OKLAHOMA CITY, Ok. — A 28-year-old father says he suffered a major stroke after popping his neck.
“The moment I heard the pop, everything on my left side started to go numb,” said Josh Hader. “I got up and tried to get an ice pack from the fridge, and I remember I couldn’t walk straight.”
Hader’s father-in-law rushed him to the emergency room, where he was surrounded by six or seven nurses and doctors.
“He could have had a life-ending stroke,” said Mercy Hospital Dr. Vance McCollom. “He could have died.”
McCollom looked at Josh’s X-rays and determined Hader tore his vertebral artery, a crucial vessel leading to the brain.
“If you have a stroke in that area you can end up with a patient…They’re locked in. 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.”
Josh’s stroke wasn’t that significant, but it did cause a lot of damage.
“One of the muscles that goes to his eye is weak, because the nerve was injured,” said McCollom.
He had to wear an eye patch for several days. His doctors decided his condition was best treated with medicine and physical therapy.
“For the first few days, I couldn’t walk without a walker,” he said.
Even though the walker is now put away, he still has a lot of trouble and a strange side effect.
“I had hiccups for about a week and a half straight,” he said.
They were so painful, they nearly caused a panic attack. The most difficult part has been emotional, he said, as he’s not able to help his wife and two young children.
“I can’t pick him up out of the crib, or give him milk in the middle of the night,” he said. “I can’t do any of that.”
His doctors say he will likely always have consequences of a stroke.
“If you want to pop your neck, just kind of pop it side to side,” said McCollom. “Don’t twist it. Whenever you twist it there’s a risk of tearing that vessel. Say my hand is his head, I suspect he just turned it real sharply and then sharp and up and back. That’s what really pinched it.”