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This Case Study Will Make You Think Twice About Cracking Your Neck

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We all do it. Whether you’re sitting at a desk all day or just feel the need to release some tension, popping your neck can be quite a satisfying experience. That is, unless you’re name is Josh Hader.

After suffering from some neck pain for several weeks, Hader thought some light stretching would be a good way to relieve his discomfort. “I went to stretch it,” the 28-year-old told The Washington Post, “and as I was using my hand to apply a little bit more pressure than I probably should have, I heard a pop.”

Just over an hour later, Hader would find himself in a hospital emergency room unable to walk, with one side of his body more or less paralyzed. Doctors immediately told him he had suffered a major stroke caused by a tear in the artery of his neck after a clot had formed. The artery in question was one the vertebral artery in the neck, one that supplies blood to the brain.

Apparently, these kinds of vertebral tears are the most common causes of stroke among 20-30 year olds, and have nothing to do with a person’s health, according to Kazumi Nakagawa, a stroke neurologist who spoke to The Washington Post.

Immediately after Hader popped his neck, he said his left side started to go numb. Knowing this was a telltale sign of a stroke, he checked to see if his was face was drooping, but it appeared to be fine. However, over the course of an hour, he began to have trouble walking straight, eventually requiring a wheelchair to even enter the ER.

A CT scan determined that Hader suffered no bleeding in the brain, so doctors called out to quickly administer a drug known as a tissue plasminogen activator, which is used to dissolve blood clots. Haider was then transferred to Mercy Hospital where he remained in the ICU for several days before being released to a rehabilitation center.

Now, Hader is moving about and walking again. He has been able to help out around the house doing chores and taking care of his 1-year old and 5-year old children.

As for his habit of neck popping, he told The Post “I still wake up every once in a while with the urge, and I have to stop myself. It’s still a struggle, but I definitely don’t want to pop my neck anymore.”

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