Hairdressers, Listen Up! Here’s How to Keep Back, Neck, and Shoulder Pain at Bay

Hairdressers at work

The most common problem for hairdressers is back pain closely followed by neck and shoulder related problems. If you’re a hairdresser suffering from back, neck, or shoulder pain then this article is for you.

As a hairstylist, it’s no secret that you spend hours on your feet, constantly moving and bending to ensure your customers leave with the perfect hairstyle.

However, this repetitive motion can often take a toll on your body, leading to pain and discomfort.

In this article, we will share valuable tips and techniques to keep back, neck, and shoulder pain at bay, allowing you to focus on your craft without the nagging aches.

Let’s dive in and discover the secrets to a pain-free career in the salon.

Hairdressers, Listen Up! Here’s How to Keep Back, Neck, and Shoulder Pain at Bay

Understanding the Causes of Back, Neck, and Shoulder Pain for Hairdressers

To effectively prevent and manage back, neck, and shoulder pain, it’s important to understand what causes it in the first place.

The repetitive nature of your work, combined with poor posture and body mechanics, can lead to muscle imbalances, inflammation, and even long-term damage.

One common cause of pain is the overuse of certain muscles. When you continuously perform the same movements, such as cutting or blow-drying, without giving your muscles a chance to rest and recover, they can become strained and fatigued.

This can result in pain and discomfort that affects both your work and personal life.

Another factor to consider is the weight and design of your tools. If your scissors or blow dryer are too heavy or poorly balanced, they can put additional stress on your muscles and joints.

Investing in lightweight, ergonomic tools can significantly reduce the strain on your body and make your work more enjoyable.

Additionally, poor posture and body mechanics play a significant role in the development of pain.

Slouching, hunching over, or leaning to one side can lead to muscle imbalances and put excessive pressure on your spine. By maintaining proper posture and using correct body mechanics, you can minimise the risk of developing chronic pain.

Importance of Proper Posture and Body Mechanics

Proper posture and body mechanics are essential for hairdressers to prevent and manage back, neck, and shoulder pain. Here are some tips to help you maintain good posture throughout your workday:

1. Stand tall: 

You have mirrors all around you so use them regularly to check your posture! Whenever possible, stand up straight, engage your core slightly and make sure your shoulders aren’t hunched forward. This will relieve tension on your back and take some pressure off your feet.

2. Avoid forward head posture:

When you hang your neck forward (forward head posture) to see what you are working on you are putting a lot of pressure and tension on the top 2 vertebrae in your neck.

We suggest you raise your client up in their chair so that you can get eye level with your work.

Alternatively you can bring your body down to work more from your knees. That way you are using your core to keep yourself balanced.  This avoids hanging your head forward.

A third and final solution to avoid forward head posture is to use a cutting stool. This takes a lot of stress off your back and legs and it’s a great way to mix up the day between sitting and standing.

3. Distribute your weight evenly:

Avoid leaning to one side or putting excessive weight on one leg. Shift your weight from foot to foot to maintain balance.

4. Keep your wrists straight:

If your wrists are held at odd angles you are straining your forearm muscles. 

5. Relax your shoulders:

Keep your shoulders down and relaxed, avoiding the tendency to shrug or hunch.

6. Take micro-breaks:

Every 30 minutes, take a few seconds to stretch and reset your posture. Roll your shoulders back, gently stretch your neck from side to side, and shake out your hands.

By implementing these techniques, you can significantly reduce the strain on your body and prevent long-term damage.


Ergonomic Tools and Equipment for Hairdressers

Investing in ergonomic tools and equipment is a game-changer for hairdressers. These specially designed tools are crafted to reduce strain on your body, allowing you to work more comfortably and efficiently.

When it comes to scissors, opt for lightweight models with ergonomic handles that fit comfortably in your hand. Look for scissors with an adjustable tension screw, as this allows you to customise the tool to your specific needs.

For hairdryers, choose lightweight options with adjustable heat and speed settings. A hair dryer with a long, flexible cord can also give you more freedom of movement and reduce strain.

Consider using ergonomic brushes and combs as well. These tools are designed to minimise tugging and pulling, making them gentler on your wrists and hands.

 Remember, your tools and equipment are extensions of your body. By choosing ergonomic options, you can significantly reduce the strain on your muscles and joints, leading to a more enjoyable and pain-free work experience.

Stretches for Hairdressers

Stretches for Hairdressers

Incorporating stretching into your daily routine can do wonders for preventing and managing back, neck, and shoulder pain.

We recommend these stretching before you start work, in between clients and at the end of your working day. 

1. Neck stretches:

Gently tilt your head to the left, bringing your left ear towards your left shoulder. Hold for 15-30 seconds and breathe. Repeat on the right side. You can also do forward and backward neck stretches by gently dropping your chin to your chest and then tilting it towards the ceiling.

2. Shoulder rolls:

Roll your shoulders forward in a circular motion for 10-15 seconds, then reverse the direction. Don’t forget to breathe! This exercise helps relieve tension and promotes mobility in your shoulder joints.

3. Chest opener:

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and interlace your fingers behind your back. Straighten your arms and lift them away from your body, squeezing your shoulder blades together. Hold for 15-30 seconds and release.

4. Upper back stretch:

Clasp your hands in front of you and round your upper back, pushing your hands away from your body. Hold for 15-30 seconds and release. This exercise helps counteract the forward hunching posture often associated with hairdressing.

By incorporating these stretches into your daily routine, you can reduce the risk of developing pain and discomfort. Aim to do them before work, in-between clients and at the end of the day.

Tips for Taking Breaks and Maintaining a Healthy Work-Life Balance

Taking regular breaks and maintaining a healthy work-life balance is crucial for hairdressers to avoid burnout and prevent pain. Here are some tips to help you achieve a healthier work-life balance:

1. Schedule regular breaks: Set aside specific times throughout the day for short breaks. Use this time to stretch, hydrate, and recharge.

2. Delegate when possible: If you have team members or assistants, delegate tasks that can help alleviate your workload. This will give you more time to rest and focus on self-care.

3. Prioritise self-care: Take care of your physical and mental well-being outside of work. Engage in activities that help you relax and unwind, such as yoga, meditation, or hobbies you enjoy.

4. Set boundaries: Establish clear boundaries between work and personal life. Avoid checking work-related emails or messages during your time off, and make sure to communicate your availability to clients and colleagues.

5. Stay organised: Efficiently managing your time and tasks can help reduce stress and ensure you have enough time for self-care. Use tools like calendars or task management apps to stay organised.

Remember, taking care of yourself is not a luxury; it’s a necessity. By prioritising breaks and maintaining a healthy work-life balance, you’ll not only prevent pain but also enhance your overall well-being.

What to expect when you visit our Chiropractic Office in Cork

Seeking Professional Help for Pain Management

If you’re experiencing persistent back, neck, and shoulder pain, it’s essential to seek professional help. A healthcare professional, such as a chiropractor, can assess your condition, provide a proper diagnosis, and recommend appropriate care options.

With its holistic approach to wellness, chiropractic can help you not only overcome pain but also enhance your overall well-being and productivity at work.

Chiropractic focuses on the spine’s alignment and its impact on the nervous system, which controls every cell and organ in your body. By addressing misalignments, known as subluxations, chiropractors can relieve pain, improve mobility, and boost your body’s natural healing abilities.

Imagine a workday where your stress levels are lowered, your posture improved, and your energy levels optimised.

The most important thing is not to ignore persistent pain or assume it’s just a part of your job.

Seeking help early can prevent further damage and allow you to continue pursuing your passion without discomfort.

Creating a Supportive Work Environment

Creating a supportive work environment is crucial for hairdressers to prevent and manage back, neck, and shoulder pain. Here are some tips to promote a healthier workplace:

1. Educate your colleagues: 

Share your knowledge and experiences with your colleagues. Encourage conversations about pain prevention and encourage everyone to prioritise their well-being.

2. Collaborate with management:

Speak to salon management about the importance of ergonomic tools and equipment. Advocate for the creation of a comfortable and supportive work environment for all staff members.

3. Provide education and resources: Optimal Chiropractic in Ballincollig offer free talks in local salons on proper body mechanics, stretching exercises, and self-care practices.

They can also provide resources such as posters and handouts to remind everyone of the importance of pain prevention.

You can get in touch by messaging us here or call 021 487 8465 for more details.

By fostering a supportive work environment, you can create a community that prioritises health and well-being, leading to happier and healthier hairdressers.

Remember, it all starts with proper posture and body mechanics. Be mindful of how you move and hold your tools, and take regular breaks to give your body a chance to rest and recover. Invest in ergonomic tools and equipment that support your body’s needs, and incorporate stretching into your daily schedule.

Additionally, prioritise self-care and maintain a healthy work-life balance. Seek professional help if needed, and create a supportive work environment that values pain prevention and overall well-being.

By taking these steps, you’ll be on your way to a pain-free and fulfilling career as a hairdresser.


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Dr. Benjamin Martin is a Chiropractor and speaker on Health and Wellbeing. Ben is regularly called on to discuss health topics and chiropractic on radio, tv and press. His promise is to adjust and educate as many families as possible towards optimal health. His work changes lives and has restored people's quality of life.
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