We all visit barber shops for hair cut or bear trimming. And you must have noted that before finishing the job, barber usually asks for head message. Many a time people say no and those who say yes gets one message after which many people feel fresh.
In the usual message the barber holds your chin and tilts the neck sharply left to right and at time you may hear a sound too. But before agreeing for a message at your local barber shop, it is important to read this report published in Times of India.
In this report, 54-year-old Ajay Kumar who got a message narrates his story. A neck crack turned out to be a risky one for him as it damaged his phrenic nerves that control the diaphragm, which in turn controls breathing.
Kumar, 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,” Dr Anand Jaiswal, director of respiratory and sleep medicine at Medanta – The Medicity told TOI.
As the nerve rarely regenerates spontaneously, the doctor said Kumar may need ventilator support throughout his life.
Dr Jaiswal warned people against getting a neck massage at saloons. “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,” the doctor said.
“While examining him, we noticed Kumar had a paradoxical breathing pattern. His chest was moving inward instead of expanding. This abnormal chest movement affected the breathing pattern and led to a drop in his blood oxygen levels,” explained Jaiswal, adding: “As we investigated the possible reasons for the paradoxical breathing, a neurological examination revealed Kumar was suffering from a damaged phrenic nerve. Because he had no other existing illness to explain it, and literature had some examples about neck-crack causing such problem, we questioned Kumar and found that his neck massage had caused the condition.”