‘Neck-manipulation can lead to vertebral artery dissection, immediate strokes’

Dr Parvaiz Koul, Director, Sher-i-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences (SKIMS) in a series of tweets asked people to avoid neck manipulation or neck cracking, as it could lead to serious health issues.
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Srinagar: Most of the people complete their visit to a saloon with a free head massage or “Neck-manipulation”. However, doctors in Kashmir have frowned on this practice and have asked people to avoid “neck-manipulation”, as it could lead to vertebral artery dissection and immediate strokes.

This condition is commonly known as ‘Beauty Salon Stroke Syndrome’. This occurs when the neck is hyper-extended to some extent as a result of a jerk or certain pressure while having our hair shampooed and remaining in that position for an extended period of time.

Dr Parvaiz Koul, Director, Sher-i-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences (SKIMS) in a series of tweets asked people to avoid neck manipulation or neck cracking, as it could lead to serious health issues.

“Neck manipulation/Neck cracking is banned in many countries but is routinely done by barbers/beauty parlour personnel in our region. Can lead to vertebral artery dissection and immediate strokes. Must be avoided at all costs. Don't allow any neck manipulations by barbers,” he said.

“Cannot make a sweeping statement but senior professionals in chiropractice have cautioned against this practice to be adopted routinely. Honestly, I wouldn’t advise chiropractice for the neck. Too risky…,” he said in a tweet.

Dr Showkat Hassan, a valley-based Neurologist told Greater Kashmir that men and women folk who visit salons and barber shops should avoid neck manipulations as it is very dangerous and can lead to severe medical conditions.

He said that these manipulations can lead to nerve and vessel damages. “If any vessel gets damaged, it can lead to vertebral artery dissection and can even cause death to the patient,” he said. Dr Hassan said that not only at saloons, people who go for neck therapies, should check the credentials of a particular person, as there are many quacks in the market, who don’t have knowledge and end up damaging the nerves of patients. “People who have Osteoporosis, herniated disks should avoid such manipulations,” he said.

Dr Masood Rashid, Consultant Anaesthesia and Critical Care said that in 2008, medical representative from downtown Srinagar reported to SMHS casualty with signs of dizziness after neck massage at barber shop. “After few hours his Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) fell to 3. Patient was put on a ventilator ward, died after two days,” he said. Doctors said that due to neck manipulation or a message, there is no proper blood supply, which affects the brain.

Dr Mir Mushtaq, a prominent valley based Orthopedic doctor told Greater Kashmir that people need to take these things seriously. Most of the people are unaware about these neck manipulations. "The stroke is caused by sudden flexion while getting their hair washed at the salon. Putting the cold water on their neck and head creates problems in the blood supply to the brain. In some cases, tear or dissection of the arteries cause formation of blood clots at the base of the skull which cause a major stroke in the brain," he said

However, doctors said people need not to panic but to remain cautious. They said that there are many reasons and health conditions which could lead to this kind of stroke.

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