PMU is a stimulating and rewarding profession. It’s no surprise to hear that most PMU artists claim to love their job – you spend your day creating beauty, socializing with clients, and making them feel great about themselves.
But working in beauty brings about some physical discomfort, and permanent makeup is no different.
Have you ever felt pain in your lower or upper back, shoulders, or neck? You’re not alone – studies show that 58% of beauticians report neck pains, while 70.5% report severe or moderate pain in their shoulders.
PMUHub is here to help. Here’s a collection of tips on how to relieve existing back pains and prevent them in the future.
Why Do Back Pains Occur for PMU Artists?
Any activity that requires you to spend long stretches of time in one and the same position causes discomfort, temporary or chronic. When that activity is your job, you’re sentenced to repeat it over and over again for the entirety of your work week.
For PMU artists in particular, the position of their body during performing the treatment causes a number of back-related issues. If it takes you, let’s say, 2 hours to create a pair of brows, or the perfect on-point eyeliner, and you have multiple clients a day, you’re spending as long as 6 hours hunched back over clients’ heads.
Staying in this position for hours on end causes certain muscles to tighten, while others stay inactive and lose tone. This is likely what causes the pains that you might be feeling.
How Can PMU Artists Relieve Back Pains?
It’s important to understand that, because back pains happen as a result of being static in not so great postures for long stretches of time, they need to be counteracted with activity – you need to put in extra work in order to fight them.
Here are tips on what to do.
Spending a lot of time in the same position causes muscles which hold your body in that position to contract and tighten, which can be a cause of pain. In order to minimize that pain, those muscles need to be relaxed and loosened up through stretching, and you need to stretch often and be consistent with it – at least once a day.
The hunched-over position needs to be counteracted by elongating the muscles of the spine. You need to find a stretching routine that targets the tiny muscles around the spinal column and those under the shoulder blades.
Stand up. Interlock your fingers. Stretch out your arms in front of you, turning your palms away from your chest, so they face the wall or whatever is in front of you. Make sure your elbows are extended, not bent. Now, push your palms out from your shoulders until you feel a stretch under your shoulder blades. Stay in this position for 30-60 seconds, or as long as it’s comfortable.
When performing a PMU treatment, your arms are constantly in front of your chest, which rounds your shoulders and pulls them inwards. This causes your chest muscles to shorten, and as a consequence, they pull your shoulders inwards even when you’re not working. This causes tension and discomfort, but also doesn’t look very attractive. So you also need to stretch your chest muscles.
Raise your hands. Interlock your fingers and place your palms against the back of your head. Squeeze your shoulder blades together so that your chest sticks out. You should feel a stretch under your armpits and in your chest. Stay in this position for 30-60 seconds, or as long as it’s comfortable.
*It’s best to consult a physiatrist or musculoskeletal physiotherapist and let them prescribe a stretching routine.
Image source: Inastagram @welcare.vadodara
Try Breathing Exercises
Breathing exercises are beneficial in relieving stress, but they also provide a gentle but effective stretch. Deep breaths extend your lungs, and as a consequence, your rib cage. The ribs are connected to the spinal column, and the tiny muscles around the connections need to be loosened with stretching.
Take a few deep breaths, consciously extending your lungs and rib cage. You won’t really feel the stretch that much, but you will feel the tension in your back subsiding.
Adjust the Height of the Bed/Chair
Sometimes, your working position can be improved by adjusting the height at which your clients’ heads rest during the procedure. Raise the height of the bed where they lay enough to enable you to hunch as little as possible. Try out different heights and see what’s most comfortable for you.
Strengthen Your Stomach and Lower Back Muscles
If you want to prevent back pains and poor posture, even in your working position, you need to strengthen your stomach muscles and lower back muscles – your core.
That means you need regular physical activity that targets those areas so they can gradually build up strength and give your spine stability. This doesn’t mean you have to have a 6-pack or lift crazy weights – even lighter activation can be very beneficial, plus you shouldn’t do exercises that cause you pain as you’re doing them.
Find a workout routine that targets those muscles. Do it at least 2-3 times a week, and you should feel an improvement within a month or 2.
Image source: Instagram @drrobertsilverman
Tackle Your Muscle Imbalance
Spending a long time in positions which aren’t really natural, like hunched over a client, means some muscles are over-strained, while others are mostly inactive. This can cause imbalance and asymmetry in muscle strength – some of them get overworked, while others get atrophied.
This imbalance could be the cause of back pains. If this is the case, you need to strengthen the atrophied muscles and loosen the rest. This is achieved through a workout and stretching routine designed for your specific situation – you will need medical advice from a physiatrist.
It’s not advisable to try and come up with a routine yourself – you can cause more harm than good.
Spend Your Breaks in Alternative Positions
As we’ve said, spending too much time in one and the same position is the source of most back pains. To counter this, whenever you’re not working, avoid those or similar positions. As soon as you step back from the client, squeeze your shoulder blades together. Stand up and walk around. If you’re sitting, lean back instead of hunching forward. Keep your head up.
The point is to be mindful of your body and aware of its position, not letting it settle into the hunched position when you don’t have to be in it.
Get Massages Regularly
Finally, we have to mention massages as very beneficial for relieving back pains, although they can only give short-term relief if they’re not combined with targeted physical activity and body-position awareness.
A weekly massage will help your back muscles relax. The massage therapist will detect any knots and break them down, relieving the tension in your back.
If you’re experiencing extreme or chronic back pains, you shouldn’t take any action on your own – you should consult a physiatrist or musculoskeletal physiotherapist. They can assess the state and give you an individualized routine that will help.
A PMU treatment can be quite strenuous on your body, even if you don’t feel discomfort as you’re doing it. It’s a good idea to take short breaks during the treatment. You can take advantage of the minutes while your client is numbing, or after applying the pigment mask to stand up and walk around the room, and even do your stretch routine.
Cover image source: Freepik