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Started sneezing and experienced sharp pain in throat. Head and neck hurting. What is causing this?

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General & Family Physician
Practicing since : 2005
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Earlier tonight I held in a sneeze and immediately experienced a sharp pain in my throat when doing any kind of swallowing. My throat now hurts to the touch and moving my head or neck hurts as well. I had found several threads with people complaining of the same symptoms after holding in a sneeze, but no answers really as to what is causing the pain.
Posted Tue, 14 Aug 2012 in Asthma and Allergy
Answered by Dr. Prasad 1 hour later

Thanks for the query.

I have gone through the details submitted with diligence and the possible explanations for this pain are:

1. Sneezing / trying to hold a sneeze can sometimes cause barotrauma induced injuries around the nasopharynx (behind the throat) and upper part of respiratory tract. These minor injuries can induce inflammatory response of mucosal lining almost immediately. The inflammation is what causes pain while swallowing. You may also experience mild irritation / soreness of throat gradually.
Warm water with salt gargles can reduce such inflammation and make your symptoms better.

2. An act of sneeze / holding a sneeze may result in muscular strains. External muscles of the neck can be involved here resulting in pain and restriction of neck movement. Depending on the extent of straining symptoms can be transient or last of day or two.
Rest is all what is needed in this case. If it is hurting too much, you can try warm compresses, topical pain balms/ointment/creams or even over the counter anti-inflammatory drugs like Ibuprofen 200mg twice a day for 1-2 days.

Let me reassure you, it is unlikely that you have a serious injury. One of the 2 could be causing your symptoms and it should be better very soon.

Hope this satisfactorily answers your query. Let me know if you have any doubts/concerns.
If you do not have any more queries, please close this discussion.

Wish you good health

Best Regards
Dr. Prasad
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