Anyone that has worked in a salon will know how hard hairdressers and makeup artists work. Long hours on your feet, standing on hard floors, often not moving more than a couple of feet, with your arms in an elevated position and your hands constantly moving. The description alone makes you aware that this kind of work is not what your body was designed to do and now you begin to realise why hairdressers and makeup artists report having more musculoskeletal issues than most workers.
Recently a study was done by the Centre for workplace health, health and safety laboratory in the UK. They interviewed 147 hairdressers and 67 non-hairdressing office workers. They asked for details of complaints/pain that they had and then asked them to specify what they thought, were work-related pains, below are their findings
Immediately you see that hairdressers report a much higher percentage of pains in all categories, the only ones that come close are wrist/hand pain and neck pain, which are big issues for office workers that sit in poorly designed workspaces for long periods of time, looking at badly placed computer/laptop screens while typing and using a mouse. Also, if you consider that neck, upper back and shoulder pain are quite often different descriptions of the same thing, the study suggests that 1 in 4 hairdressers report that they have a work related pain/complaint.
Why do Hairdressers have these complaints?
Louboutin said high heels are “pleasure with pain” and after 7 or 8 hours on your feet in a busy salon you’ll agree with at least 50% of that statement. The picture below demonstrates what some footwear can do to your feet. Keep in mind your feet are how your body interfaces with the ground when you walk/jog/run so it’s vital they can do their job properly.
One of these factors in isolation is bad enough but when you combine them you start to understand the stresses that a hairdresser/makeup artist’s body is under. Complex, unnatural movement by tired, dehydrated muscles is almost certain to cause musculoskeletal dysfunction, in fact 1 in 4 is now looking a little low which leads me to wonder if hairdressers and makeup artists so accustomed to feeling tired, sore and stiff that they only notice a problem when it has become severe? If ever there was a collection of people that need regular maintenance treatments, they are those people.
So what can be done about it?
Well firstly I’m going to make some assumptions. I’m going to assume that wearing sensible flat shoes, having a personal floor mat, taking copious water breaks and self levelling salon chairs are on the “maybe list” so what’s left?
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