Customizing counter & sink to minimize back problems?


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Customizing counter & sink to minimize back problems?

vjb | | May 14, 2011 06:43 AM

I have back problems. Spending time leaning over the sink to wash and rinse dishes, scrub, peel or rinse foods, etc., often leads to my spending time afterward lying on the floor to relax and stretch my spasming back muscles. We're beginning the renovation process for our kitchen, and I want the sink and the countertops on either side of it to be higher than the usual 36".

I want them to be at least 4 inches higher than usual (I'm 5'5"). 6 inches might be possible, too, but I worry that adding too much height might cause new problems. For example, 42" counters and sink might avoid back problems but end up causing shoulder problems.

So I have some questions for the chowhounders with back problems:

1. Do any of you have any experience with changing the height of their counters or sink? Or have any of you ever moved into a place in which the counters or sink are at a different height than the usual 36"? What are your observations of the effects on you? What have been the advantages and disadvantages? (leaving aside all references to resale issues)

2. If you are shorter than average, have you had problems working a long time at counters and sinks that feel too high?

3. Have you chosen a particular kind of sink to help you deal with back problems? An apron sink would _seem_ to be a potential solution if it brings the sink and sink edge closer to me (so I do not have to lean forward as much), but the bowls of most of the apron sinks I see advertised, even though the front is further forward than the counter edge, are just as far from the edge as with ordinary sinks, so what is the benefit?

Has anyone found a type of sink that helps them minimize back pain?

4. What changes or additions have you made to your kitchens and their equipment to allow you to work without causing pain or spasm or leaving you unable to stand up straight for a while afterward?

5. Have you made any changes to adapt your kitchen to your back problems but that you regretted afterward?

I look forward to reading the responses.

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