Many online users have discovered a new fear after a woman on TikTok says that she broke her own neck from trying to crack it.
In a video with over 8.2 million views by Monday, TikTok user Lily (@lilyzacharias) shares the details of her life-altering experience. The Daily Dot contacted her via TikTok comment.
@lilyzacharias Replying to @Juliette Johnson how i became the girl your chiropractor warned you about #brokenneck #neckinjury #neckcrack #crackingbones #chiropractic #chiropractortiktok #collegestories ♬ original sound – ✨ Lily Zacharias
At the beginning of the video, she recalls the thoughts she had on the fateful day in 2013.
“I’m gonna crack my neck, everything will be fine!!” the text overlay reads as she demonstrates cradling her neck with both hands. The clip then cuts to show photos of her younger self in a neck brace.
“Breaks my neck with my own hands and spends the first 2 weeks of collage in a neck brace,” the text overlay continues.
Since many viewers asked for the full story, Lily uploaded a second video that’s also been viewed more than 8.2 million times.
@lilyzacharias Interrupting the layoff content with this PSA from 2013 trauma #brokenneck #chiropractor #chiropractortiktok #neckcrack #neckcracks #collegefail ♬ Mexican radio – 🤍🤍🤍
She began by sharing that her mother always warned her to stop cracking her body.
“She would be like, ‘Please stop, you’re going to break your neck,’” Lily recalled.
Her mother’s warning ended up coming true during Lily’s freshman year at the University of Missouri.
It happened on the third day of classes while she was doing her “morning routine.” This consisted of sitting on her lofted bed and cracking her neck. But instead of going “pop, pop, pop” like usual, it went “pop, pop, snap.”
“I was in pain. Like big time pain,” she recalled, adding that she was so afraid of calling her mom because she didn’t want her to be right.
But since her neck was unmoveable and stuck to one side, she swallowed up her pride and called her mom. Lily’s mom immediately called the dorm to get someone to help her daughter, but due to privacy laws at the school, it took a long time before a dorm worker was finally able to check on her.
Even then, school workers questioned whether she really needed an ambulance and forced her to walk to the emergency room with a broken neck.
After leaving her at the hospital alone, Lily learned that she suffered a compression fracture of her top two vertebrae and that she had strained and sprained “almost every tendon and ligament” in her neck.
Her doctor said it happened because she has “mild hypermobility syndrome.” This means that her joints are “looser” than normal and flex beyond what they should.
After this, she spent two weeks in a neck brace and completed a month of physical therapy.
Despite the literal pain in the neck, Lily is ultimately glad that she had the exerpience. “It really changed my perspective on like what’s a big deal in life,” she said.
She also regrets not making the most of an unfortunate situation. “Only regret is not doing a full photo shoot in the brace cause that would’ve been hilarious,” she concluded.
In Lily’s original PSA about the dangers of cracking your neck, viewers discussed this new fear.
“This is what EVERYONE in my life warns me about,” user @angelbenefield commented with three embarrassed emoji.
“New fear,” another added. A third commented, “Im terrified now.”
Others have taken Lily’s video as a sign to stop cracking their own neck.
“Alright…I’ll take this as my warning and stop… thanks for saving me from possible pain and bills and suffering,” this user commented.
Some viewers shared how they, too, have injured themselves. “Dude. I tore a muscle yawning and stretching at the same time when I was in college. NOBODY believed me!!! I almost got fired from my coaching job,” this person wrote.
“Girl I almost did the same thing but instead I just passed out and got a concussion from hitting my head,” another shared.
But even though many are afraid of breaking their neck, it feels too good to stop.
“Biggest fear, I ain’t gonna stop tho,” this woman wrote. Another shared that cracking their neck is essential for helping with pain.
“But without popping my neck I’m extremely uncomfortable:,3,” a user shared.
“Unfortunately if I don’t crack my neck throughout the day, I get sinus infections and a very very sore/stiff neck,” seconded another.
According to Healthline, cracking your neck gently and not too frequently shouldn’t cause you any harm. However, there are potential dangers if you crack it too frequently or forcefully. Doing so could cause a pinched neck, osteoarthritis, or, worse, blood clotting.
If you crack your neck frequently and don’t feel satisfied, a licensed chiropractor may be able to help.