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7 Tips to Avoid Back Pain While In the Kitchen This Holiday Season

With Christmas only a few days away, many people will be baking and cooking for their family and friends. While it’s a wonderful time to be sharing meals and treats with those you love, they wouldn’t want you to jeopardize your health and well-being just for a tasty dish. These 7 tips are to help you avoid back pain while working in the kitchen.

7 Tips to Avoid Back Pain While Cooking or Baking for the Holidays:
  1. Wear Supportive Shoes
    If you plan to be in the kitchen for awhile, wearing comfortable shoes with a good arch is best for supporting your back. Whatever you do, do not cook barefoot - not only can that cause back pain, but spilling any hot foods or liquids on your feet can cause severe burns.  
  2. Use an Anti-Fatigue Mat
    Standing on hard surfaces can put added pressure on your body. Using one of these mats, especially for those who have previously suffered from back pain, will help to absorb the pressure while standing

  3. Sit While You Prep
    Try to sit for any tasks that can be done without standing. Tasks like peeling or chopping vegetables, measuring out ingredients, or shelling nuts, all can be done from a sitting position.

  4. Use Proper Posture
    Hunching over a cutting board or mixing bowl on your counter can cause a lot of strain on your back. To help avoid that unwanted pain, keep your shoulders back.

  5. Stand Close to the Counter
    When you stand further away from the counter, you tend to bend or hunch forward. Try standing closer to the counter, and bring your food closer in to you as well. 

  6. Take Breaks
    Whether you have someone else take over for a little, or if you just need to step away to stretch, make sure you are taking breaks. Breaks allow you to loosen your muscles and joints from the stiff position they were just in. This helps to avoid muscle soreness and overstraining that causes back pain.

  7. Be Careful Lifting Heavy Objects
    When it’s time to pull out heavy cookware or appliances, make sure proper technique is used to bend, lift, and twist. Flexing your spine while bending or carrying something increases your risk of injury.

    • If you have to pick up heavy cookware from a lower position, keep your back straight and bend at your knees.

    • Avoid bending to the side when trying to lift or reach something.

    • When pulling a hot dish from the oven, take advantage of the sliding grate. This allows you to not overextend your back. 

By following these seven tips while cooking and baking, you can decrease your risk of back pain and enjoy your upcoming holiday festivities! If you do happen to injure your back, our spine specialists at Virginia Spine Institute are here to help you with the most comprehensive care possible.

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