Neck injury during yoga caused stroke in an influencer

Our neck being very vulnerable must not be subjected to extreme bending positions. Especially the backward bend is way more dangerous. Way back, I had posted about the "Sink Shampoo Syndrome", also called as "Beauty Parlor / Salon Stroke Syndrome" which is caused by leaning back into the hard portion of the salon sink with the neck tilted backwards, either for a head massage or for shampooing hair. Apparently, placing the neck in such an awkward position can not just cause severe neck pain but also lead to life threatening conditions like stroke. Read all about it in "Can a shampoo session in a beauty parlor trigger strokes?"

woman bending her head backwards during yoga pose

Recently a yoga practitioner and an instagram / YouTube influencer Rebecca Leigh had a stroke while doing a hollowback headstand yoga pose. She tore a cartoid artery, apparently sending blood to her brain. Extreme neck movement has been associated with cartoid artery tears, which can cause strokes. When I was reading about this, I was reminded of the  "beauty parlour syndrome" and the dangers of hyper-extending the neck backwards about which I had written earlier.


Rebecca Leigh, 40, from Gambrills, Maryland, had been filming a tutorial for her 26,000 social media fans just hours before the injury. 

Her vision became blurry, her limbs weak and she had headaches, but she at first thought she had slipped a disc in her neck, having had similar symptoms when she done so in her twenties.

Two days later, after seeing a doctor, she was shocked to discover that despite being young and healthy, she had suffered a stroke and was at risk of another any minute thanks. 

It is believed she tore her right carotid artery in her neck while performing a 'hollowback' handstand.

Today, Mrs Leigh cannot speak for more than a few minutes due to nerve damage, has daily headaches and has severe memory loss. 

But Mrs Leigh revealed just one month after the terrifying experience, she was back on her mat and she still practices yoga for an hour every day. 

Leigh had shared her story with the media to help people who might have had similar issues and to warn them about the risks of certain yoga poses but unfortunately she was subjected to criticism ,shamed and abuses were heaped on her.

woman bending backwards for a difficult yoga pose on the beach
Extreme neck bends while doing yoga might lead to injury and sometimes stroke.

Whether you are doing neck exercises or  yoga poses that demand extreme movements of the neck or going for a shampoo session at a beauty salon, be cautious and careful enough to not injure your neck as it can lead to catastrophic consequences, as we have seen.  And even if you have doubts about the slightest injury to the neck either after doing exercises or after a visit to the beauty parlour, do not neglect the symptoms and rush to your doctor at the earliest.

So will you follow this advice? Have you ever done such vigorous yoga poses with extreme bends? Do share in the comments.

woman doing a difficult yoga pose by bending her neck backwards

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