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Health question for some of the seasoned chefs (back problems, arthritis, carpel tunnel...)

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 

I had a question for some of the chefs here who have been in the industry for awhile. My question is how some of some of you have dealt with issues like back problems, arthritis, carpel tunnel, etc. I ask because I want to try and take any preventative measures now that may be specific to this particular profession. I pulled the lucky end of the genetic pool and all three have a tendency to start in my family a little earlier than you would commonly see, late 30's and early 40's. I'm nearly 28 and have already started noticing problems with my thumb on my right hand with the joint and some tendinitis. I had a bit of a problem about a month ago where essentially I couldn't use my thumb and had to put it in a brace, otherwise the pain would from thumb to just above my elbow in a very short amount of time. Basically about a week and a half working with primarily my left hand (I'm right handed). Already been to the doctor and they couldn't say much about the thumb and only ice/rest for the wrist. Any help or advice would be greatly appreciated because this isn't the way I wanted to be taken out of the industry. Thanks.

post #2 of 18

I'm 33 and developing RA like a boss already.  I bought (and people may scream at me here) a Ken Onion knife from Shun, which alleviated all of my knife-hand problems.  It's a pleasure to use for hours on end, stays keen, all that good stuff.  

 

Back problems...buy a brace, wear it under your coat.  If you're staying at a table for a while chopping things etc, either put your foot on the low shelf below it (if there is one) or get an empty can or something and rest your foot on that.  That'll take pressure off your back and put it onto your leg, which is probably more able to handle it.

 

Your feet are going to kill you.  Buy a foot spa, or even just soak them with epsom salts.  That's my favorite part of the day.

post #3 of 18

Been doing this for 30 some years now and the best advice I can give is invest in high quality footwear and go see a foot doctor and have custom orthotics made. you well be surprised how well they will work, You'll be on your feet many hours a day and happy feet mean less back pain and any other related pains from working long hours.

post #4 of 18

I have it all.......30 yrs of abuse. Start wearing compression stockings now. They make your feet & legs feel much better after a long day of standing.

post #5 of 18

The most reliving and/or relaxing thing I've done for general all-over "I'm so gosh-darn sore" pain and tiredness was/is a swimming workout. I have a very nice YMCA by my house. I do a bunch of stretching in the water, a few laps, and some exercise movements. In'n'out in 1 hour. I feel great. 

"And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music."

I'm not sayin', I'm just sayin'.

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"And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music."

I'm not sayin', I'm just sayin'.

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post #6 of 18

Hey dude I can relate! Bad genetics in certain things can lead to a very early in life symptomatic condition with the job we do. It is much better to do preventive measures before the on set of these conditions than attempting to work with them after they start to flare up. All of the posts so far have been very spot on with applications which help with the abuse we do to ourselves with our chosen profession. I found a major solution to many of my health problems by accident and it is kinda extreme for our biz and that is a diet change. I was going through a big bread baking addition to my outlet and started getting rashes on my hands and forearms and through this site and talking to other bakers found out it was a common occurance with people who had baked bread for long periods. I researched the reason and to keep it simple I found the Paleo style of eating and after 30 days my total health made a complete change. Check out Rob Wolf .com and get his book! You can curtail and slow down the genetic nemisis you have inherited. Good luck and get well.

Doug..

The two most common things in the universe are hydrogen and stupidity !
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The two most common things in the universe are hydrogen and stupidity !
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post #7 of 18

Like Chef Buba!

You name it I had or have it.  50 years worth   No feeling in right hand fingers(boning and working in fridge all day) Bilateral splay feet, no arches at all. Constant back pain tables to low cold, standing all day carrying meat carcasses. Other then these  OK  (years ago they kept fridge temps much colder then today anywhere between 45 and 55f. Today they call it a meat room and its about 60 to 65

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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post #8 of 18

Oh man you guys sure have me wondering what I'll be like in 30yrs.

 

I'm only 25 and I have 12 screws and a plate from a fall in dish land. It bugs me to think I'll have to slow down one day.

 

+1 on insoles/compression socks (I use the same combo I do when hiking pretty much)

post #9 of 18

Don't do drugs and drink in excess or smoke and you will do fine.

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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post #10 of 18
Im 27, and I've only been cooking for two years. This morning I woke up to a neck so stiff that I couldn't get out of bed without rolling off.
Went to the doctor, she said that it was an RSI and prescribed me muscle relaxants and lots of ibuprofen. Then I went to the pharmacy to pick up my prescription and the pharmacists laughed that I'm too young to be using these meds...!!

If I'm like this now I must be falling apart by the time I'm 40!
post #11 of 18

You only fall apart when you retire and do nothing. Keep busy it's healthier

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

Reply

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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post #12 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by chefedb View Post

Don't do drugs and drink in excess or smoke and you will do fine.

lol.

post #13 of 18

Don't do drugs but drink in excess and don't smoke and you'll have more time to drink!

 

LOL

 

wtf

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"Plus, this method makes you look like a complete lunatic. If you care about that sort of thing".  - Dave Arnold

 

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"Plus, this method makes you look like a complete lunatic. If you care about that sort of thing".  - Dave Arnold

 

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post #14 of 18

Seriously - if you have such medical problems - just become a tele-marketer and avoid the situation entirely.  Pay is about the same so who cares...

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"Plus, this method makes you look like a complete lunatic. If you care about that sort of thing".  - Dave Arnold

 

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"Plus, this method makes you look like a complete lunatic. If you care about that sort of thing".  - Dave Arnold

 

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post #15 of 18

As for genetics and health issues you must consult a physician. Most of the aliments that were above mention are a direct result of a lack of blood flow. Simple shit here guys. Push-ups, sit-ups, pull-ups and running. There's no better advertisement than a chef with a six-pack abs. If I eat his food maybe I'll look like him... something like that.

 

Ari

post #16 of 18

I keep a supply of Aleve on the line (our Pizza chef and I have carpel tunnel and plantar fasciitis... good times) at all times and a back up bottle in my car for work. Take one-two about an hour before your shift and/or when you first get there and it should help with a lot of the pain. There are also some really good carpel tunnel stretch instructional videos that can help immensely with preventing issues thoughout the day. I do mine first thing in the morning in the shower (the hot water really loosens up the muscles) and on the line for a few minutes during slow times if my wrists start acting up.

 

While I'm here, I saw someone suggest wearing braces under your coat... has anyone tried that? Im hesitant about doing it around open flame and having them melt to my arm or catch or something... and I worry how it'll affect my saute abilities. Do they make chef braces anywhere?

post #17 of 18

Kind of an old thread, but definitely an ongoing issue...

yep aleve is a staple, and I was just thinking recently that a back belt

under the chef coat might be a useful thing.....something I  havent tried yet.

post #18 of 18

Pilates came along way too late for me.

Had a lumbar fusion then a revision of that fusion (more disks involved) 6 years later.

If I had started some core exercises after the first, the second would have been unnecessary and definitely not be needing yet a THIRD fusion.

I do admit most of the wear and tear was caused by having 300 lb women (in labor) that just had to have an epidural.

Invariably, these cows would have a problem and there I am, in the middle of the nite, short staffed and having to get these lovely ladies repositioned, (to increase blood flow to that baby) and when that didn't work....crashing a labor bed (and the extra load) down a hall and around a corner to the OR.

Makes all day on my feet baking sound like heaven, lolol.

So.

Core exercises, no smoking or drugs.

Sorry ed, gotta drink.

But not to excess...ya gotta know when to stop.

 

mimi

 

* meeze...about that belt... IMO just gives you a false sense of security.

Believe me, I hate exercise as much as every one else, but (damn but, always interrupting lol) so wish I would have invested a bit of time every day just doing a few crunches.

Hindsight, right?

 

m.

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