Pain-free holiday cooking

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The holidays are fast approaching, and that means you’ll soon be heading into the kitchen to whip up your special homemade stuffing or bake cookies with the kids.

Although cooking with your family can create great memories, all those hours stirring and chopping can be tough on your muscles. You might develop neck and/or low back pain from standing for hours and shoulder pain from lifting heavy items. You might even develop tennis elbow from the repetitive stress of whisking, mixing and sautéing!

Here are some simple ways to protect yourself:

Choose the right work surface. It should be elbow height, meaning the level of your forearms when your elbows are bent at a right angle. This will help put your shoulders and upper back in a safe position.

Cushion the floor. Standing for long periods on a hard surface can lead to muscle fatigue and backache, so consider purchasing an inexpensive area rug with grippers on the back to prevent sliding or tripping.

Do gentle exercises while standing. A physical therapist can show you some simple neck and shoulder stretches, which can help keep the muscles in your neck and shoulders loose—and prevent injury.

Avoid bending over when taking items in and out of the oven. Instead, step forward with one foot and bend at the knee. That will allow your upper body to stay upright in a partial lunge.

If you want to learn more about how physical therapy and acupuncture can help with cooking-related discomfort, contact us here.

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