Health Corner

hairdresser holding a scissor cutting a client's short hair


Are you a hairdresser? Do you know someone who is? Perhaps you’ve heard of the term “Hairdresser’s arm”? Well you probably haven’t heard of it, because it’s something I came up with just now – BUT – it certainly should be a thing, because as a physio, I’ve seen hairdressers presenting with the same symptoms over and over again; a sore neck, shoulder, elbow, forearm, wrist and thumb, not to mention pins and needles and numbness in the hand and fingers.


Sound familiar? It’s a condition as common as “short back and sides”, and although it’s a potential hazard of the job, it doesn’t have to be something you must put up with! That is to say, it’s not PERM-anent. (Get it? Ha ha haa aahhh ha… Ahh. Erm well, moving on then!)
This particular combination of symptoms takes root in the nerves that travel from your neck, through your shoulder and chest, and into the arm and hand, and is caused by the less-than-ideal postures that are often used when cutting or styling someone else’s hair.

Short, tense, tight and overused muscles can cause some irritation of these nerves, which contribute to the symptoms of Hairdresser’s arm, and there are a few simple positional and postural changes that can help, as well as specific stretches, exercises and hands-on treatments that can provide relief in the short and long-term.

hairdresser holding a scissor cutting a client's short hair
You see a haircut, I see nerve and muscle tension!

A LifeForce physiotherapist will assess the involved tissues including muscle length and tone, nerve tension, joint mobility, muscle strength and stability, among other things, to come up with the perfect plan to help address dysfunction on a person-by-person basis.

Call 8289 2800 to make a physiotherapy appointment at LifeForce health solutions at Golden Grove, to see what one of our experienced and friendly physiotherapists can do to help with your work-related condition. Alternatively, send us a message or comment on Facebook or via our website, and we’ll be in touch!



Nee, R. and Butler, D. (2006). Management of peripheral neuropathic pain: Integrating neurobiology, neurodynamics, and clinical evidence. Physical Therapy in Sport, 7(1), pp.36-49.

Vicenzino, B., Collins, D. and Wright, A. (1996). The initial effects of a cervical spine manipulative physiotherapy treatment on the pain and dysfunction of lateral epicondylalgia. Pain, 68(1), pp.69-74.