One Woman Is Suing Her Salon After A "Beauty Parlor Stroke"

Photo: Getty Images.
Getting your hair washed at the salon is among life's greatest pleasures — but could it be dangerous? The story of a California woman arguing as much has gone viral, after she filed a lawsuit through attorneys saying a rough shampoo job led to a stroke two weeks later, ABC News reports.

Elizabeth Smith claims that the chair and shampoo bowl were defective, and that her neck was hyper-extended, which caused a cut in her vertebral artery, according to court documents obtained by ABC News. (An email to the salon in question was not immediately returned, but KGTV in San Diego, as well as ABC News, reported that the salon owner disputes all claims.)

“I had weakness in my left arm and leg,” Smith, 48, told Buzzfeed. “I just didn’t feel right. I was standing up to point, and I couldn’t stand. But by the time the paramedics had arrived, my symptoms had resolved.” Another six days passed before her symptoms progressed to nausea and vomiting and she went to the hospital, where she was diagnosed with a stroke, she says.

As scary (and crazy) as this sounds, it turns out this isn't unheard of. Experts know this phenomenon as Beauty Parlor Stroke Syndrome, which can happen if your neck is hyper-extended and damage to arteries occurs during a shampoo sesh. In fact, Warren Selman, MD, Director of the Neurological Institute at University Hospitals Case Medical Center, told ABC News that any time your neck is hyper-extended this is possible, which is why doctors ask patients with stroke symptoms in the ER if they've fallen or been on a roller coaster recently.

The good news: The condition is rare, though it's hard to quantify, according to a 2006 case report from the journal Cerebrovascular Diseases. The phenomenon was first reported in 1993 in a study that included just five case reports. And although there isn't much research on the topic, from the case reports it does seem that the condition is more likely to affect older people, and those with atherosclerosis (or hardening of the arteries). As the authors of the 2006 report write, "It can be prevented by changing the shampoo routine from the hanging head position to a flexed or neutral position."

If you ever feel uncomfortable during a wash, speak up and change positions. But also know that this is not a reason to skip that luxurious trip to the salon.

More from Body

On principle, I am skeptical of any internet health recommendation that has the word “challenge” tacked on to the end of it. These wellness fads come and...
Although he had been dead for decades, Jim Morrison said something a few years ago that shocked people. He wasn’t speaking from beyond the grave, but in ...
In April, I ran a story called “The Medium-Sized Woman Problem.” The “problem,” of course, was not the women themselves, but the way in which we frame ...
Pregnant women get a lot of advice about motherhood, even when they don't ask for it. And in the first episode of Expecting, from Refinery29's comedy ...
Jill Krause writes about all things mom, parenting, and relationships at her blog, Baby Rabies, and she has some words of advice for the non-pregnant ...
Let me introduce you all to the love of my life, Sienna Harper Gernon! I've never felt love like it! @justchrisgernon thank you so much, you have been...
Ragazzi mi state seguendo in tanti e vorrei ringraziarvi e scusarmi se non riesco a rispondere a tutti...vi proprio ho una foto che mi ricorda tutte ...
(Paid Content) Stress sweat is different from regular sweat in that it feeds off bacteria and causes odor. Then you start to think about it — producing ...
Update: Kopp's original Facebook post has been removed, and, as Shape reports, the chances of contracting an infection so severe that draining is ...
Breast-feeding has numerous benefits for both mother and baby, but it doesn't always come as naturally as we might assume. And, as one viral photo shows, ...
Last week, Kelly Stanley was breast-feeding her 9-month-old baby during dinner when someone else at her table decided to grab a cloth napkin and try to ...
Periods may be annoying, but at least they're predictable — sort of. If yours is a little delayed this cycle, and you're not trying to get pregnant right ...
It sustains life. It boosts immunity. It may or may not taste like the milk left over from a bowl of Lucky Charms. (Full disclosure: I sampled mine just ...
Gina Rodriguez is the master of keeping it real. She's been open about everything from losing her virginity to coping with thyroid disease, so it makes ...