Category: Back Pain | Author: Stefano Sinicropi | Date: September 10, 2018
Chefs, bartenders and wait staff all have one thing in common – they are on their feet for a large portion of their shift. While your puppies might be barking at the end of your shift, there is another body part that gets stressed when you’re standing and moving around for hours on end, and that’s your spine.
Back injuries are fairly common in the restaurant industry, and oftentimes people try to work through the problem instead of tackling it head on. This only leads to further condition progression and in most cases, worse pain. Below, we explain why the food service industry is so hard on your spine, and how to protect your back so as not to increase your risk for a spinal injury.
Food Service Workers and Back Injuries
When you think about all the tasks chefs, bartenders and servers are asked to perform on a daily basis, it’s no surprise that back injuries occur quite frequently. After all, these workers often:
- Lift and carry heavy trays, kegs or other supplies.
- Exhibit poor posture when hunched over a bar, a kitchen table or while serving food.
- Slip and trip on wet floors or customer belongings
- Bend, twist and otherwise strain their back during normal working duties
- Work long shifts without regular breaks
You can’t always avoid these activities during your shift, but you can help to mitigate their risk of increasing your chances of suffering a back injury. For starters, ask for help when carrying or lifting heavy items, and always practice proper lifting techniques. Try to maintain good posture throughout your shift, and consider investing in a support brace to help naturally shift your spine into a healthy position. Wipe up any spills right away so others aren’t exposed to dangerous working conditions, and avoid unnecessary twisting or straining of your back while on the clock.
Treating Back Injuries in Food Service
If you have back pain and you work in the food service industry, don’t ignore your pain and try to get on with your day. It is better to miss a shift or two while you focus on getting better than to try and push through the pain and make the problem ten times worse.
For minor to mild spine pain, you may be able to get by with some simple conservative treatment options like exercise, eating a healthy diet, staying hydrated at home and during your shift, targeted stretching and physical therapy routines, anti-inflammatory over-the-counter medications and rest. Try a combination of these strategies for a couple of days to see how your spine responds, and continue doing what works.
If pain doesn’t seem to be getting better, or it gets worse during your course of conservative treatment, be sure to reach out to a spinal specialist like Dr. Sinicropi. He’ll be able to provide you with a clear diagnosis and a targeted treatment plan to put your spine pain in the past. You need your spine to be healthy for decades to come, so treat it right on the job. Contact Dr. Sinicropi’s office for more information.