Dave Tyler did something he had done thousands of times throughout his life — he went to the hair salon for a haircut.
As Liftable reports, three days after the 45-year-old father of two had his hair cut, he collapsed from a stroke.
Even more shocking than the stroke itself was what caused it in the first place.
According to the Mirror, Tyler said the pain began with a massive headache when he was traveling to London for a work meeting:
“As I travelled there, I felt like I was coming down with something, but I couldn’t work out what it was. Then, as I walked to the meeting, the right side of my body started to go numb and staff in the building had to support me. Then my vision went and I couldn’t walk.”
According to the Daily Mail, he was taken to the hospital before being transferred to London’s National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery. There, a specialist asked him:
“Have you had your haircut recently?”
It was determined that Tyler suffered from “Beauty Salon Stroke Syndrome,” which was caused by the angle his head was tilted into the shampoo bowl. The angle injured his neck and caused a clot to form.
Tyler didn’t see it coming, not picturing himself to be the victim of a stroke, as he told the Mirror:
“It was very frightening, I didn’t know what it was, I associated strokes with older people.”
He was hospitalized for three months following his stroke and sent home in a wheelchair. He endured another six months of recovery before he was healthy enough to go back to work.
Dave Tyler, 45, suffered a massive stroke caused by a blood clot when his head was bent backwards over a basin to… https://t.co/BDoGjKbqy4
— Aust Aphasia Assoc (@AusAphasiaAssoc) January 5, 2017
Tyler was not the first person to come close to losing their life after having his hair washed.
Elizabeth Smith suffered the same fate as Tyler at a salon in San Diego in 2013. She told ABC 10:
“It’s shocking to think such a benign activity can kill you.”
Her strange symptoms — weakness in her left arm and leg — kicked in eight days after her salon visit. She explained:
“I vomited, my head became hot and I couldn’t stand. I had weakness in my arms and legs. They didn’t think I was going to live.”
The woman said her doctors told her that her neck hyperextended her vertebrae, slicing an artery when it moved backward during the hair wash. This caused a clot to form and led to her stroke.
Smith’s attorney, Carree Nahama, said:
“Several of Ms. Smith’s neurologists confirmed with her that the stroke was caused by the vertebra dissecting her artery during her hair wash.”
The mother of two still has health problems years later; she suffers from strength, balance, and vision issues, and the frightening clot still remains in her brain. She said:
“So I do live with that every night. I go to sleep wondering, will I wake up tomorrow?”
In her case, Smith filed a lawsuit against the salon owner, who disputed the mother’s claims.
Tyler also filed a lawsuit against the hair salon for the injuries he incurred; he won $113,000. Unfortunately, he still faces long-lasting problems. He told the Mirror, “How I am now, is how I will be from now on.”
His pain has made it difficult for him to spend time doing what his family loves:
“My younger daughter recently got quite upset because I can no longer go for walks on ground that isn’t really flat.”
But the father has turned his traumatic experience into something positive, by becoming an advocate for educating hairdressers about “Beauty Salon Stroke Syndrome.” He recommends hairdressers put a towel under a person’s neck during hair washing and provide pillows for customers to sit on.
He also suggests customers stay aware of their positioning in the chair, and immediately alert their hairdresser if they begin to feel pain.
According to Liftable, in order to prevent someone from having their blood flow restricted — which can lead to a stroke — the angle at which their head is tilted should be no more than 15 degrees.
People who are most at risk from experiencing “Beauty Salon Stroke Syndrome” are people who already have arthritis of the neck, the elderly, and people who already suffer from weak blood flow to the brain, Liftable added.