23-year-old suffers stroke after stretching neck

Research: Nerve stimulation lessens disability in stroke patients

LONDON — A paramedic suffered a stroke when she stretched her neck and ruptured an artery.

The Daily Mail reports that Natalie Kunicki, who works for London Ambulance Service, mistook her own symptoms as being drunk and was too embarrassed to call for help.

Kunicki, 23, said she heard a loud “crack” when she stretched her neck while in bed, but didn’t think much of it. When she got up to use the bathroom several minutes later, she collapsed and was unable to move her left leg.

She was rushed to hospital where she was told her vertebral artery – a major artery in the neck – had burst, according to the Daily Mail. It caused a blood clot to form in her brain and triggered a stroke, leaving her left side paralyzed.

The Daily Mail said Kunicki is slowly regaining her mobility, but doctors are unsure when and if she will fully recover.

Doing daily exercises has helped her regain some movement in her leg, arm and hand, and she hopes to be back to work for “light” duty in six to 12 months.

She is also raising awareness of strokes in young people.

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

“Mine was one in a million, but a ruptured vertebral artery is actually quite a common cause of strokes in young people.”