Folks across social media are reexamining the ways in which they flex their body after reading the story of Natalie Kunicki, a 23-year-old English woman who suffered a stroke after she cracked her neck while stretching, leaving her paralyzed on her left side.
“Wow. I crack my neck all the time,” wrote one Twitter user. Another said: “I’ll prolly never crack my neck again.”
Kunicki, a paramedic based in London, is speaking out about being left partially paralyzed after she ruptured a major artery when she cracked her neck while stretching, according to the Daily Mail.
Kunicki said she was watching movies in bed with a friend last month when she stretched out her neck and heard a loud cracking sound. Moments later, when she got up to use the bathroom, she collapsed and was unable to move her left leg.
“I got up and tried to walk to the bathroom and I was swaying everywhere,” Kunicki told the Daily Mail. “I looked down and realized I wasn’t moving my left leg at all then I fell to the floor.”
She called for help and was rushed by ambulance to the hospital, where doctors discovered the ruptured artery in her neck, PEOPLE reports. She then underwent a three-hour surgery.
“The doctors told me later that just that stretching of my neck had caused my vertebral artery to rupture,” Kunicki said. “It was just spontaneous and there’s a one in a million chance of it happening.”
The ruptured artery caused a blood clot in her brain that triggered a stroke. Doctors repaired the major artery, but were unsuccessful in fully removing the clot. They told her it will most likely dissolve over time.
Kunicki’s left side was partially paralyzed by the stroke.
“At the start, I couldn’t move my thumb and forefinger,” she said. “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.”
Doctors are not sure if she’ll make a full recovery but Kunicki says she is starting to regain mobility.
“I’ve recovered movement in my left side,” she said. “I can walk but not for more than five minutes.”
“People need to know that even if you’re young something this simple can cause a stroke,” she added. “I wasn’t even trying to crack my neck. I just moved and it happened.”