(CBS) – A 23-year-old paramedic was left partially paralyzed after stretching her neck and rupturing a major artery, she said.
Natalie Kunicki she works for a London ambulance service and will be in a physical rehab for as long as a year, she said. She was watching TV in bed after a night out with friends when she stretched her neck and heard a loud crack, she said.
When she got up 15 minutes later to use the restroom, she collapsed and could not move her left leg.
She called paramedics and was rushed to a hospital, where she learned a major artery in her neck had been
She was dumbfounded, she said
"The doctors told me later that just stretching my neck had caused my vertebral artery to rupture," she said. she said. "It was just spontaneous, and there's a one-in-a-million chance of it happening."
Dr. Michelle Collie, a physiotherapist in Rhode Island, said she had never heard of such a freak accident. "It's usually an extraordinary amount of trauma involved," she said to InsideEdition.com.
But the neck and spine injuries can be quite debilitating, and she urged people to be mindful of how they sit and stretch.
When stretching the neck, be sure to turn left and right, and up and down, she said. Do not turn your neck into a circle or make jerky motions.
Cracking your own neck is usually OK, she said, but do not let anyone except trained professionals handle your neck or spine. long periods of sitting or slouching. "Not moving has very detrimental effects," she said. (19659004) Kunicki said she has regained some feeling on her left side but has many hours of therapy in front of her. Doctors are monitoring the clot in her brain, hoping it will dissolve with time. They repaired her damaged artery with a stent
"I'm determined to get back to work," she said.
"I wouldn "Not surprised if in a matter of months, she might be back where she was before," said Collie.