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Dr. Andrew Rynne

Family Physician

Exp 50 years

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What causes pain in the back of the neck up into the skull and the left arm?

Answered by
Dr. Ilir Sharka


Practicing since :2001

Answered : 6634 Questions

Posted on Mon, 13 Aug 2018 in Elderly Problems
Question: Hi, I'm a carer for my 85 year old mother. She has been complaining of a pain in the back of her neck up into the skull. She also mentioned a pain down her left arm. When I ask a minute later she says no pain. Very difficult to judge. Blood pressure is 136/110.

Thank you
Answered by Dr. Ilir Sharka 54 minutes later
Brief Answer:
I would recommend as follows:

Detailed Answer:


Regarding your concern I would explain that her symptoms don't seem to be related to the heart.

A bulging disc in the vertebral column causing irradiating radicular pain in the arm could be the cause of her complaints.

Is the pain triggered by head or neck movements? This would be another argument in favour of this disorder.

Her blood pressure values ( diastolic) are high, but this could be a reaction to the pain.

Coming to this point, if this situation persists, I would recommend bringing her to the ER for a physical exam and some tests:

- a resting ECG and cardiac enzymes
- a cervical column X Ray study
- complete blood count, PCR for inflammation.

Meanwhile, I would recommend avoiding to bend her neck and take acetaminophen for the pain, if it persists.

Hope I have answered your query.

Take care,
Dr. Iliri

Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar

The User accepted the expert's answer

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