In the restaurant industry, you are particularly susceptible to back and neck pain or injury due to the long hours you spend on your feet with the weight of supplies and food trays that are constantly being carried around. This is the single leading cause of disability across the world so don’t let your work be a pain in the back.
As a restaurant worker, you should address the problem areas before you develop chronic pain by following some basic tips:
- When lifting heavy items, use lifting devices when available. If lifting equipment is not available, ask a co-worker for assistance so you do not cause unnecessary stress on your spine. Lift using your knees rather than bending and using your back muscles.
- Get active to maintain strong back and core muscles.
- Maintain a healthy diet because excess weight on your spine also adds to pain.
- Wear work appropriate shoes.
- Take short breaks to let your body rest after it has been standing or performing repetitive motions for extended periods of time.
- Maintain work equipment so it is functioning properly and not requiring more force from your body than necessary.
At any given time, there are over 31 million Americans who experience back pain and it is estimated that 80% of the population will experience back pain at some point in their lives. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, back problems (musculoskeletal disorders) account for about 30% of the time that is lost in the workplace due to injury or illness. It is also the second highest reason for visits to the doctor, behind upper respiratory infections. Most of these cases are mechanical, which means that the pain is triggered by movements of the spine and not by serious medical conditions like cancer, arthritis, or infections.
In restaurants, musculoskeletal conditions can develop when you:
- Lift heavy items that should not be lifted by a single person, which can cause nerve damage, strain, and pain through the back and limbs.
- Stand in the same position on a hard surface for long periods of time, which leads to muscle fatigue causing pain in the back and legs.
- Use tools that are not properly sharpened or working properly, which requires more pressure to perform the tasks and causes upper back pain.
If you are experiencing chronic back pain, making informed decisions about your care by discussing the issues with your primary physician or seeing a chiropractor.
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Source: The American Chiropractic Association (acatoday.org) and OSHA.gov