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Will cracking neck repeatedly cause VERTEBRAL ARTERY DISSECTION?

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Risk of vertebral artery dissection.
I am admittedly a hypochondriac, and have resorted to this service as a way to get rid of some anxiety regarding a condition I just recently heard about. Though I don't believe I have this condition I need to ask some questions if they can be answered properly.
I learned about this condition as it relates to cracking your neck or as referred to self manual rotation. It seems to be rather serious and is associated to strokes.... Put simply I gave to ask. Is this common? I crack my neck several times a day, does it mean I should be checked out? I have experienced no abnormal symptoms, no headaches or anything related to it, I just need to know, is this something that rarely happens to people? What health factors make this condition more likely to happen? And put simply, should I be worried and what should I look out for?

Category: Neurologist, Medical

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Category: Pediatric Neurologist
 30 Doctors Online

Thank you for posting your query at
I have noted your concerns, and would like to reassure you that vertebral artery dissection, resulting into brain stroke is an extremely rare condition. This is more common after neck manipulation by chiropracters and also while having hair cut/massage by barbers, where they pull the head backwards.
Cracking the neck is a much more rarer cause of vertebral artery dissection. So, you need not worry about that.
People who are born with hypoplastic (narrow) vertebral arteries, are more prone to get this condition.
As of now, you do not need any check up. Only if you develop any symptoms, such as dizziness, vomiting, double vision, slurred speech, difficulty in swallowing, or imbalance while walking (all signs of vertebral artery stroke), you need to see a neurologist.
Best wishes,
Dr. Sudhir Kumar MD (Medicine), DM (Neurology)
Senior Consultant Neurologist

Patient replied :

Other than preexisting conditions, what are other possible causes, what sorts of physical phenomena make this happen? I've read so many stories about this happening, and I guess I wonder if this is a matter of force, manner of physical exertion that causes this? What precautions should I take?

Other than pre-existing conditions, over-extension of neck backwards can predispose to brain stroke, so you should avoid over-extension of the head/neck.
Best wishes,
Dr. Sudhir Kumar MD (Medicine), DM (Neurology)
Senior Consultant Neurologist

Dr. Sudhir Kumar
Category: Pediatric Neurologist
Senior Residency, Fellowship: DM, Neurology, CMC, Vellore, 2001
Junior Residency: MD, Internal Medicine, CMC, Vellore, 1998
Medical School: MBBS, Christian Medical College, Vellore, 1995
Dr. Sudhir Kumar and 4 other Medical Specialists are ready to help you

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