When Elizabeth Smith visited a beauty a salon to get her hair done, she never expected she would end up in hospital and lucky to be alive. When doctors told her she had suffered a stroke, likely because of the way she got her hair washed, she was stunned.
It turns out that the position her head was in when being washed in the salon’s hair wash basin likely caused her to tear an artery in her neck. It’s a rare condition, but it has a name – “beauty parlor stroke syndrome”.
Doctors say manoeuvring the neck into an awkward position for an extended time, such as in a hair wash basin, can cause a stroke in any age of person.
“It is not due to pressure on the artery cutting off the blood supply to the brain, but is much more likely to be caused by a small tear in the lining of the vertebral arteries which run from the back of the neck up into the base of the brain,” neurologist Peter Humphrey with the Walton Centre for Neurology and Neurosurgery in Liverpool explained. “Clots could form on the rough, irregular torn area, break off and be swept upstream into the brain to cause a stroke.”
It’s not just people getting their hair washed at a salon that can put themselves at risk, the doctor said. People with almost any neck injury are at higher risk and should be careful not to put their necks in awkward positions for extended periods of time. Even people who cradle a phone between their head and shoulder for long periods could be at risk.
To avoid such a danger at the salon, doctors recommend propping your head up so it’s tilted no more than 20 degrees in the basin. Or, face the basin and have your hair washed that way.
It also should be noted that many salons have special sinks to avoid placing the neck in extended positions that may cause harm. But if you feel your neck is being strained, please tell the salon worker and adjust your position!
For Elizabeth, the stroke caused paralysis to one side of her face and, two years on, she still has issues with her balance and vision.
The single mother of two was recently interviewed by CBS and told her unsettling story. It’s a cautionary story that everyone should hear!
Share her story with your friends and family!