I cracked my own neck to save money — now I’m blind


A man who lost his sight after cracking his neck has warned people about the dangers of practicing DIY chiropractor sessions at home.

Andy Wilson, 53, had suffered from chronic back pain since he was a child, but after years of seeing a chiropractor, he decided to save money by mimicking the professional’s movements and doing it himself twice a day — with catastrophic results.

“I’ve met different [chiropractors] over the years, and they all do this one neck adjustment. I’d relax my muscles and twist my head from side to side,” Wilson explained to Kennedy News. “It was an unconscious habit like cracking my knuckles, I’d do it at least once or twice a day.”

After 31 years of successfully adjusting his own neck, the artist ruptured his right artery — causing him to stroke and be unable to move and temporarily blind.

A man was left blind after cracking his own neck, which triggered a stroke.
New York Post Composite.

An “extremely disoriented and nauseous” Wilson, who lives in Lismore, New South Wales, in Australia, managed to call his uncle, Craig Wilson — who he lives with — using the Google Assistant function. Craig then called an ambulance.

Photo of Andy Wilson.
Andy Wilson, 53, tore an artery which triggered a stroke.
Kennedy News and Media

Man holding fish on boat.
He was initially accused of suffering from a drug or alcohol-induced illness.
Kennedy News and Media

“I threw up quite a bit, I’d completely lost my coordination, I could feel the pressure in my head,” he recalled, adding he was losing his sight with part of his “left vision on both sides” dwindling.

“It was the weirdest thing. It wasn’t one side, it was half of both eyes,” he explained, admitting the sudden onset of symptoms was “overwhelming.”

According to the artist, paramedics initially thought he was suffering from a reaction to drugs or alcohol — until his uncle managed to convince them he was five years sober.

At the hospital, he explained his neck-cracking habit, and a stroke specialist told him to stop his DIY chiropractic sessions.

“I was actually having a stroke,” he explained. “The combination of the neck adjustments and my back injury caused a calcium build-up in my spine. This caused my right artery to sever resulting in three brain clots and a stroke to the occipital region of my brain.”

Two men selfie.
The artist (right) managed to call his uncle Craig Wilson for help using Google Assistant.
Kennedy News and Media

Since returning home on March 9, after four days in the hospital, Wilson has recovered and regained his vision, saying the “near-death” experience has left him feeling positive — despite medical staff not believing it wasn’t alcohol or drug-induced at first.

“I’ve recovered pretty much 99%, because they got me within the first four hours and put in stents, which thinned my blood,” he said. “Coming through a near-death [experience] like that, I feel so grateful for all the support. It’s like being at your own funeral, seeing all the nice things people say.”

Wilson says he will be steering clear of cracking his own neck ever again — warning others of the severe effects if it goes wrong.

“The hospital outright forbade me. I can’t even get a neck massage,” he quipped.

He also urged anyone suffering a medical emergency to “push back” if they’re not being taken seriously.

Selfie man with guitar on back in bag.
Wilson says he has learned his lesson and is warning others of the dangers of at-home remedies.
Kennedy News and Media

“If someone’s had an episode, and they aren’t taking it seriously, then definitely always push back,” he advised. “If I hadn’t, then all those effects would still be with me.”

According to the Mayo Clinic, prompt treatment is crucial when treating a stroke, and early action can reduce brain damage and other complications.

Symptoms of a stroke include trouble speaking and understanding what others are saying, paralysis or numbness of the face, arm or leg, one side of your mouth may droop when you try to smile, problems with vision, headache and lack of coordination.