Q: I have heard that for some seniors there is a risk of stroke in getting their hair washed at a beauty salon because of the way people need to lean back in order for their hair to be washed. Is this true and if so what can be done to avoid this?
The answer, according to Dr. Robert Butler of Everyday Health, is that Salon-stroke syndrome does indeed exist.
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The danger is a result of the stress upon arteries in the neck that go to the brain. If these arteries are pinched or kinked, clots can develop. It is an alarming situation, since most people are unaware that having their hair done is a risk for stroke.
However, it is an extremely rare event. For the record, though, tilting the head back is not a good idea for anybody.
Salon-stroke syndrome usually occurs in older women, especially those with some forms of arthritis. It has been recommended that older people with arthritis in their neck avoid having their hair washed at an angle in which they need to lean back more than 15 to 20 degrees. Instead, they can lean forward over the sink.