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Pain in the center of your back...am I the only one?

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 
I frequently get this sharp pain right in the upper center of my back whenever I cook for a long time. Or rather, I get this pain whenever I am slightly bent over for a prolonged period of time. e.g washing lots of dishes, cooking a abnormally large meal, lots of chopping, or even when I am wood working.

Does any one else get this specific pain? What do you do to get rid of it?

It seems like it is in a spot that you can't really stretch, so stretching seems to be out of the question. Ideas? :cry:
post #2 of 22
I know that pain and get it if I have to cook on counters that are just a bit too low, or use folding 8' banquet tables for prep areas.

The best remedy for that pain is a yoga move called the sun salute. It stretches every muscle in your body but really gets that middle back area nicely. It's also really good for improving your posture.

Take a look at this link:
Suryanamaskar - Sun Salutation - Yoga Postures Step-By-Step
It shows you just how to do it.
Do it really slowly at first, then speed up a little and then do it again a little faster. Always keep your shoulders down and you'll be amazed at how good you feel.

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Liquored up and laquered down,
She's got the biggest hair in town!

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post #3 of 22
Find yourself a 90 degree wall corner. One of these may help too:

The Original Backnobber 2, Massage Tools, backnobber2
post #4 of 22
Best solution IMO would be to stop doing whatever at that position. I try to constantly reposition myself or stop to rework my muscles in the pain area and it seems to remedy till I can go home and sit. Foodnfoto's yoga solution sounds interesting though.

However whats bugging me now might need a trip to the docs. I've noticed since January that after doing my job for past 5 hours, my ankles feels like its sprained. I can't bend or twist my right ankle into any position without feeling major pain and it only gets worse the more I gotta run around. I limp home every day now and feel it slightly next morning. Simple solution would be to sit but it won't happen, now with this place but I do intend to have my doctor look at it.
post #5 of 22
normally lower back gets me....Saturday there was 9" of snow on the ground and I wore berkie clogs to an event without inserts, forgot to swap shoes and ended up with spazzening muscles.....really great. Got home, crawled into bed and woke up fine. SLEEP NUMBER really works.

My only bro is a chiropractor.....you could not ask a sibling to be in a better trade....even got a massuse in his office. An I get sister rates:p:smiles:
cooking with all your senses.....
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cooking with all your senses.....
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post #6 of 22
I'm on my feet about 16 hours a day when I'm on a job and usually standing on concrete or some other unforgiving surface. Buy the best shoes you can and get rid of them when they wear out, not the outside, but the cushion inside. The other thing I try to do is bring a second pair of shoes and change my shoes mid-day...it feels good! If you wear sneakers, I recommend New Balance, probably the most common sneaker on a film set.

I'm usually working on plastic buffet tables and they are not the best height for 6'2". I bring my own risers that I've made by cutting 2" PVC pipe. The PVC just slides over the ends of the legs and no more bending for me.
post #7 of 22
If your near 40 years of age....i would say its probably onset of
arthritis....i have it as well....not all the time...but regularly....slightly
to the left in the center of my back.....between my shoulders....Used to
take celebrex for a couple of days...seemed to help....good luck
post #8 of 22
I get that knot between the shoulder blades, but it's more often from using too high a surface than too low (I'm not tall). This is especially true when chopping, as the higher surface forces you to sort of hitch up your shoulder. I've learned to stand on something to get myself at a proper height.

If you can't find a way to temporarily modify the height of your surface through say an elevated block or some such (love that riser idea!), you might try varying your slouching position. It sounds like you tend to hunch over at your upper back. Try shifting periodically to a bent knee stance, spreading your legs a good bit apart, or putting most of your weight on one leg with the other extended out (as if you have your hand on your hip), etc.

I worked for years in hospitals. I used to get this same knot after hours of keyboarding and mousing on the computer. The head physical therapist gave me two great tricks for getting rid of that knot.

One is to lie on the floor with something like a tennis ball under the knotted muscle. The pressure will eventually cause the muscle to release. You can rock a little on the ball to get a kneading effect, which can be soothing. This is still my go-to treatment.

The other is to take two tennis balls and tape them together (gotta love duct tape). Then, lean your full weight against a wall with the taped balls between the wall and the knotted muscle. This one is really good if you're knotted up around both shoulder blades and/or don't have a suitable floor to lie upon (kitchen? yuck!).

Good luck!
Sharing food with another human being is an intimate act that should not be indulged in lightly.
-M.F.K. Fisher
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Sharing food with another human being is an intimate act that should not be indulged in lightly.
-M.F.K. Fisher
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post #9 of 22
The best thing I've found for my back pain (& knees) was a custom made pair of orthodics for my shoes...they cost a bit but are well worth it.
post #10 of 22
As I sit here, doped up to my happy eyeballs on diazapam, Tramadol and voltarol, I can relate, empathise and sympathise. It's lower back for me. Twisted it 3 weeks ago. (why do all the doors open the wrong way when you're carrying a load ) Suffered in silence all this time but got my drugs today. My work is covered for the next 2 days (guess its paperwork time) and Fridays big job should just need more delegation than usual.
I find it rather unsettling when telling the most upright of citizens what you're taking that they somehow know the street value ??
So anyway I reccommend drugs:bounce:They're lovely... Sorry, the Diazapan has kicked in

I also highly reccommend rubber shock absorber mats. I bought 2 last year and we really notice the difference when they're not in the kitchen being cleaned. They're supposed to help with circulation too £50 for a 6' by 4' placed in the areas you tend to just stand in a lot
"If we're not supposed to eat animals, why are they made of meat?" Jo Brand
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"If we're not supposed to eat animals, why are they made of meat?" Jo Brand
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post #11 of 22
Thread Starter 

quick update...

OK...I gave foodnfoto's yoga position a try last night. And you know what? When I tried it, I felt a nice pop in my upper back right where the pain has been! It felt much better for the evening.

Tonight I tried Rouxtheday's tennis ball. It worked well. Then I followed it with the yoga move again and I felt another *POP* and my back felt great again.

Maybe hearing pops in my back isn't a good thing, but it sure feels great!

I will admit, however, that I can only get to step 5 or step 6 of the yoga move before I forget what I am supposed to do. But so far, 6 steps has been sufficient! Thank you all for your tips and hints.:bounce:
post #12 of 22
Buy your partner some massage oil for valentines day :blush:
post #13 of 22
Hi Stewey
I'm so glad that the sun salute helped you. Yeah, I get that pop right in the middle of my back too, usually during step 2. If you can't remember what to do after step six, just go backwards from there back to step 1. That's how the whole thing works. You'll get it eventually.
I do three times in the AM when I get up and three just before bed. Does wonders.

www.foodandphoto.com

Liquored up and laquered down,
She's got the biggest hair in town!

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www.foodandphoto.com

Liquored up and laquered down,
She's got the biggest hair in town!

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post #14 of 22
Sounds like bursitis, how old are you? the only other possability is your lungs, if your a heavy smoker (please don't be offended) if it's bursitis & won't clear up... a couple of cortisone shots will fix you right up. good luck.
post #15 of 22

Gel Mats

I keep seeing Gel Mats advertised in magazines. Since I have tile floors, I was wondering if anyone has used these and what their opinions are. They seem pretty expensive but if they work, they would be worth it to me.
Thanks for the advice.
post #16 of 22
I am no doctor but have experience foot problems with symptoms similar to yours.

I suspect you have "heel spurs".

Make sure you have a good pair of shoes with re-inforced arch supports. You might even invest in "gels" inserts. Remember, shoes wear out.
Remember what the Dormouse said!!
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Remember what the Dormouse said!!
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post #17 of 22
i think all of us chefs get it. i sure do especially after long hours. my grandmother was a chef for 42 years and she ended up stooped over and couldnt really stand up straight due to the many years of cheffing. does this happen to all of us after many years??
post #18 of 22

"your Not Alone"

To me it sounds almost defenatly "SCIATICA" look it up on the web, I use alternative medic!!! taste like **** but you know what they say, I also went to a physio, only works short term though, Yoga is prob the best........Or take loads of P Killers........:crazy:
post #19 of 22
one word "birkenstocks"
Chef Jack
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Chef Jack
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post #20 of 22
The mats are my legs lifesaver. Tried the mats they sell at Walmart, but that didn't do much. 5 years later, my boss splurges and gets me commercial mats to stand on at the stove and 1 at the bench. They are very bouncy, not stiff. My legs used to ache so bad that I bought a hot tub. Great tempoary releif but since the mats have been bought, I don't use the hot tub that much.
post #21 of 22
As one who has had two cervical 5, 6, & 7 laminectomy and discectomies, I empathize with those who suffer back and neck pain. Being on your feet, with your head dropped, cooking, for hours on end is simply detrimental to the body's health. You must stretch hourly and walk a bit. And during your non-work hours, work just as hard at developing core strength.

In my 60s, too many hours at the work table, and my left arm feels like I've plugged a finger into an electrical outlet.
post #22 of 22

dogs are barking!

we have no mats in our prep kitchen or on the line...the chef is too lazy to pick them up each night to sweep and mop, so my legs and back are one big knotted mess at the end of the night..we also have a set of 8 steps from the line to the prep kitchen, so lots of up and down (20-30 times a night) definately takes its toll!...good shoes are key,i stretch, do some simple yoga stretches,ski alot, get regular deep tissue massages and reiki therapy..it all helps but its constant...such is the life of a chef, eh..they do't talk about that on food network!
joey

food is like love...it should be entered into with abandon or not at all        Harriet Van Horne

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food is like love...it should be entered into with abandon or not at all        Harriet Van Horne

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