October is National Chiropractic Month. This is particularly relevant for restaurant workers who are at higher risk of injury due to the nature of rotating shifts with late or evening schedules, and the manual labor often associated with restaurant work.
Back and shoulder pain are some of the most prevalent and disabling conditions throughout the world. Some common issues contributing to pain include tendon-related injuries (tendonitis and bursitis) affecting the shoulder, muscle strains, and herniated or ruptured disks affecting the back.
Tips for Avoiding Back and Shoulder Pain:
- Do not let servers and bussers overload trays or carry too much at one time.
- Instruct servers to carry loads over their shoulder to ensure they are carrying the weight as close to the axis of their spine as possible, and alternate shoulder use throughout their shift.
- Stay physically active and strengthen abdominal muscles to help support the back.
- Maintain a healthy body weight. Weight adds compression to the spine, contributing to back pain.
- Avoid smoking as it contributes to the constriction of blood flow, which is essential for injured tissue repair.
- Bend and lift at your knees rather than using your back.
Exercises for Treating Back or Shoulder Pain:
- Lying on your back, bend your knees with your feet flat on the floor. Pull your abdominal muscles up and in, flattening your back to the floor. Raise one knee toward the chest, holding the position for several seconds. Lower your leg to the starting position and repeat with the opposite knee.
- Lying on your back, raise one knee toward your chest, then straighten and hold for several seconds. Slowly lower the leg to the starting position and repeat with the opposite leg.
- In a standing position, lean over and relax your arm. Rotate the arm in a circular motion, beginning with small circles, then bigger ones. Repeat 5 to 10 times a day. Stop if you have pain.
Back and shoulder pain are the most common reasons individuals are prescribed opioid medications, which remain a top public health concern due to the overuse and abuse of these drugs. It is important to understand that spinal manipulation and other conservative approaches can treat musculoskeletal conditions safely and effectively.
If you have questions about pain relief, contact a chiropractic specialist or your primary care physician. Your health plan may include benefits to cover these services.
John E. Aoki, M.D., CHCQM, FABQAURP
Chief Medical Officer
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