Salon Allergy Specialist

Salon Allergy Specialist

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Salon Sink Injury? Your Not Alone...

You can be injured when getting your hair shampooed. It's true. I have been doing hair for 30+ years, and I hadn't realized how dangerous this can be. I am so thankful that I had been properly trained to do shampoos! I had been contacted by a blog reader who thought she was having a PPD reaction. She was having "Salon Sink Radiculopathy". (I am not a doctor, I am a licensed cosmetologist. I can NOT diagnose ANYTHING. Please see your doctor for a diagnosis!) At the time, her pain was so similar to the pain from PPD, that I was unable to distinguish any difference from where I was, across the continent, on my computer. She saw several doctors, I told her not to despair. I gave her pep talks. Most of all, I was trying to recommend she not buy expensive things to put on her scalp to try to sooth it. It seemed that there were a lot of people who had very expensive over the counter products that would work miracles. Snake oil sales be damned! There is NOTHING that will work miracles except time, and the ones that actually work are NOT $50, $60 or more.  She finally found a doctor who had experience with this situation. Now she has a permanent situation that is painful, with permanent, debilitating nerve damage.  It all could have been avoided if one person had been more caring.

Vertebrobasilar circulatory disorders are conditions in which blood supply to the back of the brain is disrupted.
 Most common symptoms may include:
  • Difficulty saying words
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Double vision or vision loss
  • Numbness or tingling most often on the face or scalp
  • Slurred speech
  • Sudden falls (drop attacks)
  • Vertigo (sensation of things spinning around)
  • Memory loss
Other symptoms that may occur include:
  • Bladder or bowel control problems
  • Difficulty walking (unsteady gait)
  • Headache
  • Hearing loss
  • Muscle weakness
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Neck ache
  • Pain in one or more parts of the body, which gets worse with touch and cold temperatures
  • Poor Coordination
  • Sleepiness or even apparent sleep from which the person cannot be awakened
  • Sudden, uncoordinated movements
  • Sweating on the face, arms, or legs
According to the American Journal of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, (June2002:81:395-399) vertabral blood flow was not reduced when the three positions checked were monitored, but there was a significant change in carotid blood flow when cervical neck support was not used. They also indicated that 84%  experienced pain without cervical support, as opposed to 32% experiencing pain with cervical support.

The three positions used  were 1) reclined with a pillow 2) Salon sink with cervical support for 12 minutes and 3) Salon sink without cervical support for 12 minutes NO CERVICAL ROTATION WAS DONE

Authors made note that "If we had included cervical rotation,  the results would have been even more dramatic."

 The timing of 12 minute durations were for shampoos and measurements because "other reports have indicated that that sustained ischemia [deficiency of blood supply] of more than 15 minutes seems to be poorly tolerated and may lead to infarct." [Infarct means death to the surrounding area, or tissue from lack of blood flow]
  NEVER, EVER Allow a client to lay in the sink with or without a chemical unless they are comfortable. Always ask them if they prefer to sit up, even if it is for one minute.


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Six varieties of the Spurling test are shown, including (A) lateral bending and compression; (B) lateral bending, rotation, and compression; (C) extension and compression; (D) extension and lateral bending; (E) extension, lateral bending, and compression; and (F) extension, rotation, and compression.
 (This photo was taken from PubMed

 I currently use an old sink that is cast iron and porcelain, the first sink style that was made for client comfort. The company began in 1927, in Belvedere, Illinois, and their sinks are known as the "one with the dip in it." They had ten employees, and a new concept "designed specifically for the comfort of the salon customer." Eighty-five years later they are still going strong. It took me five months to find this sink! It's blurry, because I've never tried to include a professional photo of it before. You might have to use your imagination a bit. The lip of the sink is wide, and the chair runs up to the edge. There is no gap, and you can use a towel to adjust each person as they recline. If they are very tall, they slide down in the chair. If they are too short, I have a pillow to place under them to "boost' them up. If they are still uncomfortable, I will move the chair out of the way, and they can stand with their head tipped forward. This is the safest way, if there is any cervical problem at all.

 I place a clean towel on every client's neck, and help them lean back. I ask them if they need a pillow, or if they feel okay. I also have a chair near by in case they want to put their feet on it. My chair is from the 1970's, so it doesn't have the raised foot rest. I make sure that they have their neck comfortable, and then I adjust the water, I wet their hair, and turn the water off. I make sure to tell the client that if they lift their head up, they may get water down their back. I will lift up their head for them. I only lift up,and only a small amount. If I need them to turn, I ask THEM to look to the left, or right side for me. I also tell them to let me know if there is any discomfort, this is relax time.

The sink with the attached chair look like this:

"The Beauty Parlor Stroke", according to the Journal of American Medical Association, included "a variety of complaints attributable to poor blood flow in arteries leading through the neck to the back of the brain, including severe dizziness, imbalance and facial numbness. Four out of five suffered strokes leading to permanent neurologic damage." This means that if you have symptoms at the salon, you need to address them. As we age, your carotid arteries are not as flexible as they used to be. You want to make sure that you don't have downward pressure placed on your head. If you have had any cervical issues, shampoo before you leave home, or face forward in the sink. Don't be a statistic.

Things that are important:

1) You should be comfortable at the sink. Your shampoo should feel GOOD.

2) If your not comfortable, use your mouth until you are. You can always turn around and face forward!

3)Your nerve endings for your entire body run from your skull, through your neck, down your extremities. You don't pay attention to this until they cause you pain!  

Do you have a story about what happened to you? Send it to me at