Natalia Kuniciki embarrassed to call 911. She thought they might think she is just drunk and tipsy.
We often crack our fingers and our neck. We even allow others to do it for us just to feel relaxed. However, none of us might even think it would cause a major problem in our body. Natalia Kuniciki did not anticipate she would lose her ability to walk again before cracking her neck. But to her utter shock, her usual neck crack was nearly fatal.
According to Women's Health, Kuniciki stretched her neck and heard a cracking sound. There was nothing usual about the sound but 15 minutes later, she collapsed in her bathroom. After the incident, Kuniciki, an employee of the London Ambulance Service realized she couldn't move her legs anymore. However, the paramedic had no idea what went wrong. At the time, Kuniciki was with a friend. They were watching movies in bed after a night out before she slipped into the bathroom.
Her friend came to her rescue but the man thought she was just drunk. "My friend had to come and pick me up. He thought I was drunk but I knew something else was wrong,” recalled the woman.
Though she knew she was not alright, the woman hesitated to call 911. She thought it would be embarrassing to call her colleagues, who might think she was drunk and just tipsy. After 10 minutes of contemplating, she eventually decided to call her emergency. Soon paramedics arrived and took her to a hospital in an ambulance.
Before they arrived, Kuniciki tried to doze off but felt a sense of uneasiness. On the way to the hospital, she felt her body was not functioning properly. Her heart rate and blood pressure were high and her body was not coordinating as it should.
On examination, the doctors told her she had suffered from a stroke. When she cracked her neck it led to the bursting of a major artery in her neck called the vertebral artery. That in turn led to paralysis.
"The doctors told me later that just that stretching of my neck had caused my vertebral artery to rupture. It was just spontaneous and there's a one in a million chance of it happening," said the woman.
She added, "I thought it was too unlikely it would be a stroke when I should have known much better." Soon after, Kuniciki underwent a 3-hour long surgery. Though the doctors were able to fix the artery, they could not treat the brain clot.
Doctors assured her that the clot would dissolve. But, the stroke left Kunicki's left side paralyzed and doctors are not sure if she will ever fully recover. At first, she found it very difficult but as days went out, she gained the strength to walk for not more than five minutes.
"At the start, I couldn't move my thumb and forefinger. I could kind of move my wrist up and down. I couldn't lift my arm. I could bend my left leg but I couldn't wiggle my toes," said the 23-year-old recalling her initial days.
She added, "I'm really clumsy. I can't do up buttons, I find it too difficult. I can feel hot and cold now but I still feel a bit numb, People need to know that even if you're young something this simple can cause a stroke. I wasn't even trying to crack my neck. I just moved and it happened.”
"Your neck is home to many important blood vessels. In some cases, cracking your neck too hard or too often can puncture one of these blood vessels. It can also cause blood clotting, which can be dangerous as it blocks blood flow to your brain. Cracking your neck too hard can also strain the muscles around your joints and the joints themselves. When your muscles or joints become strained, moving your neck can feel like a chore."