Reducing Pain and Effort in the Kitchen

EDSers are often frustrated with kitchen implements – they may be ineffective, difficult to use, or downright painful! Opening jars, bottles and cans are high on the list of complaints. Slicing, peeling, and cutting with knives is often painful. Lifting heavy pots, especially those with long handles, create torque on the wrist that makes it prone to dislocations.

To address kitchen challenges, here are some tips and product suggestions presented by an occupational therapist at the 2011 EDS conference.

Try these helpful hints to reduce EDS pain in the kitchen:

• Use spring loaded scissors to cut open bags or to cut food
• Use ‘zipper’ style baggies
• Buy reusable containers that are easy to open/close
• Buy food pre-chopped or use a spiked cutting board
• Use large well sharpened knives and the right knife for the job
• Use oven mitts to help you carry heavy pots/pans with 2 hands
• Use tongs to lift foods instead of forks
• Put groceries in paper bags for 2 hand carry, or in reusable bags for carrying over shoulder or pack light and carry over forearms
• Use plastic cups and plates
• Use electric whenever possible for opening cans or jars, mixing, blending, chopping
• Use built up kitchen tools
• Use paper towels to avoid having to wring; or press sponge with palm rather than squeezing
• Use an ‘L’ shaped knife or pizza cutting wheel
• Put dycem or wet dishrag under bowls when stirring
• Drag pots filled with liquid to sink or stove. Use extensible kitchen faucet to fill pots
• Use stainless steel colander in pots to avoid having to tip out liquid
• Buy lightweight pots/containers

List Source: Joint Protection of the Hands, 2011 EDNF Conference Presentation by Romina Astifidis MS, PT, CHT. Excerpt from Helpful Hints, page 5.

As a fellow EDSer, I have a few tips of my own. A good option for lightweight cookware is stainless steel pans. Revere Ware is my personal favorite. They are copper bottom with a stainless steel inside, which is fairly easy to clean when you coat the bottom with olive oil. Also they are aluminum-free and Teflon-free, which is healthier.

I have a lot of trouble with scissors. My favorite scissors are Black & Decker electric scissors. I like them because they do not require me to open and close my hand. They have a large grip and maneuver easily. They work well for both the kitchen and office – cutting both plastic and paper with ease. They even cut material! They are cordless and rechargeable.

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