Natalie Kunicki, a paramedic, was only 23 years old when she had a stroke that left her paralyzed.
It was a shocking event considering her youth and knowledge of medical care and health.
As it turns out, though, the reason behind this tragedy is something you likely do very regularly – too much cracking of the joints.
The event occurred after Kunicki came home from a night out she’d spent with a friend.
They went back to her place and leaped into bed, deciding to watch movies for the night.
That’s when she stretched her neck upwards and heard a very loud crack – the kind you might hear if you’re intentionally cracking it to relieve pain or stiffness.
There was no pain, so Kunicki didn’t think too much about it.
A little later, she went to sleep – but in just 15 minutes, she woke up again, and she found herself with a left leg that simply could not be moved.
Confused, she attempted to get out of bed, but immediately fell down. She was unable to walk at all.
Shortly after, Kunicki was hurried to a hospital. A CT scan revealed that what she experienced was, in fact, a stroke.
But why had it happened?
It came from the neck crack she’d experienced. It had been so severe that her vertebral artery, located in the neck, was cut, leading to it bursting.
A clot formed shortly after in her brain, and the stroke occurred.
This incident happened on the 5th of March. It took her many weeks to go through difficult physical therapy so she could recover and start moving again.
She’s actually incredibly lucky – had the blood clot been in a slightly different part of her brain, she may not have survived.
Thankfully, she is now expected to recover completely.
Now, Kunicki hopes to warn everyone else about excessively cracking the joints, neck, and other parts of the body.
Anyone of any age or fitness can accidentally sever something when they do this, and something that small could lead to potentially fatal consequences.
Originally, even with her paramedic experience, Kunicki couldn’t believe that what she was dealing with was a stroke, and she delayed making an emergency call as a result.
She wants to make sure everyone knows that people shouldn’t discount stroke symptoms just because of their age – it can happen to anyone.
Kunicki is continuing to recover, and she credits her progress to her friends, who gave her a lot of tough love.
They allowed her to throw herself a pity party for a week, but once that week was over, they got her to do all her exercises and pushed her to work on getting better.
Admittedly, she did feel very depressed when she woke up and found that no “miracle surgery” had made her all better.
The clot hadn’t been cleared and she couldn’t move her limbs.
Healing is still a battle and there are ongoing efforts that have to be made, so Kunicki’s sister created a GoFundMe fundraiser for her.
If you’d like to help, you can donate here.