Most barber shops in India end the haircut with a head and neck massage. This is arguably the best part of the trip, aside from looking clean and fresh.
Getting a massage can give you immense satisfaction and make you feel refreshed, especially when it is from a professional. But how safe are these barbershop massages? As for one Indian man, he learned the answer to that question the hard way.
Like countless Indian men, Ajay Kumar was waiting for the neck-crack after his haircut. Although the swift jerk of the head was probably pretty satisfying, he had no idea that a lot of suffering was waiting for him.
Ajay had a hard time breathing after leaving the barbershop. His condition became alarming and he was later rushed to the hospital. The incident happened back in 2017, and Ajay was 54 years old at the time.
As it turned out, Ajay ruptured his phrenic nerves because of the barber’s untrained hands. The phrenic nerves control the diaphragm, an essential muscle involved in breathing, and the neck-crack damaged it.
The medics took an MRI scan and found out that Ajay had severe injuries to his neck. This was apparently caused due to the innocent head massage that he had got done from the barbershop.
Dr. Anand Jaiswal, Director of Respiratory and Sleep Medicine at Medanta, a medical institute in New Delhi, said:
“He has been put on non-invasive ventilation for breathing support and may continue to be on it.
The neck massage and neck-crack that hairdressers ritually perform after a haircut can cause long-term damage to neck joints’ surrounding tissues, muscles, nerves or even cause bilateral diaphragmatic paralysis like this mentioned case.”
A neck or back massage that is considered to be a soothing, pain relieving activity can often lead to severe conditions, the experts say. This is also a warning for those who are addicted to cracking their neck on their own as it can potentially cause serious injury.
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