Topeka man suffers stroke after ‘cracking’ his own neck

Local News

When Glenn Johnson suffered a stroke six years ago, it not only caught him off guard, it puzzled the doctors too.

“It took them about almost a month for them to figure out why I had the stroke,” Johnson said. “And they said I was in perfect health, I didn’t have diabetes, I didn’t have high blood pressure, I had no symptoms, I had no health issues.”

The Topeka man who was 50-years-old at the time of his stroke said the only thing doctors had to go on was that his stroke was caused by a blood clot in the back of his neck.

Doctors eventually figured out, Johnson’s stroke was caused by something he was doing during his morning routine.

“When I wake up in the morning I pop my knuckles, I pop my knee’s, I pop my neck, always popping my neck,” Johnson said.

That’s when doctors told him, it was neck popping that caused his stroke, “Because they say when you pop your neck, you bend your neck, you’re bending those arteries,” Johnson said.

Doctor Hartej Sethi, a neurologist with Stormont Vail in Topeka said while having a stroke from simply cracking your neck is rare, it’s possible. 

He said people should try and avoid jerky traumatic movements of the neck, but at the same time don’t panic if you’re reading this and thinking of how often you’ve cracked your neck in the past.

“It is certainly very rare, those are the kinds of things you can’t necessarily plan for,” Dr. Sethi said. “So if you’re worried about a stroke the other well known risk factors is what I would be worried about more than anything else.”

Dr. Sethi said those risk factors include high blood pressure, smoking, and diabetes.

As for Johnson, he’s just grateful he survived his stroke. 

In fact, he believes his stroke made him a better person,

“You learn to appreciate things more,” Johnson said. “Things you take for granted like walking, talking, and eating, when you lose all that and gotta do it again, that’s rough.”

He now walks five miles a day, something he started doing after learning how to walk again.

With every step, and mile, he’s reminded of just how proud he is to be a stroke survivor.

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