young cook could use some quick pointers

Joined Jan 17, 2011
ive worked as a cook in the past but just recently moved upstate and couldnt find work for bout 6 i sat on my ass the whole time. now im working and loving being back in the kitchen, but my bodys not used to standing up LOL im having back pain from the middle of my back down to my "tail bone" its a throbbing/pulsing feeling, not very pleasant. also my feet are killing me. i have crocs ( and dr. scholls lower back pain relief insoles in but its not helping. i have the next 3 days off and would love a remady ! 
Joined Oct 7, 2008
to have had the very same issue and first off not to sure about the crocs.   what ive had the best luck with is walking about 2 miles a day.   i started to notice this helping while walking my dog.   sounds like you may be under some pressure and also just getting back to it you will have to redevelope certain muscles.   move around more and also if you dont have mats to stand on throw a cardboard box down and stand on it.   sounds weird but it will be more comfortable.   the best shoes ive ever worn in the kitchen are my nunnbush wingtips.   godluck.
Joined Oct 10, 2005
If it gets worse, see a podiatrist or a chiropractor.

All the above advice is great, and exercise is probably the best thing, but... if the floor is solid cement and your shoes are loose or not cushioning your feet, you will have back and foot pain.

As everyone's feet (and bodies) are different, I can not/will not recommend a certain type of shoe.  Well fitting with enough cushioning is important, as is no lateral flexing.  You can test shoes very easily for lateral flexing:  Grip the shoe in one hand at about the sole and with the other hand grasp the heel.  If you can twist  the shoe more than an 1/8", it's not going to give you the support you need.

Hope this helps
Joined Jul 5, 2010
I still have intermittent problems with my back, feet, and shoulders from long hours.  Some of the things I find that help my body recover the most are:

1. Heat.  If you have access to a jaccuzi, use it!  Soak until you feel like you will melt.  Some people swear by epsom salt in addition, but it never seemed to make any difference for me.  It might be worth a try for you nevertheless.  If you dislike the idea of a bath, a heating pad or hot water bottle can help, but a long bath works best for me.

2. Pills.  I dislike pills in general, and so I reserve them as a last resort, but sometimes being sore can create additional problems beyond just the annoyance.  If I'm extremely sore, I'll take a pain reliever/anti-inflamatory or two before the bath.  The name of the game is letting your body relax as quickly as possible so the built up tension doesn't cause any additional problems.  I can't sleep well if I'm very sore, either, so if it's bad enough for me to need a pill or two, they will help in allowing me a decent night of sleep as well.

3. Stretch.  Works best after the heat treatment.  Don't bounce, and don't push your body until it really hurts, just gently stretch (if it's already quite sore, yes, it will hurt a bit, but it will feel MUCH better afterward)  the parts that are sore for prolonged periods to help keep knots from forming in your muscles. 

4. Regular exercise.  Like cypressrider, I found that walking or jogging regularly helps a lot, but that bored the piss out of me, so I took to hiking.  I have some friends who I hike with, and I can at least take some pictures and spend some time in the relative wilderness if going solo.  Exercising in a way that you enjoy more makes it less of a chore and easier to keep doing.
Joined Jan 3, 2011
 After 32 years cooking in various kitchens, I swear by my Brooks Addiction walkers.  They have a firm heel which keeps your feet aligned with the rest of you, and I also use superfeet insoles.  They are not soft, but they position your feet in a way that greatly reduces foot and leg pain after  being on your feet for extended periods of time.  And a good hot soak helps too.
Joined Jan 17, 2011
wow MUCH thanks to all of you. i think ill start exercising and using heat regularly and if need be ill invest in the shoes and insoles you suggested skagitchef. thanks again guys !  
Joined Nov 23, 2010
I get some lower-back pain from time to time, too.  One thing I've become aware of is how I stand, when I'm standing in one spot doing a task for a long period of time.  Sometimes I notice that I'll lean on one leg, like slouch to the side...and after a half hour of not shifting, I go to move and I'm kinda locked in to that stance.  So "proper posture at the prep table" has become important to me, and I think that helps my back.
Joined Jan 17, 2011
jazz cook ive noticed i do that too i have great posture but i do keep my weight shifted, ill keep an eye on it. thanks. 
Joined Aug 21, 2004
Keep a short section of 2x4 loose under your prep table at work. Occasionally scoot it out and prop your right foot on it for a while. Then your left foot for a while. Then push it back under the table for a while. The changes in position while still encouraging good weight distribution and posture will help alleviate lower back pain.
Joined Feb 1, 2007
One thing that has always left me puzzled: Recreational backpackers will take, literally, hours finding the right boot. But professionals on their feet all day seem to think if their work shoes fit like regular shoes, they'll do just fine.

One trick you should be using. Assuming the shoe/boot, whatever fits in all the normal directions (which means the sides and heel counters, as well as the length), get up on the try bench, using the part that slopes. Stand with your toes downwards, and rock back and forth. There should be no forward movement. Repeat standing backwards. Then, and this is the part folks seem to leave out, stand sideways on the slope to assure proper support. Do that from both directions.

In addition to rocking, stand up on your toes. Nothing highlights lack of support and ill-fitting footwear as much as that.

Well-fitting footwear, that provides the necessary support to arches, goes a long way towards alleviating back problems. Which is one reason I've never understood the fascination with Crocs and similar footweat, which provide no real support.

Something else to consider is a neoprene back-brace. These are normally used by folks who have to do a lot of lifting. But you'll be surprised how much support and comfort they provide for workers who just have to stand on hard surfaces a lot.
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