Between relentless sexual harassment, having to share tips with supervisors, and dealing with crotchety New Yorkers, baristas have it hard enough as it is. The city won't even legally allow them to have a kitten around their stores! But there's yet another hardship baristas have been enduring: repetitive stress injuries from slinging coffee.
The Post brings us the story of Samantha Lino, a 23-year-old former Starbucks barista who quit after her stress injury got bad enough that she was forced to start wearing an arm brace. Lino first felt a pain in her elbow last June, and soon learned from her doctor that she had "medical epicondylitis," a.k.a. golfer's elbow. Lino ultimately quit her job when the pain wouldn't go away.
"I’ve seen all kinds of barista injuries," Phaeleau Cunneen, a certified hand specialist at SPEAR Physical Therapy in Manhattan, told the Post. "It’s very common, and usually chronic." Barista wrist, as it's called, has led some owners to re-design their stores to be ergonomically safe or retrain their workers to take the physical pressure off their vulnerable joints, according to a report from Food Republic.
Alex Bernson, a barista advocate who writes for the site Sprudge, did a survey of 475 city baristas last year, and found that 47% of them suffered repetitive stress injuries they attributed to their jobs; 20% had heart palpitations or chest pains; and 62% thought their job/intake of coffee had caused emotional problems and depression.
While physical therapy, meds, and surgery might be the only options to help with stress injuries, we think more cats would probably help with the depression.