23-Year-Old Woman Left Partially Paralyzed after Cracking Her Neck Caused a Stroke

Bettina Dizon
Apr 17, 2019
12:40 P.M.
Share this pen

A paramedic cracked her neck and split a major artery, causing a stroke. The unfortunate event left her partially paralyzed. 


There are some habits we have that we don’t know can be fatal. Natalie Kunicki, 23, learned about this after she stretched her neck, but it was too late; the damage has been done.

Kunicki, a paramedic, working for London Ambulance Service, had a night out with her friends, watching movies and drinking, when she decided to stretch her neck which made a loud cracking sound. She didn’t pay much attention to this, thinking it was normal.


Around 15 minutes later, she stood up to use the washroom and suddenly fell to the floor and couldn’t move her left leg. The 23-year-old assumed that what happened was because of too much alcohol consumption and was too embarrassed to call for help.


When she arrived at the hospital, tests revealed that her vertebral artery, a major neck artery, had blown up, causing a blood clot in the brain and triggered a stroke.

“People need to know that even if you’re young, something this simple can cause a stroke,” Kunicki shared.

“I wasn’t even trying to crack my neck. I just moved and it happened. I stretched my neck and I could just here this ‘crack, crack, crack.’ My friend asked ‘was that your neck?’ but all my joints crack quite a bit, so I didn’t think anything of it. I just laughed.”


“I got up and tried to walk to the bathroom and I was swaying everywhere. I looked down and realized I wasn’t moving my left leg at all then I fell to the floor,” she continued.


“My friend had to come and pick me up. He thought I was drunk but I knew something else was wrong.”

“I thought I had been drugged. The date rape drug can cause paralysis,” she added.


Kunicki couldn’t believe what had happened to her. In a state of shock, she was ‘emotionless’ for days. Currently, she is trying to get back to her normal self, yet doctors remain doubtful about her full recovery.

“I’m a paramedic and I didn’t ring 999 for ten minutes because I thought it was too unlikely it would be a stroke when I should have known much better,” she said.

“I think they did look at me at first like they thought I was just a classic drunk 23-year-old but I told them I was a paramedic and I knew something was wrong.”

The stroke left Kunicki nearly completely paralyzed which made her hit an all-time low, even telling the medicals that they ‘should have killed her.’


Improvement is seen since the incident, yet she remains incapable of doing the things she once did. Kunicki continuously exercises to help regain strength and movements in her body.

“I expected to wake up from this miracle surgery and everything would be fixed but my mobility was worse and the couldn’t clear the clot,” she shared.

“At the start, I couldn’t move my thumb and forefinger. 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.”

Often, being paralyzed results from an unintended incident, and cannot be reversed. Late last year, a 2-year-old accidentally fell between a gap and hit a drinking glass, which left her paralyzed. Her spinal cord was severely damaged because of the fall.

Similarly, a young woman was left paralyzed as she was doing sit-ups at the gym. Marcelle Mancuso was performing inverted abdominal sit-ups, having her head near the ground, when the equipment broke. As a result, the 23-year-old could no longer move her arms and legs.