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Haircuts - A pain in the Neck?

Hair Cut

About 80% of Australians will experience back or neck pain at some stage in their lives. For some, a visit to the hairdresser can aggravate, or even cause, a painful neck or back problem.

If overstressed, any of the joints, ligaments, muscles or nerves of the neck can produce pain. With ageing, wear & tear on the neck can cause structural changes, increasing the potential for damage.

Pain is one of the body’s warning signs. Damage can be caused by sudden injury or by adopting one position for a prolonged period, for example, having the head bent back in the wash basin.

Prolonged positioning of the neck backwards or turned to one side can traumatise the vertebral artery. This may reduce or even stop blood flowing through the artery to the brain. If you experience any of the following symptoms, you may be experiencing a reduction in blood flow to the brain:

  • Dizziness
  • Blurred vision
  • Double vision
  • Light headedness
  • Pins & Needles around the mouth
  • Nausea

Reduction in blood flow to the brain can lead to stroke or death. Immediately return to an upright position or any position that does not produce these feelings. If you suffer these symptoms you need to be assessed.

See a hairdresser that takes the time to position you safely & comfortable and warns you client when they want you to move your head. The hairdresser shouldn’t move your head suddenly, or to the extreme range of movement or force you to hold your head in one position for a prolonged period.


  • Avoid extreme tilting back of the head during hairwashing.
  • Sit forward in the chair, ensuring that the back is well supported.
  • Broaden the surface on which the neck is resting. A folded towel is good for this.
  • Alternatively, you may be more comfortable standing & leaning forward over the basin. Or, using a reclining chair.


If you are concerned about your neck when you have a haircut you should see a doctor or physiotherapist and also speak to your hairdresser so they are aware of the problems.