A 28-year-old man in Oklahoma experienced a stroke after simply cracking his neck, according to news reports.
The man, Josh Hader, had felt discomfort in his neck for a few weeks, and thought some neck stretches might help, according to the Washington Post. But as he was stretching his neck, he "heard a pop," Hader told the Post.
Then, Hader's left side went numb and he "couldn’t walk straight," the Post reported. Hader was rushed to the emergency room, where doctors determined he'd torn an artery in his neck and had a stroke.
Specifically, Hader's neck-cracking caused a tear in one of his neck's main arteries, a condition known as cervical artery dissection. This condition, which can be caused by blunt trauma to the neck, is known to increase the risk of stroke, according to the Cleveland Clinic. A stroke can occur if a blood clot forms at the site of the tear and blocks the flow of blood to the brain.
A stroke caused by neck cracking is rare, but it can happen. In March, a woman in the United Kingdom also had a stroke after cracking her neck, and was partially paralzyed, Live Science previously reported.
Experts say it's not a good idea to crack your neck.
"There is really no 'safe' way to crack your neck," Dr. Robert Glatter, an emergency physician at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, told Live Science in April. "Simply put, it's best to avoid doing it in the first place, to avoid any potential complications."
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Originally published on Live Science.
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Rachael is a Live Science contributor, and was a former channel editor and senior writer for Live Science between 2010 and 2022. She has a master's degree in journalism from New York University's Science, Health and Environmental Reporting Program. She also holds a B.S. in molecular biology and an M.S. in biology from the University of California, San Diego. Her work has appeared in Scienceline, The Washington Post and Scientific American.