TWINSBURG, OH (WOIO) - When we go to the hair salon, the last thing we expect is to be in danger. But, there is a very real danger there that we rarely hear anything about.
It's called "Beauty Parlor Stroke Syndrome" and it strikes at the shampoo bowl.
"If something doesn't feel right, it probably isn't right." explained Dr. Warren Selman, head of neurosurgery at University Hospitals.
He said "Beauty Parlor Stroke Syndrome" actually came to light several years ago, although not widely recognized perhaps because it's so rare. The doctor stressed it's also very real and has to do with how you are positioned at the bowl.
"It can sometimes cause the arteries in the back of the neck to get closed often leading to a lack of blood supply to the brain and ultimately potentially a stroke," said Dr. Selman.
There are vital arteries along the back of the neck he says can get either compressed or worse, torn. It happened to Elizabeth Smith, 48, of San Diego.
She can be found talking about it on YouTube.com.
"I couldn't move my left arm at all," Smith said.
Still suffering after two years, she's spreading the word, and it's even surprising veteran stylists, like Nicole Cumberland, owner of Paul Mitchell School of Beauty in Twinsburg,
"I've never encountered anything like that so I think that's why I was so taken back," said Cumberland.
What she's been teaching for years though, and not even aware of it, just happens to be what experts said is key to preventing a stroke:
- No hyper extending the neck back into the sink. Instead keeping the head and neck in line and relaxed.
- Putting a towel under the neck for better support during longer treatments at the shampoo bowl.
- Positioning the chair, according to a client's height.
- Putting a foot stool under the feet of those who are shorter.
Dr. Selman said stroke from an injured neck injury can happen to people of all ages and most of the time younger people experience this syndrome. He adds it can kick in immediately, or even day later as a blood clot develops and travels. With that, he warned there are symptoms you need to watch for including dizziness, nausea and vomiting.
As Elizabeth Smith stressed she was just shocked it happened to her. But, clearly it's a lot less likely to happen to anyone who speaks up when they're uncomfortable because now that's unacceptable on a whole new level. It all means communication between stylist and client needs to be more clear than ever and stylists, when trained right, should be constantly asking you if you're comfortable.
One more thing, Dr. Selman said the stroke risk is there for anyone who has to hold their head way back for extended amounts of time, giving painters as another example.
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