Massage at salon - Timely diagnosis, treatment saved him: Doctors

A haircut along with a complimentary head and neck massage at Rs 100 -the package was irresistible.Babu Reddy, 40, walked into a salon near his home on a fateful day in May. But the 30-minute session proved too costly for the Banaswadi businessman.A crick in the neck following the massage gave him a stroke.
When Babu sat on the swivel chair, all he expected was relaxation. The salon employee massaged Babu till he heard a crack in his neck. Instead of being alarmed, he thought it was an indication of a successful massage. When Babu started to walk back home, he realized something was amiss. “I felt uneasy , dizzy and couldn't walk steadily,“ he said. I thought I needed a little rest and managed to reach home,“ said Babu, who was admitted to the emergency ward of Columbia Asia Hospital in Whitefield in the next 48 hours in an unconscious state. His breathing was irregular and blood pressure was shooting up.

Dr Mahesh Sambasivam, a consultant neurosurgeon at Columbia Asia, said: “He had to be stabilized with medications and airway maintenance: insertion of an endotracheal tube. He was put on ventilator.MRI scans showed a tear in a major artery supplying blood to the hind brain, which resulted in acute vertebro-basilar stroke.“ Doctors got to know that Babu was a regular at the salon and often opted for head and neck massage, which always ended with a crick in his neck. They blamed his condition on the lack of training and efficiency of the salon staff.

“The patient suffered from vertebral artery dissection, which is an important cause of cerebral stroke in young and middle-aged men, who have no lifestyle disorders like diabetes or hypertension. Babu doesn't have any other medical complications and was fortunate to have sur vived the stroke. Had it not been for timely diagnosis and treatment, the condition could have caused permanent disability or even death,“ added Dr Mahesh.

Explaining the severity of the stroke, he said: “It is a very unusual neurological problem, which is often underdiagnosed and underreported as head massages are not delivered by professionals in our country . But there is no point enforcing rules on local salons. It would be wiser on the client's part not to avail such complimentary services.“

Babu told TOI on Monday: “I was shocked. I underwent intensive treatment for over 10 days. To be fully cured, I have to be on medication and undergo neurorehabilitation. I am not in a state to file a police complaint.Also, since I chose to avail the package, I cannot blame the salon alone.“


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