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Last Updated: Saturday, 24 April, 2004, 06:43 GMT 07:43 UK
Warning over 'hair salon stroke'
Hyperextending the neck can damage an artery
A widower has urged women to be careful when visiting the hair salon after his wife died from a stroke.

Malcolm Crabb believes his wife Pamela, 51, suffered so-called Beauty Parlour Stroke Syndrome after her head was bent back while being washed at a salon.

Mr Crabb, 49, said he wanted to "alert others to the dangers of Beauty Parlour Syndrome, especially those with high blood pressure".

"I think there should be warnings in hairdressers about it," he added.

Mrs Crabb suffered her first stroke following a hair appointment in September 2000, but died last week when a second stroke proved fatal.

Her grieving husband says she never fully recovered from the first stroke, which he blames on Beauty Parlour Stroke Syndrome.

After the hair appointment in September 2000 Mrs Crabb felt ill, her speech became slurred and her hands became claw-like.

She felt awful and I didn't know what the matter was - her speech then became slurred and her hands became like claws
Malcolm Crabb

Hospital tests showed that she had suffered a stroke.

A spokesman from the Stroke Association said: "There is no real research to support it as yet but cases have been published in medical journals.

"Although there is not yet a proven link there is anecdotal evidence and we would welcome research into this area."


Experts believe that when the head is pushed backwards onto a sink it can lead to overextension in the neck.

A consultant neurologist at Cumberland Infirmary, David Bateman, said: "If your neck is stretched and it kinks for a long time - as happens during hairwashing - you stretch the arteries and if you are unlucky you can tear them."

Bleeding between layers of tissue can cause blood clots to build up, leading to a stroke, he told the Times.

Mr Crabb remembers that during the first stroke his wife's face "had gone very, very red".

"When she got up she wasn't speaking like she normally would.

"She felt awful and I didn't know what the matter was. Her speech then became slurred and her hands became like claws."

At the hospital she was asked if she had had any neck injuries, and if she had had her hair done recently.

"After that it all fell in to place and we connected the stroke with the way she had her hair washed," Mr Crabb said.

The couple recently moved from their home in Poole, Dorset, to Spain's Costa del Sol because of the hotter climate.

Mr Crabb said: "She was always cold and could never get warm so we decided to move to Spain and we flew over on New Year's day this year."

Five-minute wash

In 1997 medical journal The Lancet published a report by two British doctors about a 42-year-old woman who suffered a stroke after having her hair washed.

The experts said the stroke was due to "dissection of her right internal carotid artery".

Her head had been extended backwards for about five minutes while being washed and after the treatment she felt numb and suffered slurred speech.

She made a partial recovery after being treated with anticoagulants.

The doctors recommended that hairdressers use a cushion and that the neck is not overextended.

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