Beware, neck massage at barber shop may leave you paralysed

19 September 2017, 08:36 PM
Dr Anand Jaiswal cautioned people against getting a neck massage at salons (YouTube grab)
Dr Anand Jaiswal cautioned people against getting a neck massage at salons (YouTube grab)

Who doesn’t love a relaxing, soothing head massage, followed by the neck, especially after the haircut at the salon? 

Most barbershops in India offer this massage as part of the routine haircut and it often ends with the `neck-crack', when the barber holds you by the chin and turns the neck sharply to the left and right. 

The otherwise harmless looking neck-wreck proved very costly for a 54-year-old man who went through the same procedure at the salon and came home feeling revitalized only to experience severe breathlessness.

Upon investigations, it was revealed that he had suffered a neck crack during the massage which damaged his phrenic nerves that control the diaphragm, which in turn controls breathing. 

The man, a PSU employee, had to be put on mechanical ventilation. 

"He has been put on non-invasive ventilation for breathing support and may continue to be on it," said Dr Anand Jaiswal, director of respiratory and sleep medicine at Medanta. - The Medicity. Jaiswal said the man’s diaphragm was paralysed and he may need ventilator support throughout his life because the nerve rarely regenerates spontaneously.

Dr Anand Jaiswal also cautioned people against getting a neck massage at salons.

"The neck massage and neck-crack that barbers ritually perform after a haircut can cause long-term damage to neck joints and surrounding tissues, muscles or nerves or even cause bilateral diaphragmatic paralysis like in this case," Dr Jaiswal said.

First Published: Tuesday, September 19, 2017 08:29 PM
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