There’s nothing like spending a beautiful summer day with friends and family in Dallas, Texas. Enjoying the sunshine, chowing on delicious food, and partaking in yard games create memories that are cherished forever. Simple pleasures like these, however, can also induce particular challenges if you struggle with chronic back pain, especially if you’re prepping food over the grill. 

Cooking requires a lot of core strength and flexibility. For example, you might be bending over to pick things up or twisting to grab some seasoning for the burgers. Sometimes cooking for many people involves hours over the grill, which places uncomfortable pressure on the neck and back. And lifting relatively heavy things, like a cast dutch oven, adds strain to the mix (and don’t forget the dangers of braising!) 

We’ve cooked up a list of better ergonomics and organizational suggestions for sampling to help you avoid back pain while grilling out. 

Be Prepared!

Reduce the time spent on your feet by eliminating any unnecessary trips back to the kitchen. Make a list of all the ingredients and tools you will need ahead of time, then bring them out all at once. Recruit a few family members if the ingredient list is incredibly long. 

Glaze & Gaze with Proper Posture

Poor posture plays a significant role in the development of back pain. Slow an oncoming ache by keeping your shoulders back and spine straight. Avoid extensive upper back and neck pain by gazing and glazing the meat with an upright posture of the head. 

Certified Anti-Fatigue Mats are Worth it! 

When grilling, your body constantly shifts weight and position, creating force upon the lower back, calves, and feet. Investing in an anti-fatigue mat will create a more comfortable feeling, lengthening the time you can stand by absorbing said pressure. 

Wear Supportive Shoes

Being on your feet so long puts your back and lower extremities under a lot of stress. So wearing comfortable shoes will help you avoid developing achy arches, joint pain, and other uncomfortable problems. 

Bonus: Adequately covering the entire foot will reduce a chef’s risk of various kitchen-related injuries, like hot spills and falling knives! 

Sit & Prep

Beat chronic back pain by taking a seat to prep and going at your own pace. Then, when it is time to go to the grill, you will feel fresh and ready to impress the guests. Avoid the Dallas heat by prepping indoors! 

Stand Near the Counter Top 

Hunching over to read recipes, measure ingredients, and utilizing tools doesn’t help the issue at hand. Attempt standing closer to the countertop to promote good posture while prepping! 

Take 5 

If your guests are demanding a 5-course meal, you deserve a 5-minute break (especially if you’re the only grill master around!) However, even if you’re not serving up a fancy feast, allow yourself to take a rest when needed. Encourage impatient guests to mill around; good food takes time! 

Do You Even “Sift” Bro? Strengthen Core! 

Holding up the upper body, especially when you’re flipping burgers, takes strong muscles strength from the core. And the stronger it is, the less pressure you place upon the shoulders, back, and spine. So challenge yourself to spend 5-10 minutes a day working your core muscles by doing the crunches or “v-ups.” 

Safety first! Lift with legs, not your back! 

When lifting heavy objects, like a stand mixer or relocating the grill, be sure to keep your head up and bend with the knees and lift with your legs to avoid back injury and pain. It’s not a bad idea to ask a guest for help as well. 

Whether it’s a Sunday Funday BBQ Bash or casual cookout on the week, be sure to implement these tips while spending time at the grill. We want you to enjoy pleasant, pain-free cookouts for many summers to come. 

However, if you continue to suffer from back pain every day, please know that you are not alone! Back pain is the number one reason people seek treatment for a professional ACGME certified pain management specialist. 

At PPIP, we understand your back pain may be affecting your entire life. Call us at (214) 441-7322 to schedule a consultation. Understand that it is critical to be correctly diagnosed and have an individualized back pain treatment developed to feel better! 

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