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Caking and Your Health

post #1 of 50
Thread Starter 
This is not a topic I've seen discussed here so...

The other day I was working on a cake on a low surface and had to bend forward and real low to work. My back was protesting and I thought to myself, "I'm breaking all the rules of good posture, straining my back, center of gravity all out of whack." This is not how to cake long-term.

I finally grabbed a chair so that I could sit up straight, and work with the cake at close to eye level.

I've read of cakers who have developed back problems from lifting heavy cakes, and arthritis from flower-making.

What tips have you learned to deal with the occupational hazards of cake decorating?
post #2 of 50
Decrease my orders to just a few per week. icon_smile.gif
post #3 of 50
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by DeniseNH

Decrease my orders to just a few per week. icon_smile.gif


I'm glad you brought that up DeniseNH, psychological wellness and decreasing stress is definitely part of healthy caking.
post #4 of 50
If I do have to stand for a long time, good supportive shoes and a nice gel matt to stand on!
post #5 of 50
If you stand in the same workspace for long, it helps to relieve back stress if you can prop one foot up on something a little higher (like an upside-down bucket or the shelf below a stainless steel table).

If you suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome, it helps to wear tight elastic wristbands on both wrists while piping roses. You need two because while one hand squeezes the pastry bag, the other hand is holding and twisting the rose nail or stick which can cause more damage to that hand than to your piping/decorating hand.
HOW TO:
Make tip #127D (giant rose tip) Ruffle cake,
Write with icing,
Make buttercream roses on a stick:
http://s984.photobucket.com/albums/ae322/Unlimited1cakes/
Reply
HOW TO:
Make tip #127D (giant rose tip) Ruffle cake,
Write with icing,
Make buttercream roses on a stick:
http://s984.photobucket.com/albums/ae322/Unlimited1cakes/
Reply
post #6 of 50
Look at any industrial supply catalog or website. They have things line mini hydraulic lifters that work by pumping up the pressure manually. These work great to lift cakes gently.

Whether youa re working at home or in a bakery, you need to have the cake on the proper level or it will not be decorated evenly. Sorry, there's no way around the ergonomic requirement.

For long time standing, there are special mats that work very well and are worth the $$$. You can also use workboot insoles but the mats are much better.

Counter has to be the right height or your back will be in pain after 30 minutes. VERY important for all cooking.
post #7 of 50
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by BakingIrene

Look at any industrial supply catalog or website. They have things line mini hydraulic lifters that work by pumping up the pressure manually. These work great to lift cakes gently.

Whether youa re working at home or in a bakery, you need to have the cake on the proper level or it will not be decorated evenly. Sorry, there's no way around the ergonomic requirement.

For long time standing, there are special mats that work very well and are worth the $$$. You can also use workboot insoles but the mats are much better.

Counter has to be the right height or your back will be in pain after 30 minutes. VERY important for all cooking.



Thanks for all the tips everyone.

@ the bolded: I learned this the hard way. So about how high relative to a person's body does the counter have to be? I'm trying to figure if I need to invest in a taller turntable. With my lazy susan on the counter, the top of the lazy susan falls about the level of my navel so I find I still need to lean forward especially when applying BC or ganache.
post #8 of 50
<body is trashed. I work in a communal kitchen so I have zero control over the equipment, tables, sinks, etc. I wish.

I have major back problems. A slipped disk below and a few bulging disks above a healed fracture that causes sciatica in both legs. I have been in therapy for over a year which has really helped me to keep proper posture when working, core stability along with how I should be standing and how to properly lift stuff. I'm also taking orthopedic pilates.

There is no way to be ergonomical doing what we do, but as long as you are aware of what you *should* be doing and doing exercises to keep things moving and strong, theoretically things should be good. At least they tell me.

Me? I wear ugly-@ss super support sneakers fitted by a foot doctor and I wear grandma compression socks. I also wear a sports bra (very important!). I have a foam pad I kneel on, a chair to sit on, and my phone alarm set to beep every hour to remind me to stretch, especially roll my shoulders and stretch my neck.

And a rX for percocet. icon_biggrin.gif

In case you are wondering, childbirth was not kind to me.
post #9 of 50
Thread Starter 
FromScratchSF you're definitely a superwoman. Thank you for sharing your tips. I keep seeing comfortable footwear and mats in these responses. I'm going to invest in some caking shoes. After reading your post I got up and did some stretches. I'd been sitting at the computer for almost 2 hours icon_redface.gif
post #10 of 50
Naw, just stubborn. I mean, what else am I going to do, sit on my butt and watch Divorce Court all day? icon_biggrin.gif

I also do not work full time. I wish I could but I don't think my body can handle it so I'm not quite "super" yet.

Anyway stretching is SO important, especially those parts that you aren't using!
post #11 of 50
And.. what about rolling out fondant. A few months back I went to the dr complaining of pain thinking I had one problem. He diagnosed arthritis in my back and put me on a pain killer treatment. In short I realized later that the pain was due to rolling out large pieces of fondant and putting all my weight from my back.

Could it be my table is too low? Not getting enough stretching ?? I've also wondered what I can do. My budget doesn't warrent another person just yet and I can't afford to cute back on work.
Virginia 323.253.8213
www.urbanainez.com
He is the man of my dreams, my prince; He gives me the desires of my heart, He completes me. His name is Jesus
Reply
Virginia 323.253.8213
www.urbanainez.com
He is the man of my dreams, my prince; He gives me the desires of my heart, He completes me. His name is Jesus
Reply
post #12 of 50
Thread Starter 
I've always thought that rolling fondant on a low surface helps since gravity and your weight do much of the pressing down.

My issue with fondant is my wrists. I get a sharp pain every now and then and have to remind myself to use my weight not my wrist muscles to manipulate the fondant when I knead.
post #13 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by vgcea

I've always thought that rolling fondant on a low surface helps since gravity and your weight do much of the pressing down.

My issue with fondant is my wrists. I get a sharp pain every now and then and have to remind myself to use my weight not my wrist muscles to manipulate the fondant when I knead.



That's how I am as well, when I was pregnant with my first son I was diagnosed with carpol tunnel (spelling?) So when I'm not caking I wear a wrist brace on both wrists 24/7. My doctor actually suggested against me doing cakes because it may get worse...I'm just too stubborn to listen icon_rolleyes.gif
post #14 of 50
heyyy! FromScratchSF... the sports bra tip is genius! I never would have thought of that, but being very well endowed I often get back pain from leaning over (even just slightly) to work on a cake... the girls are heavy!

One week last month, I had been working on cake after cake. Kneading pounds and pounds of fondant... I was finally working on my daughters cake and I got a charlie-horse like cramp in my forearm. It hurt so bad it was literally a blinding pain! So definitely going to have to remember to take a break every now an then!

Also, I easily get really involved and time gets away from me. I keep a bottle of water with me to keep hydrated and because I'll often work without realizing I should stop to eat, I've started keeping OJ with me to sip on and prevent my blood sugar from dropping (that was my husbands suggestion actually).
post #15 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by FromScratchSF



Me? I wear ugly-@ss super support sneakers fitted by a foot doctor and I wear grandma compression socks. I also wear a sports bra (very important!). I have a foam pad I kneel on, a chair to sit on, and my phone alarm set to beep every hour to remind me to stretch, especially roll my shoulders and stretch my neck.

And a rX for percocet. icon_biggrin.gif

In case you are wondering, childbirth was not kind to me.



Sounds like you're bringing 'sexy' back!
I too wear ugly-ass shoes, ankle supports, my hair pulled back (trust me, this is not attractive on me) and no makeup. And since I'm usually up until 3 in the morning on cake days my eyes are nice and puffy.

If I am ever on life support, unplug me...

Then plug me back in.  See if that works!

Reply

If I am ever on life support, unplug me...

Then plug me back in.  See if that works!

Reply
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