Elizabeth Entenman
February 28, 2016 10:21 am
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In December 2013, Elizabeth Smith got her hair shampooed at the Blowbunny: Blow Dry & Hair Extension Bar. Little did she know that this simple, everyday action would lead to her having a stroke. Now, according to a doctor’s report, Smith suffers from an “unsteady gait and loss of motor skills in her left hand,” plus impairment in her left eye. All from an afternoon at the salon. How did this happen? And could it happen to us?

If you’ve ever had your hair done at a salon before, you know that getting your hair shampooed and your scalp massaged is one of the most relaxing things in the world. The position you have to sit in, however, is not. You have to crane your neck and tilt back just so to get in the right position. This hyper-extended pose is what Smith says caused her stroke. Now, she’s trying to raise awareness about the issue.

The stroke happened on January 5, 2014, about two weeks after Smith visited the salon. Her lawyers say that because of the hyper-extended pose she assumed while getting her hair shampooed, her vertebrate “cut her vertebral artery.” She also alleges that the chair and shampoo bowl were “defective,” which led to the hyper-extension. The salon denies negligence, saying Smith caused her own injuries by failing to speak up about the discomfort.

Now, more than two years later, Smith still has a clot in her brain that could potentially lead to more damage. “So I do live with that every night. I go to sleep wondering, will I wake up tomorrow?” she told ABC News affiliate KGTV.

Believe it or not, Smith is not the first to experience this tragic outcome. Apparently, the term “beauty parlor stroke” is common among neurologists. “Actually calling it a beauty parlor stroke is relatively common in the teaching,” said Dr. Warren Selman, Director of the Neurological Institute at University Hospitals Case Medical Center. “It’s been reported quite a lot.”

So the next time you get your hair shampooed, be mindful of how your neck feels and the position you’re in. Only you know your own limits. It might sound like a no-brainer, but it can be easy to mistake the awkward discomfort of sitting in the shampooing chair with a pose that could cause some serious damage.

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