Josh Hader's neck was bothering him - again. He'd been feeling the discomfort for a couple weeks and recently thought some light stretching could provide relief.
"I went to stretch it," the 28-year-old told The Washington Post, "and as I was using my hand to apply a little bit more pressure than I probably should have, I heard a pop."
Less than an hour later, Hader would be in a hospital emergency room unable to walk and suffering from what doctors told him was a "major stroke" caused by a tear in an artery in his neck that had formed a clot.
"He could have died," Vance McCollom, a doctor at Mercy Hospital in Oklahoma City who treated Hader, told KOCO this week.
McCollom said Hader had torn his vertebral artery, one of the major arteries in the neck that goes up into the brain.
A vertebral artery tear, or dissection, is known to cause strokes that can affect younger people in their 20s or 30s, and has nothing to do with a person's health, Kazuma Nakagawa, a stroke neurologist, told The Post.
While it's rare for neck popping to lead to a tear, it's not unheard of, said Nakagawa, the medical director of the Comprehensive Stroke Center at The Queen's Medical Center in Honolulu.
"People just need to know that sudden neck pain can potentially be the starting point of a stroke," Nakagawa said.
Experts in the stroke community still do not know why some people's arteries tear while others don't, but they "have a hunch" that it may have something to do with the integrity of the blood vessels' walls differing from person to person, he said.
According to Nakagawa, "99.9 percent of the time you pop your neck and it's fine."
Hader, however, said his days of neck-popping are over.
"I still wake up every once in a while with the urge, and I have to stop myself," he said. "It's still a struggle, but I definitely don't want to pop my neck anymore."
major stroke重度中风 minor/mild stroke 轻度中风
She gave the cat a stroke. 她摸了一下喵。
a stroke of genius 神来之笔（听说专八的同学也未必晓得这个）