Healthy grilling tips: Back pain prevention

With summer approaching, who isn’t ready for the sights, sounds and tantalizing tastes from backyard BBQs and cookouts in the park?

For those tending the grill, however, dealing with lower back pain can put a damper on the summer festivities. With approximately 80 percent of the population prone to suffer a bout of back pain, novice grillers and grill masters alike should look at these tips for back pain prevention before heading to the next cookout.

Are you prepped? Do you have your menu already planned out? There may be ingredients you can prepare ahead of spending time at the grill. Early prep items include chopping, paring and peeling onions, peppers and other veggies while seated, lessening the impact of too much time on your feet while cooking. Also, be sure to have all your ingredients, including seasonings, veggies and meats, near the grill for convenience.

Grab a seat while grilling: A common culprit of back pain while cooking is standing on your feet for prolonged periods. To help reduce any unnecessary pressure on your back, be sure to grab a comfortable chair that can be used while you tend to the grill. When seated, remember to use proper posture as well. Keep your back straight, with your head back and ears aligned with your shoulders. Try to choose a chair that doesn’t have a slant or dip in the seat so that you don’t overarch your back.

Be sure to take breaks: If you’re going to be cooking for more than an hour, schedule 10-minute breaks for yourself for a good stretch. Stretching is a great way to help loosen those back muscles and release tension, as well as improve circulation and flexibility throughout your body.

Wear comfortable shoes: While at the grill, make sure you wear sensible shoes that offer arch support, keeping your body balanced and your spine aligned, thus helping reduce the potential for back pain.

Potential Vitamins and Supplements for Back Pain

Natural supplements and vitamins that may also ease or reduce back pain include:

Ginger: Among its many benefits (including digestive aid and immunity booster), the herb ginger works as an anti-inflammatory for tiring and aching muscles. Some studies have shown that ginger, with its anti-inflammatory compounds known as gingerols, is just as effective as ibuprofen. Ginger can be taken in tea, as well as added while cooking.

Capsaicin: commonly found in hot peppers, capsaicin can also be found in topical creams. It’s thought to relieve pain by releasing feel-good endorphins while binding to pain receptors.

Vitamins:  Vitamins known for their anti-inflammatory benefits include vitamins A, B6, D, E and K.

  • Vitamin A: this antioxidant is commonly found in dairy sources, including whole milk, as well as liver and carrots.
  • Vitamin B6: as a water-soluble vitamin, this proven inflammatory fighter is found in sources such as beef, turkey, vegetables and fish.
  • Vitamin C: this antioxidant is commonly found in oranges and other citrus sources.
  • Vitamin D: also known as the sunshine vitamin, sources include fish, liver, egg yolks and beef, as well as natural sunlight.
  • Vitamin E: also an antioxidant, this vitamin can be found in nuts, seeds and green leafy vegetables.
  • Vitamin K:  also found in dark green leafy vegetables.

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