Being a hairstylist is a fascinating job. Working in beauty salons and spas looks alluring. Well! With glamour comes pain too! Hair stylist shoulder pain, stiff joints, back pain, and knee issues become your everyday buddy!
A hairstylist is someone who is spending 70% of the day standing, using different hair appliances. The long-standing hours and use of their muscles and joints excessively are resulting in the development of shoulder pain.
Sure it feels great to get compliments from your customer about their shiny hair. But behind that I love my hair comes to a lot of pain too.
A physical therapy doctor Rachel Holt says,
Due to the nature of their work, hairdressers are at a high risk of developing pain in a few key areas.
But is the pain something we cannot keep in check or cannot do anything about? You can do something about it!! There are various ways in which we can manage the pain and joint problems hairstylists face.
To go into all the details, let us first see what is the cause of the hairstylist’s shoulder pain.
Reasons for Shoulder Pain
Working in a salon, you may have wondered about the pain you feel in your shoulders. Ignoring it, but then realizing, “Why am I having this constant pain?”
Tools & more Tools
You would probably lose count of the number of times you are using that hairdryer!
I can totally understand the pain of using hair straighteners, hairdressers, scissors, and whatnot fifty times a day. But what to do? These are your passion and your source of income too.
The long hour of usage of these tools puts weight on certain body parts. This in turn makes the joint stiff which turns to pain after prolonged exposure.
Repetitive Wrist and Arm Movement
If you are a hairstylist you would know how many repetitive hand movements you have to make in a day. From doing different hairstyles to hair massages, repeated hand movements have become your daily chores.
These repetitive hand movements raise problems known as hairdressing repetitive strain injury or HRSI. Carpal tunnel syndrome can also develop due to repetitive hand and wrist movements. How to fix this? Let’s read on.
Prolonged Standing Hours
Being a hairdresser probably means standing almost all through the day. It might be beneficial from a business point, but a big NO health-wise.
Long-standing hours can not only result in straining your leg muscles but also result in stiffening of your shoulder muscles. Swollen legs and ankles would be a regular occurrence in addition to what your shoulders are going through. The major concern from prolonged standing is the reduction in blood circulation to your upper extremities, which is where your shoulders start to hurt. You’re not getting enough blood to them!.
Well, it is true that your occupation is a difficult one, but some blame themselves.
Many hairstylists are not concerned about correcting their poses or maintaining them. I have seen hairstylists standing in awkward standing postures or sitting with crouched shoulders!
These habits and postures develop muscle pains in different areas and joints in the body.
Now that we have seen the reasons why hairstylists develop this shoulder pain, let us know if we can prevent them. Well, can we?
The answer will be a big YES!
Prevention of Hair Stylist Shoulder Pains
Now that we know why hairstylists get shoulder pain and other types of muscle stiffness, let us see how we can prevent such pain.
Maintain a Proper Time Schedule
To start with, you can begin with a regularized routine. A punctual routine will take you a long way because in your daily routine, your body will memorize what you need to do, and you can do it automatically.
I have seen many hairstylists treat their bodies like a machine, not respecting the workload they place on themselves.
Let us take two situations.
Your shift time starts from 10 am, and you reach the salon at 9: 57am. Now in this situation, you won’t get the time to prepare your body for the tiring day ahead.
But meanwhile, if you arrive at the salon at 9:40-9:45, you will get time to prepare your body for the day. You will probably rest for a while before starting to work on your clients.
Always remember, you have to give your body breaks to rest and maintain your core self. Getting to work early, or planning a simple 10-minute rest period before work can do wonders for your health and how you interact with your customers.
If you spend a few minutes of your day doing some effective exercise, your body will be fit.
There are a few simple exercises stated by the Sundial Clinics which if you perform, your muscles will not strain.
- Neck Flexion or Extension AROM
- Side bending of the neck from left to right
- Right Rotation AROM
- Cervical MWM Flexion
- Shoulder Circles
- Posterior Shoulder Stretch
- Anterior Shoulder Stretch
- Wrist Flexor Stretch
- Circulation of Wrist Exercise
- Prayer Stretch
These exercises do not take much time but are effective in maintaining good blood circulation, which helps your body flow. They also help to keep your muscles relaxed in between your hectic schedule. And the best part is that they hardly take 2-3 minutes to do one set. You can incorporate these exercises multiple times into your daily schedule.
It is a myth that you have to wear high heels always when working in the beauty industry. Yes, your attire is an important part of your job. But you can wear comfortable shoes and still rock your entire look.
I have seen hairstylists standing in uncomfortable shoes. Apart from just being uncomfortable, they are not good for your body. They will give rise to muscle sprains and other problems.
There is nothing wrong with standing there in a comfortable set of Adidas! You will rock in that too!
A very effective way of controlling your shoulder pain is to maintain a good posture throughout your working hours. Standing and even sitting uncomfortably for a long period will result in muscle and joint pain. To maintain a good posture throughout the day, you can follow the following postures for you and your client:
- While washing your client’s head try to keep your client’s head at the same level as your chest. This will ensure less pain.
- During working hours, try to avoid standing on one foot. This is not good for your leg’s muscle. The correct standing position is to put one foot ahead of the other. Also, squat, from time to time. Flex those knees.
- Always maintain hand positions in such a way that your wrist is in a straight position. This is similar to how a typist or pianist relaxes their wrists and lets gravity work its magic while they barely move.
Take Small Breaks
Work is important but taking breaks in between work especially for people working in the beauty industry is very important.
Well, I am not saying to take a break when your client is waiting! NO that wouldn’t give a good reputation.
But during off-hours or less crowded times, you can take small breaks round-wise. Stretch your arms and legs in that break to maintain good blood circulation and relax your muscles.
Though adopting a procedural habit as we’ve described is not possible in a day or two, you make others look beautiful. But meanwhile, you have to look for yourself too.
The above tips will not show results from day one, but if you start incorporating them slowly, they surely will. These are preventive measures you can take to not get into severe pain.
But if you feel severe muscle or joint pain, it is always better to seek medical help.