Man suffers stroke from cracking his neck

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(CNN) -- A 28-year-old Oklahoma man is speaking out after doctor say he suffered a stroke by popping his neck.

A 28-year-old Oklahoma man is speaking out after doctor say he suffered a stroke by popping his neck. (Source: CNN)

"The moment I heard the pop, everything on my left side started to go numb,” Josh Hader said. “I got up and tried to get an ice pack from the fridge, and I remember I couldn't walk straight."

His father-in-law rushed him to the ER.

"I had about six or seven nurses and doctors surrounding me,” Hader said.

"He could've had a life-ending stroke,” Mercy Hospital Dr. Vance McCollom said. “He could've died."

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,” 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."

Thankfully, Hader’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,” McCollom said.

Hader had to wear an eye patch for several days.

Doctors decided Hader’s condition was best treated with medicine and physical therapy.

"For the first few days, I couldn't walk without a walker,” Hader said.

Even though the walker is now put away, Hader still has a lot of trouble.

"It is difficult for me to walk with my left leg,” Hader said.

Also, Hader has a very strange side-effect.

"Had hiccups for about a week and a half straight,” Hader said.

Painful hiccups that, he says, nearly caused a panic attack.

But Hader told us the most difficult part has been emotional -- not being able to help his wife with the two young children.

"I can't pick him up outta the crib, give him milk in the middle of the night. I can't do any of that,” Hader said.

We asked McCollom if there's any safe way to pop your neck.

"If you want to pop your neck, just kinda pop it side to side. Don't twist it,” McCollom said. “Whenever you twist it there's a risk of tearing that vessel.”

And before Hader went into his procedure, he wanted to tell his wife one thing.

"He wanted to tell his wife he was sorry that he had popped his neck,” McCollom said. “His wife had been telling him, ‘Don't pop your neck! You're gonna cause a stroke!’”

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