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His Neck Was Sore. What He Did for Relief Caused a Stroke

Oklahoma's Josh Hader suffered major stroke after neck-popping tore arteries
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted May 3, 2019 2:09 PM CDT
Sore neck? Think twice before popping it.   (Getty Images/ChesiireCat)

(Newser) – A sore neck that was nagging an Oklahoma man for weeks prompted him to try some stretching for relief—which led to an accidental popping of it, with unexpected and serious consequences. Josh Hader, 28, pressed down a little too hard on March 14 as he was applying his hand on his neck, and after he heard the pop, he tells CNN the left side of his body started to go numb and he found himself unable to walk in a straight line. His father-in-law rushed him to the ER, where he was given tissue plasminogen activator, or tPA, to break up any blood clots, then sent over to Mercy Hospital in Guthrie, where it was determined he'd had a stroke.

What Hader had suffered was a vertebral artery tear, or dissection, which can cause strokes in younger patients that have nothing to do with how healthy they are, notes the Washington Post. "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," said a doctor who treated him, adding to KOCO: "He could have died." The after-effects of the stroke have been serious—an injured nerve to one of his eyes, fatigue, off-balance walking, lack of much feeling on his right side, even two straight weeks of hiccups that McCollum said may have been spurred because the stroke took place at the base of the brain—but Hader has been through rehab and says he's getting better and is "good emotionally." (Read more strange stuff stories.)

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