Tips to Prevent Back Pain in the Kitchen this Holiday

Hours standing in the kitchen preparing holiday feasts (and cleaning up after them) can take it’s toll on the body, especially as we age.   Back pain is one of the most common complaints of older adults but there are a number of small hacks that can relieve discomfort and prevent strain.

Tips for Preventing Back Strain

  • Avoid a bent posture while doing dishes by opening a cabinet door underneath the sink and place one foot inside.  This allows you to get closer to your work without aggravating the back or neck.
  • Avoid bending; consider using a foot stool that you can raise one foot on while standing to flex the hip and reduce compression on the nerves in the lower back.
  • Lift heavy items using your knees and try not to bend at the waist or twist the torso. 
  • Take a break every 30 minutes to stretch
  • Wear supportive shoes with good arch support and a rubber sole.
  • Carry any heavy load close to the body and ask for help if something is too heavy.
  • On hard surfaces like tile or wood a rubber (anti-fatigue) mat can ease back strain.
  • Check your posture, make sure your head is aligned and lower shoulders back and down.
  • Try to spread out meal preparation over a few days.
  • Leaning on a high countertop with both hands can take some of the pressure off the spine.
  • Sit at the table or bring a stool to the counter while chopping or peeling vegetables.

Adults over the age of 60 frequently suffer from low back pain, one of the most common health problems among older adults resulting in pain and disability.  In addition to age-related changes in the spine or injury, a sedentary lifestyle and being overweight can also lead to chronic low back pain.   

To learn more about treatment for low back pain, talk with your doctor or visit the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke’s Low Back Pain Fact Sheet here