An Oklahoma father-of-two suffered a stroke after he cracked his neck while stretching, but is now recovering.
Josh Hader, 28, was working from home in March when he went to stretch his neck, which had been sore for a week, and heard a pop.
Suddenly, he felt numb and was unable to walk straight.
His father-in-law rushed him to their local emergency room in Guthrie, where doctors determined he had suffered a stroke.
Hader told DailyMail.com that doctors told him that, as he cracked his neck, he had twisted it so quickly, that he had accidentally torn a blood vessel leading from his neck to his brain, which caused the stroke.
As soon as he felt the numbness come on, Hader said he went to the mirror to check his face for tell-tale signs of a stroke.
He used to be a police offer and had seen strokes occur in others in the past.
'I didn't see any drooping so I go to get an ice pack, and I couldn't walk straight,' Hader said. 'I quite literally was walking at a 45-degree angle.'
He called his wife, Rebecca, who was out with her mother at the time. She called her father, who lives nearby, and he drove Hader to Mercy Hospital in Guthrie.
By the time they arrived at the ER, Hader was having trouble focusing and couldn't move his left side.
'When I went to get a CT scan, I couldn't move from the ER bed to the CT machine. I had to have someone help me,' he said.
Doctors determined that he had suffered a stroke, which occurs when an artery or a blood vessel that carries oxygen or nutrients to the brain bursts or becomes blocked.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says strokes occur in 795,000 Americans each year and kill around 140,000.
Hader suffered what's known as an ischemic stroke, which occurs when blood flow is blocked to the brain - typically by a blood clot - and makes up the majority of strokes.
Dr Vance McCollom, a radiologist at Mercy Hospital and of Hader's physicians, told KOCO that Hader had torn 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 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.'
Although the artery, tore, there was no bleeding into the brain, just a clot.
Hader was immediately given tPA, which dissolves a blood clot and improves blood flow to the part of the brain that was deprived.
Doctors then had him transferred to Mercy Hospital in Oklahoma City.
Hader was in the ICU for five days and then was in inpatient rehabilitation for about a week-and-a-half.
The stroke didn't affect Hader's cognitive function, speech or swallowing, but he did need physical and occupational therapy for balance and learn how to use his left leg again.
He also suffered double and blurry vision and had to wear an eye patch over his left eye for three days.
Bizarrely, Hader also suffered from a constant bout of hiccups for about two weeks.
'They were bad, nothing could make them go away,' he said. 'At one point, I couldn't breathe. I had to sit up and gasp for air.'
Doctors aren't sure what caused the hiccups, but believe it was simply Hader's body reacting to a traumatic event.
Now, Hader has gotten better at walking without a walker and is no longer hesitant when it comes to caring for his five-year-old daughter, Wrigley, and one-year-old son, Oliver.
It's been a month since his stretch turned into a stroke - and Hader is still dealing with some residual effects.
'I still have balancing issues and walking exhausts me a lot faster than it used to,' he said.
'Also my left side still tingles and, even though strokes are supposed to affect one side, I don't feel sharp pain or hot or cold in my right arm.'
Hader said that he doesn't advise against popping the neck, but just says to do it with care.
'Popping your neck is not the worst thing ever, just be careful when you're doing it and realize your body isn't invulnerable,' he said.
Source: The Daily Mail