Restaurant workers operate in a workplace where accidents and occupational hazards are commonplace. The many movements and increased strain on the arms can cause significant muscle pain. What precautions should these workers take to avoid the worst?
Standing for long hours and handling heavy plates, restaurant servers are prone to suffer from various musculoskeletal problems. “We are seeing more frequent tendonitis of the shoulders and lower back pain of various kinds,” explains Isabelle Rodier, physiotherapist at the Physio Élite clinic. “We sometimes encounter tendinitis of the elbows or wrist pains as well. The type of injury depends on the type of service (heavy plate, multiple dishes, tables to be prepared, etc.).”
Although these injuries are not significant in all cases, there is still a need to prevent and treat them, or they will get worse. “Certainly, delaying to treat an injury can lead to degeneration in the long term,” says the physiotherapist.
Prevention to avoid injuries and musculoskeletal Disorders
To prevent the onset of muscle pain, some measures can be taken by workers working as servers. A neutral and straight posture avoids bending the shoulders with effort, while bending the legs rather than bending the back allows heavy loads (dishes) to be lifted more safely. “High heels are not recommended, both to avoid lower back pain and to reduce the chances of developing foot problems,” adds Isabelle Rodier. “Soft shoes with a good grip on the ground will also reduce the risk of falling.”
To avoid bothersome pain, the physiotherapist recommends some general exercises as a preventive measure. In the case of a more significant injury, exercises that will contribute to treatment will be prescribed after a complete assessment with a professional. “For example, to avoid shoulder injuries, you can press the palm of the hand upwards, placed under a counter. Then tilt backwards and pull the shoulder blades in to hold it back, on the chest, without exaggeration. Then press the hand under the counter, pushing upwards without losing the starting position of the shoulder blade.”