Recently I had a visit with my sister in law (sil), a very talented make up artist in Vancouver, BC. Her work is absolutely breathtaking. I had no idea what goes into this profession but I realized very quickly, it is more physical than it looks. The bride might be sitting nervous and getting all dolled up. The make up artist might be in one similar position for many hours at a time. Also, they might be carrying a lot of heavy make up bags. All the more cause for neck pain, midback pain, shoulder pain and more.
My sil happened to present with neck pain, and right shoulder and right midback pain during her visit. I imagine a common presentation of someone who carries all their make up tools on one side and perhaps she favors on side over the other.
Upon closer examination, I noted trigger points (painful ones) in her cervical paraspinal muscles, suboccipital, rhomboid muscles and upper trapezius. Also she presented with misalignments in her neck and upper back area. Her posture was off with the right shoulder higher and her head tilted to the left. As a chiropractor, I see this with a lot of patients who are hair dressers and make up artists. So what to do? Most make up artists, especially my SIL loves what she does.
Here are some great tips if you are in a profession where you have to be standing, and holding a similar position for long periods of time:
- Get adjusted by a chiropractor regularly. When you stand for long periods of time, your neck and back are affected. They can evaluate the misalignments in your cervical and lumbar spine and help with with posture.
- Drink a healthy amount of water and be hydrated sufficiently as the days can be long. It is advisable to stick with water vs Soda/coffee.
- Take a break and do neck exercises. Also, making sure that your core muscles are strong is very important. If you keep a strong frame, you are less likely to tire on days when you are working for long periods
- Try Yoga Poses. This is great for stretching all muscles and will keep you limber.
- Watch how you stand while you are working. Are you stooped over? Hows is your neck posture? Are you in a awkward position for long periods? Being aware of your posture can be very helpful.
- Sit when you are able to. Move around the client as needed to be as comfortable as you can be to eye level. Do your best to not put your body into a position of stress/ over reach.If you can, use one of those adjustable stools with wheels on the bottom and that you can rotate easily on. If you can increase or decrease your chair height, even better.
- Use a heat pack after a long day of work to relax the muscles. Also, using a pain relief gel can work once in a while as well. Sombra and Biofreeze work well.
- Stretch your neck manually with a traction unit. You can lie down and do with a towel roll or use a device called a trac collar and do the neck stretching in a seated position. Stretching the c-spine can provide a lot of neck pain relief.
- Change the shoes you wear. Make sure you have arch support. This is not the time to be wearing uncomfortable heels that you have to stand on for hours on end. Think arch support. Think padded soles. Think some type of runners if you can. Also, look into getting custom orthotics.
- Regular acupuncture and massage therapy can be very helpful and relaxing.
- Sleep with a contoured neck pillow at night. This can help the misalignments in the cervical spine. It also ensures that you wake up without neck pain.
Helping someone get ready for a special day can be so rewarding. But no one ever said that getting beautiful was easy. No. It takes time. It takes being meticulous and detail oriented. Taking care of yourself is important for the short and long term.