Doctor says man cracking his neck caused stroke

A man suffered a stroke by popping his neck, his doctor says.

KOCO reported that 28-year-old Josh Hader, of Guthrie, Oklahoma, twisted his neck as he attempted to pop or crack it.

"The moment I heard the pop, everything on my left side started to go numb," Hader told KOCO. "I got up and tried to get an ice pack from the fridge, and I remember I couldn't walk straight."

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Hader was rushed to the emergency room by his father-in-law. His doctor, Dr. Vance McCollom, at Mercy Hospital in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, said he could have died. It turns out that Hader crushed his vertebral artery, a major neck artery that goes to the brain.

“If you have a stroke in that area, you can end up with a patient who’s locked in,” McCollom said. “They completely understand what’s going on, but they can’t communicate. They can’t move anything. They can't speak. They can’t breathe.”

Related: Signs of stroke: Prevention, risk factors and what to know

McCollom said Hader continues to have issues because of the stroke. For several days after it happened, he had to wear an eye patch because of blurry vision.

“One of the muscles that goes to his eye is weak because the nerve was injured,” McCollom said.

Hader has been undergoing physical therapy in addition to taking medicine after his stroke.

“For the first few days, I couldn't walk without a walker,” Hader said, adding that even though he now walks without it, it’s hard.

“It is difficult to walk with my left leg,” he said.

The stroke has also affected his fatherly duties. He has two children and can’t pick them up from the crib or the floor.

For others who tend to crack or pop their necks, McCollom says there’s a right way to do it.

“If you want to pop your neck, just kind of pop it side to side,” McCollom said. “Don’t twist it. Whenever you twist it, there’s a risk of tearing that vessel.”

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