Food Truck Operators and Back Pain
Many food truck operators joke about where to position their truck on a regular basis, I have heard some say, “Park them within walking distance of an emergency room.” You will get the normal cuts, stitches, and burns however the risks of being a mobile chef include a lot more than sharp knives and fire. Running a food truck is a super-physical job.
It involves going up and down stairs carrying things, loading boxes onto dollies, unloading cases of heavy food items, lots of bending and lifting. It’s not uncommon for food truck staff members to slip and fall while carrying heavy bags or large cans into the truck or kitchen cooler and freezers.
Add to that long periods of standing and countertops that are too low or high to be ergonomically correct, and the result is frequent lower back pain, achy knees and feet that always hurt. For those who love to prepare food, the show must go on, here are a few suggestions to help prevent or alleviate pain in your food truck:
- Good shoes are a must
- Strengthen your abs and back (core) so you can hold yourself up comfortably
- Massage, whirlpool, and hot tub soaks for aching muscles
- Back braces, such as those worn by movers and others who load heavy goods, can be helpful
- Support inserts in shoes can also help
Physical fitness is essential to being a healthy and productive chef. Life in a food truck is hard going, so it’s hugely important to keep yourself in shape. While it may be tough to work out regularly, it can be a big help in the truck, physically and mentally.
- Invest in a good, anti-fatigue mat to stand on in the truck and back at your commercial kitchen
- Counters should be at the right height, so you’re not bending over or reaching up excessively
- Be aware of proper posture; don’t hunch your neck, back, or shoulders
- Occasionally rest one foot on a low stool or shelf to give your back a break
- Change tasks frequently to avoid repetitive stress