It’s something we all do on a regular basis. The time where your hair is just too messy, too long, generally out of control, or you’re just in need of a new look. You’re starting to look and feel a bit like a person who has gone to seed and it’s time to visit the salon to get your hair taken care of by someone who knows what they’re doing.
So when Dave Tyler, a father of two and successful sound engineer, went to Headmasters Salon in Brighton, England, he had no idea that his health and his life were about to go off the rails. All because of a haircut.
As Tyler was attended to by the technicians, they bent his head backward in order to give him a full shampoo and wash. His neck was fully extended back for many minutes, pressed up against the porcelain sink. At the end of the appointment, Tyler didn’t feel any different, except for the new look.
But two days later during a business meeting, he suddenly collapsed.
As he told the Daily Mail, “I felt the whole side of my body go numb and while waiting for the ambulance my eyes went ping and started rolling. This made me nauseous so I was sick.” Even worse, when he tried to drink some water to help calm himself, he couldn’t swallow and vomited. “Because I wasn’t able to swallow, I ingested some of the vomit into my lungs and developed pneumonia.”
Tyler was rushed to the hospital, where doctors realized that he was suffering from a stroke. Once he had been stabilized, a neurologist asked him the very unusual question: “Have you had your hair cut recently?” as Tyler shared with the Mail. Then a bell rang for the confused man. He told the doctors about his recent visit to Headmasters.
According to the Mail, “doctors told Mr. Tyler that he had suffered an initial blood clot in the salon which had given him the headaches. The clot burst two days later, sending lots of smaller clots into his brain – blocking the blood supply and causing a stroke, known as a lateral medullary syndrome.”
But how could leaning back for a head wash lead to a deadly blood clot? Medical experts believe that when a person leans back into the sink, they can hyperextend the main artery that runs from the spine to the brain. The artery can be blocked or even torn by this movement, leading to blood clots that cut off the blood supply to the brain.
Customer wins £90k from hair salon after shampoo and rinse gives him a stroke https://t.co/ZKcXXPKPe8
— Daily Mail U.K. (@DailyMailUK) December 11, 2016
From being a prominent sound engineer who could pride himself on having worked with British music industry giants including Simply Red, Blur, and Radiohead, Tyler was left with a series of debilitating health problems.
As he told the Mail, “I will never drive again because I have permanently wobbly double vision.” After spending a substantial period in a wheelchair, he now has to use a cane in order to steady himself as he walks.
Given the disastrous consequences of his blood clot, Tyler sued Headmasters and was awarded a 90,000 pound (US$140,000) settlement, given that the salon employees hadn’t used enough padding underneath his neck to prevent pinching and extension of the artery.
What can you do to make sure the same fate doesn’t befall you at the salon?
- Ask your hairstylist to put something underneath your neck that provides significant padding to make sure your artery doesn’t get overextended.
- You can also ask to forgo a 90-degree angle, having them tilt your head at a diagonal angle so your neck isn’t too stretched out.
- You can even ask for a wash with your head bent over forward. While this might result in some water getting in your face, it’s much better than risking a stroke.
As Tyler looks back on all the activities he used to enjoy with his daughters and in his career, he simply feels a sense of resignation. As he told the Mail, “those days are over.” Don’t let this happen to you!