Can You Avoid RSI or Carpel Tunnel In Hairdressing?

November 20, 2022

Being a hairdresser is a fun and exciting career but it can be hard on our bodies/hands. That is why we are here! To teach you how to take care of yourself and your body, so you can have a long, happy, pain-free career!

What is Carpal Tunnel syndrome and RSI?

RSI stands for Repetitive strain injury. This means that it is an injury caused by the repetitive movements that you make on a daily basis. So as a hairdresser your most common RSI's will be in your hand and wrists. When holding scissors you will move your wrists in all sorts of different directions, many that are not the natural position for your wrist. Cutting hair all day, everyday, can put excessive strain on your wrists, hands, elbows and shoulders. Same goes for blow drying hair, your wrists, hands and arms will have to work hard to hold the blow dryer and brush. Doing this everyday, for a long time, can lead to repetitive strain injuries.

Carpal Tunnel is a type of repetitive strain injury. Inside your arm and wrist is the median nerve. This nerve runs from your forearm to your hand. The median nerve is found inside a small "tunnel" in your wrist, made up of bones, tendons and ligaments. Carpal tunnel syndrome is caused by the median nerve becoming compressed. The symptoms of a compressed nerve include pain, numbness and weakness in the hand and wrist. 

Helping to prevent carpal tunnel

Now that you know what Carpal tunnel syndrome and Repetitive strain injuries are, let's work on preventing them! All of our shears are made with light weight steel, which helps to keep your wrists healthy. But let's talk about handles and healthy wrist positioning.

You have probably noticed by now that we have a wide range of different shear handles. On our website you can find anything from the classic handles to swivel shears. Why is this so important? Well these handles can help you prevent stress injuries.

The classic handle is designed with the two finger holes placed right above each other. This places your thumb quite far back from its natural position. Even if you use these the way they were meant to be used , with the middle finger and thumb, as opposed to the ring finger and thumb, your thumb is still quite far from where it should be placed naturally. Using a handle like this, with the repetitive movement of cutting hair, can lead to carpal tunnel.

Most hairdressers from the start of their career have come across the offset handle. The offset handle was designed to help bring your thumb slightly forward. This helps it to sit closer to its natural position. While off set scissors are not the most ergonomic design of all the scissors, using an offset handle is a step in the right direction to helping prevent future overuse injuries. 

The crane handle can be a hair stylists best friend. This design is not only beneficial for your wrists and hands but also your elbow and shoulders. The crane design brings the thumb even further forward into its natural position, while the straight blade brings your elbow down to your side. By cutting hair in this position you are not lifting your elbow and placing unnecessary stress on your shoulders, no awkward posture here! You can find our super ergonomic shearHERE.

Next up is your most ergonomic option, swivel shears. These may take some time to get used to, but they were designed with hairdressers lives and bodies in mind. Swivel shears have a 360 degree rotating thumb ring. This thumb moves so that when you are cutting hair your wrist is always in its most natural, and comfortable position. These shears help protect your arms from painful carpal tunnel syndrome and other Repetitive strain injury.Here are some of our swivel shear options. You can look after your body and feel comfortable, and still have the best looking shears around.

Now that you've decided on an ergonomic handle, there are other things you need to consider to help keep Repetitive strain injuries at bay. 

Checking the tension of your shears on a regular basis is very important. If your shears are too tight you will be using more effort to open and close them as you cut. This effort will contribute to RSI's. All shears will have a tension screw or a raised tension adjuster. Making sure not to over tighten your shears can help make repetitive motions easier and keep away strain injuries and tired hands.

Pain free is the way to BE!

As a hair stylist we know how important your hands, wrists, arms ... actually your whole body is ! Luckily there is a lot known about carpal tunnel syndrome these days and other RSI's. Preventing these problems doesn't end with the shears you use. You must also look after your lower body. Don't use heavy tools regularly, use a cutting stool, watch your posture, hydrate, take breaks and eat ! We want you cutting hair happily, and comfortably for many more years to come ! 

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