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Having sharp pain at the base of neck. What is causing this and cure?

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Pediatrician, Critical Care
Practicing since : 2001
Answered : 208 Questions
I have a sharp pain at the base of my neck right side. It is tender behind right ear. Started Monday and has increased in pain since. Have been flying frequently.
Posted Wed, 17 Apr 2013 in Bones, Muscles and Joints
Answered by Dr. Tejas Shah 1 hour later
Welcome to XXXXXXX

It seems your pain is probably related to soft tissues like muscles or ligaments in neck. Sometimes, due to our posture or sudden neck movements or strain, these muscles or ligaments get stretched resulting in their swelling and causing pain.

Tenderness behind right ear could be related to stretching/strain at the origin of the neck muscle (called Sternomastoid muscle)

However, I would like to know couple of things to guide you better:
1. Have you got any fever, throat pain?
2. Is there any pain in swallowing fluids/food?
3. Have you got any toothache or earache?

For muscular pain:
1. If you rest the local part i.e. neck in your case, slowly the swelling subsides and pain gets under control. Avoid lateral movements of neck as far as possible. For example -Turn the whole body, rather than just turning neck to that side.

2. Try simple analgesics like Paracetamol or Ibuprofen regularly for at least 72 hours. Ibuprofen helps to reduce swelling/inflammation in the muscle along with pain relief properties.

3. Please try hot/cold water massage of the area.

4. You can try neck belt if you have one, which forces to give rest to neck and protecting muscles from further strain during neck movements.

If there is significant swelling/redness in the neck, difficulty in swallowing, high-grade fever etc, then you would need to see your family Physician or Hospitalist.

Please do revert back with answers to my queries and try the suggestions.

All the best.

Dr Tejas Shah
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