting a back injury, always be sure to lift with your knees. Lifting with your back can cause strains, spasms, and misalignment, among other problems. If an object is very heavy, consider asking another staff member or two to help so that you can keep your back in peak condition.
Clean up Kitchen Spills, Pronto!
The longer a spill remains in the kitchen environment, the higher the chance of injury from a slip and fall. The U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics reported in 2009 that 22.1% of food preparation workers injured their backs or shoulders, resulting in at least one missed day of work. This is an alarming statistic, so clean up those messes as soon as possible. Also, consider investing in good quality, slip-resistant shoes to further protect yourself.
Keep Your Knives Sharp
Using dull knives means you have to exert more force to cut. That puts increased pressure on shoulders, arms, and wrists, which could lead to repetitive task injuries, fatigue, and muscle soreness.
Get an Adequate Amount of Sleep
It’s easy to get into a vicious cycle of overwork, particularly with the early or late hours of a professional kitchen. This can lead to erratic, or too little, sleep. Missing out on sleep not only messes up your performance in the kitchen, it increases your proneness for accidents and body pain. To avoid back injury it is important to set aside enough time for sleep.
Regardless of how many precautions are taken, the risk of being injured on the job in a kitchen is high. When injury occurs, it is important to seek out professional care to remedy any bodily issues as soon as possible.
Is Pain Keeping You Out of the Kitchen?
A certified chiropractor can ensure that you receive the correct adjustments and treatment for your specific needs.