Working in a salon and styling hair might sound like a fascinating job, and it is, but a hairstyling career comes with its own demerits. Standing for long hours with repetitive hand movements can cause hand and shoulder pains. How common are these hair stylist hand problems?
It is a common occupational hazard for hairstylists. The long-standing hours, handling heavy hairdressing tools, and repetitive movements slowly lead to different physical ailments.
“Due to the nature of their work, hairdressers are at a high risk of developing pain in a few key areas.”
Rachel Holt, Doctor of Physical Therapy
But are there ways of preventing these ailments? Let us read along to know everything about hairstylist hand pains.
Why Hairstylists Get Hand Pain
Hairstylist and hand pain are almost interchangeable terms. Being a hairstylist is a fancy job. Working in your dream salon and being able to express your creativity while making your clients smile is not something that everyone can achieve.
But with such a fancy job comes some physical ailments, too. Some physical problems, like carpal tunnel syndrome, repetitive strain injury, and trapped nerves are common. According to the National Institutes of Health, the hairstyling industry suffers five times more cases of carpal tunnel syndrome than the rest of the population.
The main reason for developing this kind of pain is from carrying heavy hairdressing tools. Along with that, the same repetitive wrist and hand movements for hair cutting and other continuous movements put pressure on your arm, causing the pain and pressure to run throughout your arm.
You may not know in the beginning, but you might have these symptoms:
- Finger pain.
- Weakness of your hand.
- Tingling feelings.
- Hand ache.
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms for a prolonged time, it is time to visit a doctor.
What are the different types of hand-related problems hairstylists mostly suffer from? Let us take a quick glance through them.
What Are the Different Types of Hand Pain
Many physical disorders affecting the hands may affect hairstylists at some time during their careers. We have covered the most commonly known problems in our list.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS)
The most common physical ailment faced by hairstylists. This occurs when the median nerve starting from your forearm starts experiencing compression in the wrist area. The median nerve is surrounded by a carpal tunnel. The carpal tunnel comprises bones, ligaments, and tendons.
This nerve is responsible for managing the sensation in your fingers on the palm side. As a result of the constant stress in these areas, the development of CTS is becoming more common for hairstylists.
Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI)
Repetitive strain injury refers to a wide array of problems. Doing repeated activities, such as constant mechanical action or forceful work, is the major cause of RSI.
The most common of RSI are:
- Throbbing sensation in certain areas.
- Loss of sensation.
- Losing strength.
- Tingling feeling.
If you are suffering from these symptoms, visit a doctor and get your physical examination with a proper check-up.
Another common physical problem most hairstylists suffer is tendonitis. It is the inflammation of a tendon. Tendons are thick cords that help your bones to join with the muscle. The result of tendonitis is caused by acute pain and tenderness in a certain area.
The most common reason for tendonitis is repetitive motion of hands and wrist.
Tendonitis is characterized by a variety of symptoms:
- Pain with dull ache surrounding the affected area.
Tendonitis often can be taken care of with proper self-care measures, but if you continue to have the symptoms for a prolonged time, you must visit your nearest doctor to take the proper measures.
Apart from these physical problems, people working in the beauty industry suffer from other problems, too. Continuous back pain, tired arms, postural fatigue are some other commonly encountered physical problems.
Now that we know what the different problems are, we should also know how to prevent them. Not all problems require medical attention from the first day. Some can be taken care of with proper self-care and preventive measures.
Ways to Cure/ Prevent Your Hand Pain
There are several simple preventative steps that you can take right from the start of your work in the beauty business to assist you in avoiding certain physical ailments.
- One of the most important and initial preventive measures to protect your hands is to invest in ergonomically friendly tools. The right size and right weighted tools are very important for you. As a hairstylist, you will be using different hairstyling tools every day.
The right size scissors are a must for every hairstylist. The latest technology for an ergonomic tool is a forward set, crane handle shear. These cutting-edge tools are designed and shaped to reduce stress on any one part of your hand.
- Being a hairstylist, you should always take care of your posture. Along with you, ask your client to sit in the correct position. Try to keep your client’s head level and in line with your heart. This will help you to maintain a uniform position and prevent many posture-related problems.
- Taking small breaks might sound like a luxury on a busy day for a hairstylist, but you must take small breaks. Stretch your wrist and elbow often to help release the pressure built up in different positions.
To help you, start with the following exercises and stretches:
- Extend your arm to your shoulder’s height and stretch your fingers in upwards and downwards directions.
- Stretch one arm, pull your fingers towards your body, and hold the position for 30-60 seconds. Try again with the other arm with a 30-second gap in between.
- Stretch both your arms and rotate your wrist clockwise and anticlockwise.
Being a hairstylist can take a toll on your physical health. You must know how to take care of your health. Along with mental health, taking care of your physical health is also very important. The life of a hairstylist, cosmetologist, or esthetician comes with many hardships.
To start your career in cosmetology, you should start preparing from a young age. Qualifying for the cosmetology state exam of your native state will be your stepping stone. To start for your state board exam, try our free cosmetology practice test and ace your exam.