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What causes sharp sudden pain in the left side of the neck?

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Posted on Fri, 11 Jul 2014
Question: I've been having this sharp sudden pain in the left side of my neck right over the vein where you check pulse. I've been having migraines come on suddenly since around the same time the pain started. I can press and touch the area without pain, it's not tender to touch. But it causes my whole left side to sort of twitch when it pulses. The pains are generally about 30 seconds to a minute apart. Movement, laying certain ways, temperatures, and activity do not seem to be factors. It happens whether I'm sitting still or moving actively.
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Answered by Dr. Shoaib Khan (3 hours later)
Brief Answer:
?? Carotidynia most plausible

Detailed Answer:
Hello ma'am and welcome.

Thabk you for writing to us.

I have gone through your query wirh diligence and would like you to know that I shall help you as much as I can.

I should rightfully start by saying that any doctor you would describe your symptoms to would first worry about/suspect carotid artery disease (CAD), which is quite worrying. But bare in mind, your age does not support that suspicion. CAD is blockage/narrowing of the carotid artery.

Your doctor would start by ordering a few blood investigations to check on your blood coagulation profile and lipid profile, and also schedule an ultrasound of the region. Once this is done, your doctor can confirm/rule out CAD.

If at all CAD is ruled out, which in my opinion would be the case, I would recommend an MRI. This investigation will give us all the details we need.

The condition I am suspecting is called carotidynia. It is the unilateral tenderness or pain of the carotid artery. There are various causes for this syndrome but the two most common causes are:
-Migraines
-Carotid arteritis (inflammation of the caotid artery)

With the history of migraines given by you, I am guessing in your case migraines are the cause. In a case where migraines have found to be the cause, treatment with anti-migraine medication helps. But if at all it does not, then short courses of steroids (eg. Prednisone) help. Do schedule an appointment with your doctor and request for all of the above. Also, please do keep me posted ma'am.

I hope you find my response both helpful and informative ma'am. Please feel free to write back to me for any further clarifications, I would be more than happy to help you.

Best wishes.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
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Answered by
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Dr. Shoaib Khan

General & Family Physician

Practicing since :2009

Answered : 9409 Questions

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What causes sharp sudden pain in the left side of the neck?

Brief Answer: ?? Carotidynia most plausible Detailed Answer: Hello ma'am and welcome. Thabk you for writing to us. I have gone through your query wirh diligence and would like you to know that I shall help you as much as I can. I should rightfully start by saying that any doctor you would describe your symptoms to would first worry about/suspect carotid artery disease (CAD), which is quite worrying. But bare in mind, your age does not support that suspicion. CAD is blockage/narrowing of the carotid artery. Your doctor would start by ordering a few blood investigations to check on your blood coagulation profile and lipid profile, and also schedule an ultrasound of the region. Once this is done, your doctor can confirm/rule out CAD. If at all CAD is ruled out, which in my opinion would be the case, I would recommend an MRI. This investigation will give us all the details we need. The condition I am suspecting is called carotidynia. It is the unilateral tenderness or pain of the carotid artery. There are various causes for this syndrome but the two most common causes are: -Migraines -Carotid arteritis (inflammation of the caotid artery) With the history of migraines given by you, I am guessing in your case migraines are the cause. In a case where migraines have found to be the cause, treatment with anti-migraine medication helps. But if at all it does not, then short courses of steroids (eg. Prednisone) help. Do schedule an appointment with your doctor and request for all of the above. Also, please do keep me posted ma'am. I hope you find my response both helpful and informative ma'am. Please feel free to write back to me for any further clarifications, I would be more than happy to help you. Best wishes.