PREVENTING NECK, BACK, LEG AND FOOT PAIN

 

Often, hairdressers are on their feet for long hours, with very little opportunity to even take a break.

This can lead to increased physical stress with up to 50% of hairdressers reporting back or neck problems and 1/2 sore feet and legs.   A recent study showed 71% of hairdressers reported pain currently. Nearly every part of the body is put at risk of injury from this job.

Ultimately, this can take a toll on those in our industry.

 

STANDING BEHIND THE CHAIR

 Standing on a hard concrete floor for long periods puts undue stress through your feet, knees, and back. Lower body problems run from achy joints to varicose veins. 

While standing vary your position. Most of us favor one leg and bear the majority of the weight through one side. This is risky for your body. 

To counteract this use a rubber anti-fatigue mat to add some needed cushion and when able sit for breaks. Salon Centric offers a variety of mats.  Ask your sales consultant or check them out at saloncentric.com

 Chair stools are a good way to do this as well. Chairs will decrease stress to your legs and back while still allowing you to move nimbly. 

Click on this link to view the benefits of the SamVilla cutting stool.

Using supportive shoes also helps. Although we’re in the fashion business, and while they’re super cute… wearing shoes like this will quickly lead to hurting toes and throbbing legs!  

Heel.png

As a rule, good shoes for standing all day should lace up, have non-slip soles, and provide some cushion. Below are links to resources that identify a variety of brands and styles for the best shoes to stand in all day. We’ve also added some cute options from the top rated Dansko brand.

http://bootbomb.com/a-guide-to-choosing-the-best-walking-shoes-for-yourself-at-an-affordable-price/best-standing-shoes/

http://comfortableshoeguide.com/best-shoes-for-standing-all-day/

https://www.therafitshoe.com/therafit-shoes-for-hairdressers 

If you are having feet problems talk to your health care provider about whether custom orthotics or off the shelf insoles would help.   There are a wide variety of off the shelf insoles but below are ideas from #1 rated brand Dr. Scholls.  and compression legwear. 

https://www.drscholls.com/productsandbrands/iioindex/

 Another recommendation to increase circulation and cut down on sore, tired legs is to wear compression hose.  Check out these beauty tights from German legwear company Item M6!   

http://www.vogue.com/13497336/item-m6-beauty-tights-crystal-compression-cellulite-circulation-legwear/

AT THE SHAMPOO BOWL

Bending over to shampoo is a typical cause of low back pain. Spread your feet apart and bend at the knees while keeping your back straight. Another option is to put one foot forward of the other shoulder width apart and bend at the hips and knees, again keeping the back straight. The closer you stand to the client the less you have to bend over.  Proper positioning at the shampoo bowl will help eliminate strain on shoulders, neck and back. 

If there is a shampoo person, apprentice or assistant in the salon be sure to include best posture and body positioning in their training programs and enroll them to help out whenever possible. 

PROPER POSITIONING WHILE CUTTING

When cutting hair be sure to adjust the chair height so you are not bending over. Keeping your arms elevated in front of you for long periods creates problems in the neck, arms, and back. Your body is not designed to maintain these static postures for long periods. The resulting muscle strain, knots in the muscles, and pinched nerves cause pain, numbness, tingling, and heaviness in the arms. Keep your elbows close to your sides as much as possible. Stretch your neck, arms, and back between clients. Keeping yourself limber and strong is a necessity. Establish and maintain a regular stretching and strengthening program. Print out our stretching sheet to learn some basic stretches.

How To Eliminate Hand, Wrist & Shoulder Pain - Scissor Control Tips

One of the biggest complaints from hairdressers is that their wrist, elbow and shoulder hurt at the end of the day. This is largely because of how the shears are help and used throughout the day. 

https://youtu.be/D36FXJfjuNs?list=FLvGYlmUNBkY96Zome_MAljw

Be more aware of your body positions. Use the mirror to watch yourself and see unnecessary neck bending forward or to the sides. Keep your ears over your shoulders. Look with your eyes not your neck. 

Change your grip on tools like the dryer to keep your wrists straight.

Tendonitis of the thumb or forearm muscles is common. One way to deal with this is to use proper scissors. Keep the blades sharp to minimize the force needed, while this may seem a small detail consider the millions of cuts you make! Trying to keep the wrists relatively straight and avoid awkward positions that bend your wrists up or down excessively is the most important consideration. Swivel-thumb scissors allow you to minimize awkward strenuous positioning of the wrist and thumb. Also, become aware of the tension in your forearms. Work with the arms as relaxed as possible.

Why Using a Swivel Shear to Cut Hair is More Comfortable

Hairdressers know the value of using different shears and tools to achieve a desired result. But not all stylists understand the benefits of using a swivel shear and how this cutting tool can relieve a lot of stress and pain that you experience when cutting hair. 

https://youtu.be/xSlaoxPHa7w

 

Ergonomic Benefits of the Sam Villa Signature Series Shears

Sam Villa Signature Series Shears are designed to keep the elbow in a downward position to help reduce repetitive strain injuries, versus opposing grip shears that force the elbow in a raised, stressed position.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DAx450ivcE4&t=98s

Hairdresser Dexterity: Finger Exercises

As a hairdresser, your hands are your most valuable tools! You must take care of them if you hope to have a long and pain-free career. Here are some finger exercises that you can do on a daily basis to create more flexibility in your fingers, wrist and thumb tendons. 

https://youtu.be/9uIhBH7FaPU

 

Work related stress and working over 15 years have been shown to be related to increased injuries. So the longer you work the more important proper ergonomics becomes. If you are new to the field it is important to address these risk factors preventatively before you get injured!

Resources:

Modern Salon Healthy Hairdresser survey 2014- in cooperation with City of Hope

Sam Villa 

Ergonomics Simplified LLC

Bobbi Foster-Kelly