Many of my patients complain of vertigo at the hair salon, especially while getting their hair shampooed. In this article, I will discuss three possible reasons for vertigo at the hair salon.

I always recommend notifying your primary care provider about any vertigo at the salon. They may want to order special tests or make specialty referrals.

BPPV Can Cause Vertigo at the Hair Salon

One of the most common causes of vertigo at the hair salon is BPPV. This condition is caused when dislodged crystals in your inner ear become displaced.

When you lean back into the shampoo bowl at the hair salon, BPPV can cause you to spin. In most cases, symptoms last for less than a minute.

The spinning may occur again after you sit back up. Again, this symptom typically lasts for less than a minute.

What to Do

If you think your vertigo at the hair salon might be caused by BPPV, you can search for a provider who can treat it using this article.

You can learn more about BPPV here and here.

Upper Cervical Dizziness is a Possibility

Although not commonly thought of, neck problems can cause vertigo at the salon.

The pressure of the shampoo bowl pressing up on your neck can affect the alignment of your neck bones. If your neck bones shift out of alignment, in some cases, this can cause neck-related dizziness or vertigo.

Typically, this occurs in patients with a history of neck trauma, neck pain, neck stiffness, or other neck problems. But theoretically, anyone can have cervical vertigo at the salon.

What to Do

To learn more about upper cervical dizziness, click here.

For suggestions on what type of provider can typically help with cervical vertigo, click here.

Cerebellar Infarction is Worst Case Scenario

The so-called beauty parlor stroke cannot be dismissed as a possible cause of vertigo at the hair salon. That is why notifying your primary care provider is important, especially the first time it happens.

Some patients with vulnerable structures in their neck anatomy can experience a reduction of blood flow through their vertebral artery. This is especially concerning while the neck is hyperextended into the shampoo bowl.

Older adults and patients with a history of neck trauma have a higher risk of insufficient blood flow when leaning back into the shampoo bowl. This is one possible cause of a beauty parlor stroke.

To read a case study on a patient who experienced this, click here.

What to Do

Follow your primary care provider’s recommendations for any imaging or referrals you might need. Adhere to the treatment plan that your doctors suggest to recover from this incident.


This blog is provided for informational and educational purposes only. The content and any comments by Dr. Kim Bell, DPT are not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. The details of any case mentioned in this post represent a typical patient that Dr. Bell might see and do not describe the circumstances of a specific individual.

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