Mind & Body

Beauty Parlor Stroke Syndrome Can Be Caused By A Simple Hair Wash

Having your hair washed professionally can be a luxurious treat—the best part of getting your haircut, even. Who doesn't like a great head and neck massage? But when your stylist forgets to prop your head up with a towel or two, it can be painful. Your neck falls backwards and the sink digs into your skin. Ouch. As it turns out, this position isn't only uncomfortable, it can also prove dangerous.

As Peter Gloviczki, M.D., a vascular surgeon at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, told Self, "beauty parlor stroke syndrome is caused when there is an injury, tear, or blood clot in one of the four major arteries that go to the brain." If your neck isn't properly supported while your stylist shampoos your hair, it can be hyperextended, and that can compress one of those four major arteries. According to Gloviczki, a tear in the blood vessel could result "in a blood clot, which can travel to your brain and cause a stroke." This syndrome, officially called iatrogenic vertebral artery injury, is rare, but it has happened.

In February 2016, Elizabeth Smith, a 48-year-old woman in San Diego, California, experienced weakness in her limbs days after a 10-minute hair wash. A week later, she barely survived a massive stroke. According to Self, "the stroke left Smith with strength, balance, and vision issues, as well as a brain clot that could kill her if it moves." This can happen to anyone, but it is usually seen in younger people with preexisting connective tissue issues that they may be unaware of. Sufferers experience regular stroke symptoms, as well as dizziness and unsteadiness in their hands, migraine-type headaches, some loss of vision or blurred vision, neck swelling, and change of taste.

So how do you avoid beauty parlor stroke syndrome when you're treating yourself to a lengthy shampoo? Clifford Segil, D.O., a neurologist at California's Providence Saint John's Health Center recommends you request a padded neck area on your wash basin. In other words, there's no need to cancel your highlight appointment—just make sure your neck feels supported, then sit back and relax! To learn more about this syndrome and strokes in general, watch the videos below.

What is Beauty Parlor Stroke Syndrome?

Hear more about this strange, but real, syndrome in the following video from The Doctors.

This Is What A Stroke Does To Your Body

How do you know if you're having a stroke? Learn about stroke symptoms and what they do to your body with DNews.

Trapping Blood Clots To Treat Strokes

The National Science Foundation explains a promising method to trap blood clots before they turn fatal.

Why Does Hair Grow so Long on Our Heads?

Written by Curiosity Staff November 21, 2016

Curiosity uses cookies to improve site performance, for analytics and for advertising. By continuing to use our site, you accept our use of cookies, our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.