Some jobs, we know, are hazardous to your health. You can add hairstylist to that list.
According to Yahoo Lifestyle, massage therapist Hitesh Patel recently shared a post on Facebook explaining how he believes being a hairdresser can ravage your body. And here’s extra emphasis on ravage. There’s a picture of a woman with horrific red marks down her back, which look excruciatingly painful. But don’t worry — they’re the result of gua sha, a therapeutic Chinese practice aimed at improving circulation, and in this case, resetting the stylist’s muscles.
“[She’s] spending hours standing on [her] feet rotated forward, whilst holding [a] brush in one hand and a hairdryer in the other angle over [her] clients’ head[s] for hours and hours,” wrote Patel. “Your muscles develop and stop holding your skeletal system in an unnatural off central position. So then when you finally do…put down your crimping equipment, and try [to] sit down [in] a natural neutral position, it just doesn’t work.”
He recommended realigning your muscles and spine, and also stresses that this isn’t just exclusive to folks who cut, color, and blow-dry your hair. “It’s not just hairdressers, but any job including fitness instructors, dentists, mechanics, [and] pharmacist[s]. If you’re not looking after your body on a regular basis, it can all tighten up and cause you pain later on down the line,” he wrote.
We consulted physical therapist Rob Ziegelbaum, clinical director of Zelik Ziegelbaum Physical Therapy in Port Washington, New York, to get the scoop on why jobs that mandate being on your feet while hunched over can really mess up your body. Like, for years.
“Hairdressers, much like dentists, often work in what is referred to as a forward-flexed position of the upper torso. In order to perform their job, they round their backs to reach the desired areas. [They] must also hold their equipment. The weight of the equipment as well as the weight of the individual’s arms pull the body forward, creating a fulcrum in the thoracic or lumbar spine, depending on positioning of the client, thus requiring increased muscular force to maintain an upright position as well as increasing the tension placed on their core and upper back/neck,” he says.
This can lead to upper back and neck pain, as well as bad posture. Plus, there’s the risk of tendinitis, carpal tunnel syndrome, and shoulder aches. Hairstylists can wind up with “osteoarthritis from overuse/overexertion of specific joints; back pain and muscle spasms; [and] neck pain with possible tension-type headaches.”
The key to staying healthy and safe if you’re working one of the aforementioned jobs is to make sure you’re aware of your body positioning and the need to stretch and strengthen. Plus, take breaks between clients and use ergonomically-designed equipment. Oh yeah, and you gotta work out to stay limber and fit. Sorry folks, this is straight from the expert.
“It is crucial that we exercise in order to maintain the strength in our muscles required to maintain proper posture/body positioning among other things for carryover to the work environment to avoid compensations that can lead to injury. Exercise is also crucial to maintain the health of our internal organs for bodily functions,” says Ziegelbaum.
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