Top Tips – neck and shoulder problems in hairdressers

Neck and Shoulder Pain in Hairdressers

Hairdressers get much more neck and shoulder pain and problems in their forearms and wrists than average.  Standing up for long periods, holding your arms up in the air while doing intricate repetitive movements can cause aches and pains. In fact, over half of hairdressers get neck and shoulder pain and nearly 2/3 get back pain. If you’re a hairdresser what can you do about it?

Typically, neck and shoulder pain in hairdressers is caused by muscle tension and locking of the joints of the spine. This may lead to Cervical Facet Joint Syndrome. Here the joints of the neck becomes stiff and inflamed and can lead to nerve irritation. Some nerves coming out of the neck go down the arms to control the muscles in the wrist and hand. Problems in the neck can cause muscle weakness, pins and needles and pain.

The muscles of the shoulders and arms are not designed to contract for long periods. Instead, they’re much better at short periods of intense activity followed by a break. Holding your arms up with the muscles tensed, decreases the blood flow and may lead to tissue damage. It is thought that this is one potential mechanism for repetitive strain injury (RSI).

Top tips for preventing neck, shoulder and arm pain

  1. Get to work early. If you arrive in a rush, puffed out from running up the street, your muscles will be tense before you even start work. If you’re calm and relaxed, your muscles will be too. Also, you will have time to do Tip 2.
  2. Do a few simple stretches before you start work. Go here to download our free sheet – Exercises for Hairdressers.
  3. Take a mini break every few minutes. Every few minutes. Let your hands drop your sides and shake loose to relax the muscles.
  4. In between clients do a couple of the stretching exercises again and massage your neck, shoulder and forearm muscles.
  5. Perch on a high stool when you can. This eases the pressure on your lower back and feet.
  6. Avoid raising your arms up so high by lowering the clients chair or standing on a platform.
  7. Keep your wrists straight. If your wrists are held at odd angles you are straining your forearm muscles.
  8. Breathe deeply. This improves the oxygen supply to your muscles and helps keep them relaxed. If you’re tense and breathing shallowly your muscles are more likely to go into spasm.
  9. Don’t smoke. People who smoke get more aches and pains in their muscles and joints. If you drink, take it easy. Some of the chemicals in alcoholic drinks increase inflammation.
  10. At the end of the work day do the simple stretches again.

If you’re still getting aches and pains come and see us at Sundial. Our chiropractors, physio’s and massage therapists can help you.

 

Reference:

Neck and Shoulder Pain in Hairdressers, Brighton

Self-reported work-related symptoms in hairdressers. L. Bradshaw, J. Harris-Roberts, J. Bowen, S. Rahman and D. Fishwick. Occup Med (Lond) (2011) 61 (5):328-334.

 

5 Top Tips To Avoid Injury When Training

If you want the best advice about how to avoid injury when you are training then ask an expert. In this guest post, Lucy Howlett of LIFT Personal Training, Brighton, gives some great tips to stay fit and active without pain.

Warm Up Safely
Warming up is vital to keeping the body flexible and adaptable for what we require it to do. Before you run, jump (or fly!) ensure that you spend 5-10 minutes warming up and mobilizing all the joints. You can do this with things like leg swings (forwards and sideways), arms swings, twisting the torso from left to right, shoulder rolls and gently turning the head from left to right to look over each shoulder.

Posture & Technique
Do you know why lifting technique is taught in most workplaces? E.g. bend the legs, back straight and chest up … because technique matters and can be the difference between healthy exercise and injuring your back. So the same applies to when you’re purposefully training, whether with weights or bodyweight exercises. Training with good technique transfers into everyday life, such as having better posture, holding less tension in the body and moving with greater ease.

Core Strength
The importance of having a good level of core strength can sometimes only hit home when you’ve hurt your back or sustained another type injury caused by a lack of core strength. The layers of core musculature are like a corset that protects your internal organs and keeps the rest of your body stable and supported. Learning to recruit these muscles effectively can help you to look slimmer, support your overall posture and reduce back pain. Ask me for more advice on how to improve your core strength and stability.

Leave Your Ego Behind
I know someone who did his back in while training recently and admitted that his ego was the cause of it. Appreciate where you are, know that we all start somewhere and progress is still PROGRESS. With good foundations you can build a skyscraper but not before. The body (and life) is much the same; one must progress in stages. Too early and the supporting structure may fail us.

Stretch Out
After exercise, you will need to stretch out to allow the muscles to return to their normal length. If you don’t, you could possibly land yourself an injury. Without flexibility, your muscles could pull or tear during fast paced, or explosive movements. Yoga is fantastic for realigning the body, correcting imbalances and built up tension, as well as reducing stress.

Lucy Howlett
www.liftpersonal-training.co.uk
Mobile: 07879 490373

How to treat Shin Splints

Shin splinPhysiotherapy leg examts or Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome (MTSS) is easy to treat if the problem is caught early. If symptoms of pain along the inner border of the shin bone (tibia) goes on for too long then significant damage can occur to the muscle and bone bone coverings and the condition becomes chronic. Brighton physio, here at Sundial, James Masterson explains.

What can I do to help myself?

Rest and ice – Ice can be an extremely effective pain relief for shin splints as it acts as a local anesthetic by numbing sore muscle tissue. It also helps to slow down the inflammation and swelling process which occurs with injury.

Take down inflammation – Anti inflammatory medication may help to reduce any swelling and speed up your recovery time. Please consult your doctor before taking any medication.

Wear appropriate footwear!! – It may be beneficial to visit a specialist running shop where you can be advised about what might suit your needs. On average running shoes should be replaced when worn for between 300 and 600 miles, depending on factors such as body weight, running style and training surface. In some cases orthotics (inner soles) may be used to help abnormal loading throughout your lower limb and correct issues such as over-pronation and supination. More information on orthotics here.

 

What can the physio’s at Sundial do to help?

The first stages of rehabilitation may include advice to rest from aggravating activity for a while. We can give you ice packs to use of the first 2 day after the pain starts or is aggravated by the offending activity. We will help you switch to low impact exercise such as swimming and cycling and advise on how best to incorporate changes to maintain strength and fitness. Only in extreme cases is protected weight bearing necessary.

Foot alignment

An important part of the recovery process is assessment of foot alignment and walking/running analysis to highlight any potential problems. Advice on appropriate footwear and the
In more severe cases our physio care involves laser therapy which improves healing, reduces pain and takes down inflammation. Soft tissue techniques such as massage may also help to ease tight muscles associated with shin splints or MTSS. application of inner soles may also be of benefit. We are experts in this sort of advice and work with local running shops to get the best footwear for you.

We will also advise on a home exercise plan consisting of stretching, balance and strength exercises to help too. This is an important part of your recovery along with a graded return to activity with symptom free progression.

 

Causes of Shin Splints -more here