The way he twisted the neck also resulted in weakness, double vision, and his left side going completely numb.
A 28-year-old man from Guthrie, Oklahoma, had a stroke when he popped his neck, reports CNN. On March 14, 2019, Josh Hader had a sore neck which he was trying to stretch out when he accidentally popped it. As soon as it happened, he walked to the kitchen to get an ice-pack but couldn't walk straight. "I kept walking at almost a 45-degree [angle] to the left. The moment I heard the pop, everything on my left side started to go numb," Hader said. He said that it was his father-in-law who took him to the ER. He was given TPA (Tissue plasminogen activator) which helps break up clots. Post this, he was taken to Mercy Hospital and was in the ICU for four days before he was sent to inpatient therapy.
According to ABC13, Hader had a tear in his vertebral artery, which caused a stroke. The tear was found when they took an arterial gram. On taking an arterial gram, it showed that the artery was compromised because of the tear, which led to a stroke. According to CNN, Dr. Vance McCollom who treated him at Mercy Hospital said that though it was critical, the stroke could have been worse. "When he popped his neck, he tore arteries that go to the bone of the neck, where the neck joins the skull at the base of the brain. The way he twisted the neck caused a bisection." He added, "When he arrived, Hader had numbness, weakness, double vision, and his left side was numb."
Hader had to wear an eye patch for several weeks, too. This was because the stroke caused a nerve injury, which led to a weakness in one of the muscles going to his eye. However, one of the worst side-effects he experienced was incessant hiccups. "Those were terrible. Literally, two weeks of straight hiccups since the stroke happened. Towards the end, they would make it almost impossible for me to breathe for a few seconds, and that was scary," he said. According to McCollom, the hiccups were a result of the location of the stroke i.e. at the base of the brain.
It has been a little over a month since the incident and Hader is recuperating well. He doesn't need constant help and can live independently. "Currently, I can walk without a walker or cane, but I get tired much faster than before. My balance is still a little off, but it's not terrible. My left side tingles a little and feels heavier than it used to. I also don't have as much control of that side as I used to. My right side doesn't feel sharp pain or hot/cold."
Commenting on Hader's condition, McCollom says that this wasn't the first time he'd seen someone with that kind of stroke. He said, "We have partners coming to the hospital with more serious stuff, due to chiropractic manipulation, by popping neck by a professional." He also suggested that if one wants to pop their neck, they should just pop it side to side and not twist it.
According to ABC News, Dr. Nura Orra, a family medicine physician and member of the ABC News Medical Unit, opines that cracking the neck "places the vertebral artery in a precarious position prone for injury. Studies have shown a correlation between increased risk of stroke and people who get their necks manipulated." She added that the 'popping' or 'cracking' likely led to one because "a tear in the lining of the artery caused an obstruction of blood flow to the brain."
When asked how is doing now, Hader says, "I'm good emotionally. Like I said before, it's still a struggle walking long distances, but it's getting much better." For Hader, the hardest part was not being able to help his wife take care of their youngest son "I can't pick him up out of the crib, give him milk in the middle of the night," he said. "I can't do any of that."
Here's wishing Hader a speedy recovery!