28-year-old man suffers stroke after cracking his neck

A 28-year-old man from Oklahoma nearly died after cracking his stiff neck.

Josh Hader tore his vertebral artery, a crucial vessel leading to the brain, causing a potentially life-threatening stroke. 

"The moment I heard the pop, everything on my left side started to go numb," Hader told KOCO 5 News in the U.S. "I got up and tried to get an ice pack from the fridge, and I remember I couldn't walk straight."

He was rushed to hospital by his father-in-law where doctors quickly went to work.

"He could have had a life-ending stroke. He could have died," said Dr. Vance McCollom, a radiologist at Mercy Hospital, Oklahoma City. 

McCollom said patients who have a stroke in that area can become "locked in," where they completely understand what's going on but are unable to communicate, or even breathe.

The father-of-two is now back home, but the stroke did cause some damage. Hader has difficulty walking with his left leg and one of the muscles that goes to his eye is weak because of nerve damage.

Hader said the most difficult part of his recovery is not being able to help his wife care for their children.

Dr. McCollum warned others, cracking your neck can be very dangerous.

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