HEALTH • Oct 15, 2023

The Mrs.Highbrow Back And Neck Issues Survey

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Because we care about the health of our community, we conducted a survey of over 2,000 (eyebrow) specialists last summer. And what did we find out? 70% suffer from back pain. The good news? The earlier you take action, the less likely you are to drop out.

By Desi van Dijk

At Mrs.Highbrow, we understand the challenges that come with being an eyebrow or eyelash specialist. Spending long hours in the same position can lead to tension, strain, and discomfort in your body. That's why we took the initiative last summer to conduct a comprehensive survey among specialists like yourself. The results were eye-opening, to say the least.

The survey results left no room for doubt: back, shoulder, and neck pain are widespread among beauty specialists. This issue requires our immediate attention and proactive measures. A respondent astutely remarked, "It is absolutely crucial that we tackle this problem head-on. I personally know many specialists who are grappling with these complaints."

Liza Gliner, who conducted the survey on behalf of Mrs.Highbrow, also found the numbers shocking.

"While I was aware that this profession is physically demanding, I was taken aback by the sheer number of associated complaints. It is disheartening to see that the focus is often solely on showcasing pictures of flawless eyebrows and eyelashes, while little attention is given to the prevalent neck, shoulder, and back issues that can arise as a consequence."

Over 50% of those surveyed experience complaints after only 1 to 2 years

For example, the survey revealed that a good 70% of the specialists surveyed suffer from back pain. 66% also suffer from neck complaints and 50% experience shoulder issues.

Liza: "The complaints turned out to affect respondents much more than I initially thought. The respondents not only suffer from their bodies, but also from stress about whether they can continue the treatments."

Lost Revenue

"Newly minted specialists often encounter early complaints. More than half of the respondents in our survey reported experiencing symptoms within just 1 to 2 years of starting their careers. Furthermore, 16% shared that they have experienced a loss of income due to the impact of neck, back, and/or shoulder issues."

A specialist interviewed conveyed the impact of these challenges, saying, "Not only did my body endure these symptoms, but my financial situation suffered as well. I had to significantly reduce the number of treatments I could perform for several weeks."

"I am no longer able to wander around a fair for an entire day, and spending a day on set is too demanding for me now."

Mrs.Highbrows founder and CEO Ska also experienced firsthand what it's like to get back pain from working as an eyebrow specialist.

Thirteen years ago, Ska embarked on her journey as a PMU specialist. Unfortunately, her time in the profession was cut short. "There were occasions where I would work up to ten consecutive hours, contorting my back in uncomfortable positions and constantly leaning over," she recalls. This was the perfect recipe for developing a herniated disc, but such practices were imparted during the limited training she received.

After just three years, the back pain began, accompanied by excruciating nerve pain that radiated down to her ankles, severely impacting her ability to sleep at night.

Ska hesitated to abandon her career. Should she return to journalism, her previous field of work? However, she couldn't simply abandon her dedicated clientele. "Moreover, I still found the work incredibly enjoyable," Ska admits. "I persevered for an additional two years, albeit while adopting a more sedentary position. Sadly, the damage had already been done. One of the intervertebral discs in my lower back had deteriorated to such an extent that I would never be free of pain again."

Ultimately, she made the tough decision to cease treatment entirely. "Fortunately, I didn't have to let go of Mrs. Highbrow completely. I continued to work alongside an incredible team for several years, allowing our salons to thrive until we made the deliberate choice in 2021 to focus solely on product development."

"I had to make significant adjustments in my daily life. I can no longer lift heavy boxes or engage in strenuous shopping trips. Spending an entire day at a trade show is no longer feasible, and a full day on set is too demanding. Oh, and I can't wear heels anymore."

"Since I train my back and stretch regularly, the pain is significantly less."

Be Ahead Of The Issues

When we ask the specialists what they are currently doing against the symptoms, it's mainly taking paracetamol, using balm or oil, or an occasional visit to the physio. But ultimately it is important to get ahead of all this. A few tips.

  • As a specialist, you need to make sure you can handle your job. It is therefore important that you are in good shape (preferably without complaints). After all, strong muscles get you a lot further. When asked what specialists do preventively, one respondent said, "Since I do sports and train my back and stretch regularly, the pain is significantly less."

  • In addition, it is important to take sufficient breaks, because constantly working in the same position is taxing on your body.

  • Last but not least, good posture at work. The survey revealed that 84% of respondents had not taken any specific training focused on ergonomic work posture or body mechanics. While your body and posture are so important. Are you sitting with your shoulders hunched up? Bad! Are your things lying too far away or too high up? Disastrous!

The Right Posture

So working in the correct posture is vital. And if possible with your work, alternate sitting posture with standing. But what then is proper posture?

Standing Work

  • Make sure your feet are always slightly apart.
  • Keep your lower back stretched (not arched), pull your stomach in and your chest slightly forward.
  • If you have to pick up something that is more than 50 cm away, then it is better to step out instead of reaching out. Also, stifle rather than turn your back.
  • Keep your shoulders relaxed, don't pull them up and make sure you keep your elbows close to your body.
  • Move or stagger every 5 minutes.

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Sitting Work.

  • Work 20-30 centimeters below eye level.
  • Keep your lower back stretched (i.e., not arched and not hollow), pull your abdomen in and your chest slightly forward.
  • Your knees are at a 90-degree angle; your feet are flat on the floor.
  • Work just slightly above elbow height.
  • Keep your elbows relaxed along your body.
  • Try a slightly different posture every 5 minutes.

Tips To Reduce Pain

If, unfortunately, you are experiencing symptoms in your neck, shoulder, or back, it is crucial to take these symptoms seriously and discuss them with your doctor. Alternatively, you can make an appointment with a physical therapist or chiropractor. Additionally, consider implementing the following tips:

1. Prioritize sufficient sleep and maintain proper posture
. When going to sleep, try lying on your side with a pillow between your knees to alleviate pressure on your back. If you prefer sleeping on your back, place a pillow under your knees for support.

2. Stay active but avoid overexertion
. Resting excessively will only worsen back pain. To recover quickly, engage in regular exercise. Take daily walks or consider participating in a yoga class and swimming laps in the pool.

3. Consult professionals at the gym
for appropriate exercises to strengthen your back and abdominal muscles. It is also important to exercise the "front" to alleviate back pain and prevent its recurrence.

4. Make an effort to minimize stress.
The higher the stress levels, the greater the likelihood of developing issues, which, in turn, amplifies stress. Therefore, relaxation is paramount during this time.

By following these recommendations, you can actively address and alleviate symptoms in your neck, shoulder, or back, while promoting overall well-being. Remember to seek professional advice for personalized guidance in your journey towards better physical health.