top of page



Barbers Back Health 

Bringing Barbers Back's To Health

Looking after you’re the health and wellness. By founder member of the BMB, Robert Dunsdon BA, BSc, MMCA, Senior Associate Royal Society of Medicine.

Your health is important. For most of us in the industry, if we don’t work we don’t earn any money.  So we need to keep fit and well. Over the next few months, we will be looking into how you can optimise your health and wellness by focusing in on those areas of physical stress, that particularly affect barbers in the workplace. In this article, we will be looking at how you can best prevent one of our industry’s most prevalent causes of loss of earnings, back pain.


First a little about my background, like many of us I entered the profession from school, for me, some forty-odd years ago. I worked on the floor for several years where thanks to the help and encouragement of tutors, mentors and colleagues I was able to progress in my career to the point where I could transfer the knowledge and skills I had been shown, to help a new generation of hairdressers and barbers and I cannot say what a privilege that has been. My career was later interrupted by a grave illness affecting both parents and I took a temporary break from barbering and teaching to look after them. It was after this sad time that decided to take up a second career in Chiropractic.


Chiropractic is a primary health care profession that focuses on disorders of musculoskeletal and the nervous systems and the effects these disorders can have on health[1].


I have a private clinical practice in Horsham West Sussex which works closely with local doctors and allied health professionals to focus on, among other complaints, the health problems of hairdressers and barbers[2].


As I stated above ‘one of our industry’s most prevalent causes of loss of earnings is back pain’. Our body’s and for that matter our minds take a lot of punishment during the day, so here are a few bullet points to a healthy and happy pain-free back:

  • Standing on a hard floor for long periods puts your feet, knees, and spine under a lot of stress and that can lead to spine pain, aching joints and varicose veins At Master Barbers we recommend the use of anti-fatigue mats[3] to add some needed cushion to your feet. Once you have worked on these you won’t want to go back to a hard floor.

  • Use the Chair. When cutting hair, be sure to adjust the chair height so you are not bending over, it seems a small thing but it will pay dividends and don’t forget to stretch your neck, arms, and back between clients.

  • Try to sit down for if only for brief periods, if it’s a busy Saturday before calling the client to the chair sit next to them, discuss what you can do to help them if only for a minute, it’s enough time to relieve the pressure on your back.

  • How well do you sleep? Nighttime is just as important as daytime when it comes to looking after your back. Your spine and pelvis need good support when you are sleeping. A sagging mattress or waking up in the morning with aches that go off during the day is a sign it’s time to look at how well your mattress is supporting you. The ‘sleep council’ offer some funny and informative videos on choosing a new bed or mattress, the web address is listed below[4].

  • What do you do in bed at night? Probably a few things we can’t write about here but one thing you can do to help your back is, if you are one of those people who sleep on their side, try placing a small pillow between your knees, the pillow helps keep your pelvis and spine in alignment and as a result, you sleep much better and can wake up with less back stiffness.


Exercise is medicine. Its official, exercise is good for you! I was at a symposium at the Royal Society of Medicine a while ago and to. One of the things we learned was that exercise is most effective when it is tailored to the individual and this is where an understanding of how your body moves during work helps. As

Barbers we spend a long time standing in a static position with our arms raised. An exercise that helps move the muscle groups we tend to overuse will help to undo some of the working day's fatigue.


Here are two exercises that will bring you back to health:

  • Swimming will help our deltoid, shoulder muscles and rotator cuff as well as our forearm muscles. Good strokes are crawl and butterfly. Be careful with the breaststroke as often people keep their head to extended thereby putting too much pressure on the neck.

  • Walking is a much-underestimated exercise but it’s one of the very best here are some reasons:- re-strengthens muscles in the feet, legs, hips, and torso - walking increases the stability of the spine and conditions the muscles that keep the body in the upright position. Walking for exercise facilitates strong circulation, pumping nutrients into soft tissues and draining toxins.


I hope this article has been of some interest to you. Future articles will cover such subjects as; Looking after your wrists and hands. The importance of happy feet, Do tools matter?  Don’t look behind you, your neck and pain, What’s the difference between a Chiropractor an Osteopath and a Physiotherapist? Barbers hate varicose veins and finally, Looking after your diet.

bottom of page