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Carotid Artery Pain / Neck
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Carotid Artery Pain / Neck

Recently I have been experiencing pain on the right side of my neck, in what feels to be my carotid artery.  The pain is a very sharp pain that only last a couple of seconds, and starts up every 15-20 seconds.  This can last about a minute or two, and then sometimes even longer.  I'm worried about some type of carotid artery disease?  Is this something I should go right to the dr's about?  I had my blood pressure taken yesterday and is was 126/73.
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Avatar_f_tn
I've had pain there too, although I don't know what caused it. It kind of comes and goes for me.
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Avatar_n_tn
Do you have any other symptoms especially in the head?  If you have no sysmptoms it quite likely is just a temporary thing.  On the other hand if it affects your head (brain) then you should have it checked out right away.  It is strange that it is on the rightside rather than the left; is anything happening in your abdomen or chest that might relate to it?
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Avatar_n_tn
You describe almost exactly what my husband has been feeling! Have you found any information about it since the time you posted the question?
thanks, Jen
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Avatar_n_tn
HI, I am 28 years old and a mother of 3 little girls.  I am a 1/2 pack a day smoker x 10 years.  However most of my life I have been very active and exercise regularily.  I have been having this too.  ONLY on my right side.  I exercised 20 minutes on the eliptical this am and had the pain start up during and has continued in intervals for the past 2 hours.  Mine is more like a dull aching pain.
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Avatar_n_tn
pain in neck. For awhile i thought the pain i get in the left side (mainly) of my neck was serious too. but Dr's checked my arteries and they are fine. my Doctor says it's muscle spasms and he's probably right. i do have problems with spasms due to neck and lower back problems. so it's mostly muscles but try relaxing, heat and maybe even an aspirin. good luck.
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Avatar_n_tn
I am also having this pain and this is the first chat page I've gone to for insight.

I am 19yrs old and atheletic, I usually do hard cardio work for 20minutes 4Xweek, and walk or some mild exercise(cycling) on the off days. I usually eat quite healthy and I do not smoke, drink or do drugs.

The pain seems to come when I increase my heart rate while exercising and stops after exercise(it does not come everytime I exercise though). It also comes when I drink sugary drinks-pop but not sugary food.
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775583_tn?1235621297
I'm 41 years old and have been getting pain in my carotid arteries now since I was 22. I've been to a few doctors for it, even a headache specialist. The pain is always on one side, but has switched between sides. I get them evey day, and usually about 3 or 4 a day. I had a real physical job and noticed that while I was at work I did better. Once I was home and tried to relax, theres where the pain started. I get the pain as soon as I awaken evey day. The only thing that has helped is pushing on the artery when it hurts,a script from the doc,( amytripillin, )and beer. Beer was my first break from the pain. I'd have 2 or 3 a night, and the next day I'd be neck pain free. After about 1 year, that stopped working, and back to the doc I went. Thats when they tried me on amytrip. and that worked for a while,(almost 2 years). The pains in my neck come and go in cycles. I am currantly getting them and my last bout with them lasted 6 mounths. I was hoping that someone else may know more then I currantly do about the pain in my carotid  arteries and post something that may help. I almost forgot, hot coffee in the morning usually helps in no time, (maybe 30 mins.). I have a 28 oz. cup and sip it all day to keep the pain at bay. Hopefully this can help some of you who get this darn pain.
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Avatar_n_tn
I have had this several times now.  The first time lasted ~6mos.  The last time it only lasted a couple of days.  I am on Day 2 of this current episode.  I had ultrasound, went to an endocrinologist (they were thinking it might be thyroid, but it wasn't) and they couldn't figure anything out.  I also have TMJ and my jaw gets out of joint, and I get it then as well, but only as long as my jaw is out.  Mine also feels somewhat better when I push on it.  I suppose it might be muscle spasms, but it sure it deep in there.  Ibuprofen only helps a little.  It is nice to find others that have the same thing.
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Avatar_n_tn
I am 21 years old and have been experiencing pain in my neck for over a year. My ENT said my carotid arteries were inflamed, but he did not know why.  I get migraines along with the pain and I am really suffering.  When the artery acts up I get head pain.  I can't bend my neck certain ways because the arteries hurt.  I also have Irritable Bowel Syndrome and I'm wondering if it's all connected. I have anxiety so I was thinking the pain is from my anxiety.  I get chest pain on the left side of my chest and it happens suddenly without warning.  Does anyone have any suggestions?
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Avatar_n_tn
So in June 2008 I reported that I was on my 2nd bout of the carotid artery inflammation which had happened 2 years to the month apart.  This week it happened again.  I and my Doc still cannot tell anyone why, other than I have been very physically active lately because it is summer.  I have to wonder if it is being sedentary most of the time and then going highly active due to nice weather that is causing the problem.  In any case, the pain and inflammation are real.  I need to go back to the Doc for another prescription of Naproxen (anti-inflamatories).  They work great though.  Within a week it is all resolved and I am back to normal.  Otherwise it feels like my lymph nodes are all swollen due to infection and I have a lump over my carotid just under my chin.  Never had anything like this all my life (53) and I have really been a go getter the whole time.
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Avatar_m_tn
I am also a female in my mid twenties experiencing right-sided shoulder, neck, and eye pain when I exercise.  The pain goes away shortly after I am finished exercising, but I can't figure out what could be causing it.  I was wondering if any of the previous posts ever figured out what was causing their similar symptoms?
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976897_tn?1379171202
If you are worried your carotid arteries are restricted, I believe a simple doppler test on the arteries (used in echocardiogram) can indicate if there is a flow problem. Mine were checked this way before bypass surgery and a  complete flush during an angiogram later confirmed the results were spot on.
My mother in law has 60-65% blockages in her carotid arteries. Her symptoms were dizziness and occassionally fainting. They have since put her on medication and although the blockages are there, she feels fine. That is apart from the headaches, which she has had for a long time now. However, they seem to believe living with headaches is better than the risk of surgery.
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Avatar_m_tn
I get the same pain as some of you have stated.  A left sharp pain in my neck that lasts for several seconds then goes away and repeats itself.  I have had a full cardio workout, so I do not think it is heart related.
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Avatar_f_tn
I have also just now experienced this at 50 yrs old for the first time.  I also suffer from bad migraines, and have horrible fibromyalgia.  But, I also have a "charlie-horse" type sharp cramp under the chin when I yawn.  Has anyone had this explained to them, or do you know if it goes with these cramp type pains in both sides of my neck (carotid arteries)???  Please help if you can.  For the first time in my adult life, I am without med insurance, so not going to the doctors, which is scaring me. Stroke & high blood pressure run in my family, but I have always had low B.P., but the migraines & stroke history in family scare me.  Thanks!
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Avatar_f_tn
I have a pain in my neck but it is not a sharp oain that comes and goes. It is there all the time for the last day or so. Wondering if it could be carotid artery or enlarged lymph node doe to strep or other infection?
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Avatar_m_tn
I too have had a couple episodes of this weird unexplained pain.  I had my first last year in Nov at age 43 and again this year right now in Feb.  Last year my Dr. decided after research that it was"Most Likely" carotidynia.  Check into this diagnosis...it seems to fit for me...My treatment included several different antibiotics - each of which got stronger and stronger and still didn't work - and ended with a cycle of steroids which did work.  I have been on anti-inflammatories for the last 2 yrs due to a back injury but they have not helped with this condition.  Last year before the final treatment I was in so much pain I could barely open my mouth, my head pain war horrible and moving my neck in any direction was next to impossible.  For me this seems to have followed a bout of a cold and Sinusitis.  Due to my injury I have not be active so it's not due to exercise...ie muscular but I am also on muscle relaxers and no relief.  I think my Dr. had the best idea so far.  My new Dr today has no idea what this is but is treating it the same way my last Dr did and referring me to an ENT.  Hope this helps someone...I am hoping to feel a lot better in a day or 2 with this new set of steroids  :)
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Avatar_m_tn
I am 54 years old and have this sharp pain on my right side that comes and goes. It lasts for seconds only and I rub it for relief. My mistake is not tracking how many years I've had this. I googled the symptoms and came upon this site.
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Avatar_n_tn
I have been getting this pain in the right side of my neck.  I am on warfarin lifelong following a dvt already so this is worrying.  My mother had a major stroke age 64 last year and her father had a blocked carotid artery that gave him a stroke and was close to being fatal.  Her mother had a dvt as well.  I am scared!  A bit relieved to hear others have been having the same for a while with no severe consequences.  I have no faith in the GP who failed to diagnose my dvt early enough and who dismissed my mother's stroke symptoms as a 'virus' despite her family history.
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Avatar_m_tn
My wife has the same symptoms.  F/W/62 123#s, 5"2".  No on going illnesses.  We went to an ENT.  He gave her a dx of carotidynia.  I hadve not seen anyone who posted on this site mention this dx.  I hope this may give everyone another area for research.
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Avatar_n_tn
I'm 50ish and I've been having a pain where my right carotid is for about three to four weeks off and on.  It starts when I'm reclining in bed. My blood pressure was kind of high the last two times it was taken, say 138/100. I've never had a pressure that high before. I did buy a new bed 3 weeks ago. It's one those adjustable beds. I have severe fibromyalgia. It's hurting right now and has for the last hour.  I googled "my carotid artery hurts" and this site came up. Going to check out what carotidynia is.  I'm going to try to chart the pain.
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976897_tn?1379171202
If your carotid artery is hurting, then it is either blocking or inflamed. If a blockage is severe, you would normally get pains in the neck, face and then go on to experience dizziness.
I'm not trying to be funny, but rather than researching and chart drawing, you should get to a Doctor if you think it's your Carotid artery. Why? because the Carotid arteries feed the Brain and if they contain Plaque, there is a higher risk of stroke. I wouldn't waste time.
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Avatar_n_tn
Thank you for your reply. I read several other web sites after posting. I never experienced dizziness.  I was able to ask a nurse that I know what she thought. She said that there are 4 arteries that supply blood to the brain. Even if one is somewhat blocked, sufficient blood supply remains. As I recall, I was doing what something that would be considered strenuous for someone with fibromyalgia, before the pain started. I have also read that the pain could be a migraine. They don't only happen in your head. There are so many possibilities.


I've have regularly gone to doctors (including head doctors), since 1993 for depression,  anxiety,  and all over body pain. Not once have I not been treated like a hypochondriac.  My fault?  Maybe, to an extent. Doctors today are not willing to broaden their expertise beyond what was known fifty years ago. I, for one, am sick of the brush-off. I'm also sick of the few minutes they spend in diagnosis and the prescription pad at the ready.
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Avatar_f_tn
I'm 24 years old and my problems are exactly like yours. I have left sided carotid artery pain that follow with headaches and I was also diagnosed with IBS a few months ago. I had a colonoscopy last on Monday which further confirmed that. I have right sided chest pains though. I was told that one of my organs was failing but no one checked them! I'm thinking it's my gallbladder. If you have stomach pain you can have symptoms that feel heart attack related. I had a severe allergic reaction to Cymbalta that put me in the ER 3 times in a short time span and I haven't fully recovered since then. I also believe that my carotid is inflamed. I'm going to get a hidascan next week to check my stomach and gallbladder and if they see any correlation I will let you know. I work for cardio thoracic surgeons and it's not cad or a blockage, I'm too young for that and I'm a healthy individual.
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976897_tn?1379171202
"Even if one is somewhat blocked, sufficient blood supply remains"

Not in everyone, some patients seem to suffer a variety of symptoms. The big issue here isn't whether there is enough blood anyway, the big issue is the possibility of stroke. When a Carotid artery becomes diseased, the risk of stroke increases dramatically.
Has anyone looked for arthritic problems in the vertebrae in your neck area?
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Avatar_n_tn
I haven't had any pain in the carotid area of my neck in a couple of weeks. In answer to your question, I had a MRI and bone scan, neck down, in 2005. They showed only mild osteoarthritis. My spine at the base of my neck has been sore for a few years. The spinal column feels compressed at that point. I'm thinking Cranial Sacral.
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Avatar_f_tn
Dismissive docs -- Seriously.  They create an incentive to withhold any info about prior diagnosis of depression or anxiety or meds, b/c the minute you mention it, they stop listening to symptomology.  I even had a doc paraphrase my symptoms and timing to suggest it related solely to my meds. Even when I corrected him, he got more dismissive and I could practically see him stamping me as "emotional" in his mind.  I'm tired of docs using these issues as a means of discounting my own statement of my experiences. I would think I'm the expert about what is happening in my body and if it's new or not. Sure they're the experts about analyzing the symptoms, but for their analysis to be correct, they have to be applying their expertise to the right symptoms!  As someone with an investigative background, I am shocked any doctor would be so quick to jump to conclusions and then selectively hear or tweak the information to support their theory!  Sloppy.  ANd worse, Dangerous!

I, however, have been very lucky to find a main doc, an internist, who does listen.  She has now taken over coordinating a number of tests (cardiologist, opthalmologist, neurologist), etc., and finding referrals to people who will listen.  Even those who might not have given me as much time if i walked in on my own or with a less proactive internist, they at least listen to her.  Someone also mentioned that there are health care advocates you can get to assist you in coordinating/advocating.  I am not sure if they are nurses or if this is covered, but I happened to have found an "advocate" in my primary doc/internist who is coordinating and advocating.   Good luck with your health problems!
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63984_tn?1385441539
I'd suggest you refer to Ed34's post of August 16, and insist on a cath procedure if you think your carotids are blocked.  The procedure is difinitive, recorded, and you can review the images/findings.  I've had the test because of my many heart blockage issues, and I have a 40% blockage in both carotid arteries, not even close to needing a procedure.

I'd recommend you have a cath if you think your carotid arteries are blocked, and if the results are negative, back off and look at other issues.  If they are blocked, you have no idea how invasive the procedure is to clear them until you experience it.
  
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4961385_tn?1361609621
hullo  there am in my mid 20z experiencing  same neck pain   and shoulder pain that switches  from one  side to the other . i was  so worried i had no idea  what to do .. i tried some anti bacterial and painkillers like pelox and zerodol. it helped for a while but later  failed
untill  i sat and asked my self who the greatest doctor was  and it was JESUS  so i knelt down and rebuked  all the illnes in my body  to go in HIS name  i commanded sickness out  and i  feel so much better now and really hopeful
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Avatar_f_tn
One-sided carotid pain can be caused by a number of things, but when no abnormality of the artery can be found, it is worthwhile to think of a condition called carotidynia or 'carotid pain.'

I've had it, and in my case, it was a variant of migraine, strange as that may seem, and migraine treatment took care of it.  Here is more info:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carotidynia

Of course, the term can be googled for much more explanation.
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Avatar_f_tn
When I was 47 my doctor just happened to hear a bruit, sent me for an ultrasound, then an MRI.  I was 90% blocked in the left carotid artery.  They did surgery and cut and reconnected the artery.  Almost three years later, same thing, but this time it's the external carotid artery, 100% blocked.  No surgery this time.  I do have pain in the neck. Thought it was the scar tissue from the past surgery.  If you are not sure about anything, please get it checked.  If you're lucky, you will have some kind of symptom.  Don't ignore them!
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Avatar_n_tn
It's 2am and I'm up trying to find something to ease this pain. It has been coming and going for three days now. I am on Hypertension and Bad Cholesterol medication and I am 35Years of age. Is this normal?
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Avatar_m_tn
Try seeing a Hematologist. It could be that your lymph nodes are swollen. This could explain pain in neck and pain in abdomen. See mesenteric adenitis.
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Avatar_f_tn
My partner...51 yr old white female...has been having the same painful sensations.  To be on the safe side, she's going to start taking an 81mg aspirin daily.  COULDN'T HURT!!!  =¶
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Avatar_m_tn
Just got back from my dr. with the left side neck pain. He said it was inflammation in the carotid  artery wall. He gave me a muscle relaxer and said to use Tylenol for the inflammation and wet heat compresses. Condition is called carotidynia or 'carotid pain.
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Avatar_n_tn
I was diagnosed with Carotidynia, which is a pain syndrome 7 years ago. My neurologist informed me that I had likely contracted it through a viral infection. I also have a lump on right carotid artery. Over the years my neurologists prescribed many muscle relaxers, steroids, beta blockers and pain killers but they never worked and they gave me an ulcer and multiple stomach bleeds. Ask your doctor to send you to a neurologist! My pain started with a year long ice pick like stabbing ear ache that traveled, so I thought, to my carotid artery. My neurologist explained that the pain was actually travelling from my carotid artery up to my ear like a vine travelling up a wall. He explained that the nerves are sensitive and they travel up the right side of my head during an episode. Three years after being initially diagnosed I now get debilitating migraines. The fact of the matter is that there is little information on this pain syndrome and relief can be hit or miss. Two neurologists and an ear nose and throat specialist diagnosed me after a year of suffering unbelievable pain. Take charge of your health and follow up with a specialist. All the best. Take care.
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Avatar_m_tn
It sounds as if your providers were thorough, and there is some sort of underlying pathology (perhaps a neuropathy secondary to a viral or bacterial infection). With pain being around the carotid artery area, it's difficult to determine without clinical diagnostics if the pain is originating from the artery itself or surrounding areas.If the pain is around the carotid artery a cardiologist may also offer diagnostic feedback to rule out any heart or circulatory disease. Additionally, consulting a rhumatologist for immunodeficiencies may not be a bad investment. Diagnostics for systemic infections (bacteriological, mycological, virological) may find the root cause for the infection, but may not (as some infections present in stages and may remain undetected if not actively attacking the system). Knowing the signs (physical indications) and symptoms (pains reported to provider), as well as a thorough medical history is important when considering pathogenesis (the "lifespan" of a disease), as many diagnoses are issued over time, and based upon clinical medical history, signs and symptoms. Good luck. Feel free to reply and keep the community informed.
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Avatar_m_tn
Pay attention to the nerves in your neck and back, as certain back injuries and (herniated discs and compressions) can cause nerve pain (neuralgia). If the nerve going from your spine to a certain part of your body (say, for example, your heart, or your esophageal area) is compressed, it may be causing pain. Maybe talk to your doctor about that. If anti-inflammatories (even NSAID's) or muscle relaxers help the pain any, this may be why. Good luck.
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