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Health: Beauty Parlor Stroke Syndrome Is A Dangerous Possibility

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- Going to the hair salon should be a relaxing and pampering experience, but it could also be a dangerous one because of the position of your head when it's in the shampoo bowl.

For 48-year-old Elizabeth Smith, she says getting her hair washed at a salon nearly killed her. "I was in shock, how could that happen to me," asked Smith.

Almost two weeks after her salon visit, doctors told Smith she suffered a stroke.

Smith says doctors determined it was the position of her head in a wash basin that probably caused a blood clot leading to a stroke.

"Initially I couldn't walk at all, it hit both sides of my body but more my left," she said. "I couldn't move my left arm at all."

It turns out this condition is called Beauty Parlor Stroke Syndrome.

Doctors says it's rare, but it can happen when necks are hyper-extended.

"When a patient is leaning their head back, you could possibly tear or irritate these posterior circulation or have these kind of strokes, " explained neurologist Dr. Clifford Segil.

Smith is a single mom and two years after her stroke she still has dizziness and vision loss; so much so she fell recently, leaving her with a black eye.

Doctors say if she suffers a second stroke she could die.

Smith is suing her salon and warns others to be careful. Doctors recommend using towels to prop up your head in the wash bowl so you're not tilting it more than twenty degrees.

They also recommend having your hair washed by flipping your hair forward with your face down towards the bowl.

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