6 Ways Chefs & Cooks Can Prevent Spine Pain

Category: Back Pain | Author: Stefano Sinicropi

Chef Back Pain

Life in the kitchen can be hectic, whether you’re cooking for your profession or simply trying to survive a Thanksgiving dinner with the in-laws. You may not notice it because you’re so focused on meal prep, but your spine can take a beating after hours in the kitchen. Today, we’re going to share six tips for protecting your spine if you’re a chef or while you’re cooking.

Invest in Quality Shoes

If you’re working in a restaurant, you’ll be on your feet for hours on end. When we’re standing, stress is distributed to our spine and absorbed by our spinal discs, and it’s channeled to our feet. You can help alleviate some of the stress your body has to bear by investing in a comfortable shoe with gel inserts that help reduce shock and stress.

Posture Care

Good posture can go a long way to preventing back pain. Try not to hunch over your table when cutting vegetables. Position your feet directly below your shoulders and try to keep you head back and not tilted forward. The more you lean forward, the more stress your cervical spine has to bear. Avoid “dish neck” by keeping your head and shoulders back and over your hips when you’re washing dishes.

Shelf Storage

If you work in a kitchen, you may not have the luxury of organizing your shelves as you would like, but if you can, try to put the items you use the most at eye level or as close to counter height as possible. Don’t store the heavy mixer on the top shelf or put the spices on the bottom rack. If you’re constantly reaching high or bending at the waist to grab supplies, your back is going to be the one that pays the price.

Share Duties and Take Breaks

Don’t feel like you have to do everything. Share tasks so that you’re not overstressing your spine by cooking for four straight hours. Ask co-workers or family members to lend a hand so you can take a break. Also, see if you can find duties in the kitchen that allow you to sit down for a bit and take some pressure off your spine. Pull up a chair and prep veggies or side dishes while the main courses are cooking.


When you’re not in the kitchen, it’s important that your find time to actively strengthen your back. Your can do this in a number of different ways. From doing specific core exercises at the gym to swimming laps in the pool, exercise is a great way to ensure your spine is healthy and strong the next time you step into the kitchen.

Talk To A Doctor

Finally, if you notice that you have been dealing with back pain flare ups while cooking, talk about your pain with your doctor. Even if it’s not a big deal, your doctor can walk you through some stretching routines or physical therapy exercises that can help you keep pain at bay. Don’t just try to battle through back pain in the kitchen, talk with a specialist to get to the bottom of your pain so you can work towards a solution.

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