Restaurant Work Shoulder and Hand Injuries
Restaurant work takes a toll on the body with the repetitive moving, bending, twisting, reaching, prepping, cutting, serving, and washing. This is especially true of the shoulders, arms, and hands. When individuals avoid treating their aches and pains, this can lead to chronic pain conditions that can cause severe and permanent damage to the musculoskeletal system. Chiropractic can alleviate the tingling and pain by removing the compression, re-stretching/lengthening, and strengthening the muscles and nerves to perform at optimal levels.
The arms and hands are designed to accomplish various tasks. When functioning normally, tasks can be performed flawlessly. Repetitive/Overuse or trauma can cause nerve compression, stiffness, and pain, decreasing function and affecting daily routines.
- Carpal tunnel syndrome is one of the most common disorders that affect the arm and hands.
- The carpal tunnel is a space where a nerve and several tendons pass. If the nerve becomes compressed, it can cause numbness, tingling in the fingers, pain, and muscle weakness, making it difficult to grip objects.
- Discomfort and pain start gradually in one or both hands.
- It can cause tightness and pain in the shoulder, forearm, wrist, and hand.
- It can also cause numbness in the palm and fingers.
- It can cause swelling and burning sensations.
- Individuals often shake out the numbness and tingling sensations throughout the day or night.
- Tendonitis can present with carpal tunnel symptoms except for the gradual starting pain.
- Tendonitis comes from Overuse and repetitive motions.
- The pain will be tender directly on the affected area.
- To help prevent and avoid, ask about exercises that stretch the affected tendons.
- Ask a doctor or chiropractor which exercises and stretches are the safest for the specific condition.
- Depending on the severity of the condition, individuals may need corticosteroid injections, physical therapy, or surgery.
Injury Prevention Tips Restaurant Work
- Learn to stop trying to carry everything in one trip.
- Ask for help/support staff to servers who deliver large orders and for clearing.
- Recommend changes if body posture increases injury risk.
- Heavy trays and plates should be balanced on the palm for better weight distribution.
- Healthy rotation ensures that one worker does not always have the chopping and cutting duties for hours.
- Take frequent breaks from tasks that require repetitive motions.
- Find various stretches and exercises to build strength and flexibility in the arms, wrists, and hands.
- Avoid scheduling multiple consecutive long shifts for jobs that require repetitive hand motions.
Sticking To A Meal Plan
Identify personal motivation to stick to a meal plan other than improving body composition. To keep motivation high, individuals need to identify other reasons behind goals. This could be:
- Saving money from the food budget.
- Spending time with loved ones preparing a healthy recipe.
- Setting an example to family and friends.
- It can be whatever motivates you.
- Reassess and tweak the meal plan as needed.
- Nutritional needs or dietary preferences change.
- Meal planning should be a dynamic process.
- Don’t get disappointed if not going as planned.
- Refocus by making changes as needed.
Gentzler, Marc D, and Janan A Smither. “Using practical ergonomic evaluations in the restaurant industry to enhance safety and comfort: a case study.” Work (Reading, Mass.) vol. 41 Suppl 1 (2012): 5529-31. doi:10.3233/WOR-2012-0872-5529
LaperriÃ¨re, Ãˆve et al. “Work activity in foodservice: The significance of customer relations, tipping practices and gender for preventing musculoskeletal disorders.” Applied ergonomics vol. 58 (2017): 89-101. doi:10.1016/j.apergo.2016.05.013
Masear, V R et al. “An industrial cause of carpal tunnel syndrome.” The Journal of hand surgery vol. 11,2 (1986): 222-7. doi:10.1016/s0363-5023(86)80055-7
Szabo, R M. “Carpal tunnel syndrome as a repetitive motion disorder.” Clinical Orthopedics and related research,351 (1998): 78-89.
The information herein on "Restaurant Work Shoulder and Hand Injuries" is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional, or licensed physician, and is not medical advice. We encourage you to make your own healthcare decisions based on your research and partnership with a qualified healthcare professional.
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