Undiagnosed Symptoms Community
25k Members
Avatar universal

Inflammation of Carotid artery and neck pain

About six months ago my left neck began to hurt and I noticed what I thought was a lump there. I went to a head and neck specialist and he said that I had inflammtion of my Carotid artery(Carotidynia).  The lump, I guess, was just the bifurcation of my artery that was swollen. The doctor told me to take an anti-inflammatory(ibuprophen) for 2 weeks. The pain finally diminished, but about a month later it started in my right neck. The pain now runs all the way down my neck and into my shoulder and right chest a bit.  It especially hurts if I apply pressure to my pulse(Carotid artery).  It feels like inflammed nerves or something. So, I went back to another doctor and he gave the same diagnosis. He said unfortunatley the cause is unknown. Now I am on a stronger anti-inflammatory. I just want to know the cause so it won't come back. I also got blood work and a head and neck xray completed, but am still waiting for results. Has anyone ever had this?  Any similar symptoms?  Should I be more concerned? Thanks
197 Responses
Avatar universal
Mine isnt a pain, its a numbness that goes mostly to my chin, jaw and left side of my face. It started with a session of Yoga and at first had intense pain in left side of neck and down shoulder. Lasted just the night of yoga class now this for two weeks.  When I wake up in the morning I feel a constant pressure to just one small area near my lower jaw line and after a few hours of being up the numbness starts. Could this be the same thing the rest of you have?
1348288 tn?1276631107
I have been battling pain around my right carotid for quite sometime and it seems to accompany long bouts of ringing in my ears and what feels like spasms in my head. My Dr.'s answer was anxiety medicine, it didn't work. I did find that when I take niacin supplements that the neck pain gets worse. Thanks to all of you for your input, it has helped me
Avatar universal
I to have been having pain in my left artery. This week I have noticed my air getting cut off more than it does. I take throid meds and I just feel that there is something wrong.I also get dizzy but that could be from my meds I take Blood pressure meds, also. My sister told me I should be taking my 2 ounces of Aloevera twice a day and It would help what is going on.I think I will try that since it helped my mother to help her liver and bleeding ulcer.  It cleared it up... LB
Avatar universal
I to have been having pain in my left artery. This week I have noticed my air getting cut off more than it does. I take throid meds and I just feel that there is something wrong.I also get dizzy but that could be from my meds I take Blood pressure meds, also. My sister told me I should be taking my 2 ounces of Aloevera twice a day and It would help what is going on.I think I will try that since it helped my mother to help her liver and bleeding ulcer.  It cleared it up... LB58
Avatar universal
I have been reading all of these posts on different sites for weeks.  I have the same thing.  Inflamed Carotid artery.  It has been 4 weeks, on and off steroids and all kinds of other anti-inflammatory drugs and nothing seems to kick it all the way. Well, today I had a massage to relax me and while talking to the massage therapist, I told her what was going on and she thought that I ought to try acupuncture.  I thought...WTF?  Well, the acupuncture guy was right next door and she swore by it, so I said what the hell...anything to relieve this damn pain.  I went in and he laid me down on the table and propped up my legs.  I explained all of the symptoms and what the other doctors said.  He felt my right side of my head and found the spot where it hurt the most...Right behind my jaw bone in front of my earlobe...he pressed and it made me jump it hurt so bad.  He said...I think I can help.  I have never done anything like this....so I was very timid.  He took my hand and said that he was going to stick two needles in it.  He pushed both of them in and I felt a tingling in my hand....then he went to my calves and put one needle in each side.  He then asked if the needles hurt...and I said NO.  He then came back to my sore spot that made me jump and pushed...I was ready to jump...but I **** YOU NOT the pain was gone......I could not F'n believe it.  I am typing before you in awe......I have not been without this ******** pain for 4 weeks.....It has been 5 hours since he did this and the pain is still not back... I do feel something in my neck though...like it is working to heal or something.  He explained to me that their are certain points in the body that he can trigger to heal.  I asked if this was just a scam fix or trick ....and he said no.  He said it will come back a little bit and then we will do it again...it will be gone.   Well....I have been with ZERO pain for the past 5 hours and am sitting here typing to you.....find an acupuncture person NOW!!  You will not believe it.  It was $50......30 to 40 minutes and no pain........I sit here in awe.. hope this helps.
Avatar universal
UPDATE.......Last night I typed about going to the Acupuncturist to stop this neck pain related to the inflamed carotid artery.  Well I woke up this morning and it is now 100% gone.  Nothing.  I still am sitting here in awe.  I can not believe it.  I don't know what else to say.  If you think I am out of my mind...I am not.  I  forgot to tell you, I am a 43 year old male in good health, and this carotid artery thing had me at the end of my rope.  4 weeks plus of just feeling miserable.  Reading all of these threads with nowhere to turn.  Every thread has the same type of comments...and no cure except to throw different types of drugs at this........I am living proof...I was so skeptical.......and now I sit here with no pain.  Please take my advice and just try it.  What do you have to lose?  If you really want this pain over, and to see how it feels to live a day with no pain, find a good recommended Acupuncture person.  I still can't believe I am typing this. And I still can't believe this happened.  Everyone around me witnessed this happen yesterday.  My partner in business, and my sister.  They saw how miserable I have been.  Yesterday they could not believe the difference in me...I told them what happened...and my business partner is going in today.  He has had shoulder pain for 8 months.  He witnessed what happened to me...he said..."Man, if that guy can make you well, I will bet he can take care of this shoulder".   I told him........."Call me crazy...but you see what just happened."  Please people...sorry to carry on....but if you want relief from this neck pain....get to a professional acupuncturist.  I am laughing at myself still for even typing this...because if you would of told me this before, I would of just thought....."A voodoo doctor"  LOL.   How is it that I can be stuck with 2 needles in my hand and 2 needles in my legs and be cured when I have had my regular Doctor, a ENT specialist, and an Urgent Care Doctor all put to shame by an ancient technique?  I just jumped over to Wikipedia to read about acupuncture, and in the first article it says many scientists believe it is a "Placebo" effect.  HAHAHAHAHAHA  OMG  well.....I have $$$ in prescription medicines left over from this nightmare...and if you are reading this right now, then do you think your pain in your neck is just in just coming from stress or thoughts?  You know what type of pain you are in, just as I was.  You are reading this thread just like I was searching for answers.  Well friends....I feel great today.  24 hours ago I felt like you.  Screw the garbage meds.....they will not take care of it.  They will only put a bandage on the problem.  Go-* in today and find an Acupuncturist and get healed.  Hope this helps one person...I was excited this morning to get up and tell you people about my journey........off to a good day!
Avatar universal
Wow I am amazed at all the people having the same thing.  About 3 weeks ago or more this lump came up on my carotid artery with severe pain if I even touched it.  Went to my ENT and had a MRI done and NOTHING.  He said it was just inflammed.  Well what does that mean, he did not know just said sometimes it happen.  After reading all the threads, I believe I will try the Acupuncturist.  I have RA and Fibromyalgia as well and have recently had Iritis.  So something to do with all this inflammation in my body is just like attacking everything.  Will see what can be done the natural way without all this medications.
Avatar universal
Wow, I like so many of you found this site by way of painfully seeking info regarding Carotidynia.  After almost 10 years of unexplained pain and scary physical challenges, tons of meds to cover up the real issue and doctors with no answers I am glad to have found all of you and your helpful info.  I was finally properly diagnosed 2 days ago. I just wanted to know what it was and how I got it... not to much to ask for? Well, its good to know that I am not a hypocondriac like some made me seem. Today I went to a follow up appt with my primary doctor and ... she actually laughed when I told her what the ER doctor had diagnosed me with. I was finally convinced that I need to change doctors.  I asked her if she was even familiar with it and she says it was the first time she ever heard of it. Mind you, she had gone as far as to put me on anti depressants in recent months. I mean I've had doctors test me for so many things, xrays, mri's, spinal tap, scans etc... the favorite I think is the "thyroid" testing... uggg! I'm just glad to finally know that its not something I'm making up or something that I'm making happen.  SOmetimes, life just happens, you know?.  Well, I am now making changes that will limit some of the triggers in my case. I am only a 40year old woman and I have a life I love! I am making some changes like limiting my caffeine intake, cutting out the salty and greasy food (thus limiting the acid reflux), instead of hardcore excercise..brisk walking and maybe Tai Chi or something, choosing my battles and fighting with wisdom when I have too. Above All else, believing the Word of God for my healing to manifest according to His promises knowing that He does love me and cares for me. Whatever all this is I believe that it will all work together for my good in that I will now turn my negative and doubtful ways of thinking, bad habits etc.. back to str engths! I pray that your challenges ease up and that you too will find peace, healing and a renewed sense of living, laughing and loving BIG while your still here! Jesus paid it all and that works for me because I need Him more than ever. Be blessed and again, thank you for sharing. * I'm also going to try that acupuncture.*
Avatar universal
Approximately 5 months ago I noticed a mild throat pain, but only on the right side. I didn't think much of it as I had just finished an antibiotic for a sinus infection so I thought it was related to that or maybe I ate something that irritated my throat. Well, the one sided sore throat lingered so I went to the doctor and upon examination they said everything looked normal and said it was likely allergies. Another month later I went back and another doctor said there was nothing observed that looked concerning but that he didn't think it was my throat, that maybe it was my eustachian tube. Well after it didn't resolve I went to a third doctor who said it was my carotid sinus and noted the strong pulse on my right side. After almost 6 months I no longer have a sore throat or ear pain, but I do have a lot of pain down the right side of my neck which extends all the way to the collar bone. When will this go away!? I think I am starting to get depression from the chronic pain and being treated like I'm crazy.
Avatar universal
Hello Everyone,

I've been reading up on all of your stories and it seems we all have one major thing in common... that is, a blockage in our carotid arteries. Looks like some are from plaquing, and some from inflammation. I'm 28 and my blockages are at 75% on both sides with pain on both sides of my neck, jaw, face and head.

I've been to many doctors in the past two weeks and everyone is very concerned about a stroke. I was prescribed a high dose of predisone over the weekend and it worked wonders for the inflammation and took the pain away completely. I'm wondering why the rest of you with inflammatory problems weren't prescribed the same thing. From what my doctor says steroids are a wonderful anti-inflammatory and those combined with an immunosuppressant will put my body into a remission from what ever is telling it to attack itself and inflame the carotid tissues.

We're searching feverishly for a diagnosis, but the vascular medicine doctor is saying that it's a type of vasculitis which is rare but very well known.

I don't know if my journey will lead me to a definite vasculitis diagnosis, but I thought that because it was never mentioned in this thread, it could give you all something to think about.

And also to clear a few things up. Yes, arteries DO become inflamed, it is not impossible. Non-invasive therapies ARE possible if it's inflammation. And autoimmune disorders can act like eachother, so get with a rheumatologist, perhaps even a consult with the vascular surgeon and rheumatologist together. Two heads are better than one. Second opinions are also beneficial.

Good luck to all of you.

Avatar universal
Very interesting reading all the comments about this neck pain! I am suspecting that mine is because my Dr has told me to take more (too much)medication for my thyroid and it is giving me over active thyroid symptoms!! (hyperthyroid) For some of the people out there still trying to find an answer try getting your thyroid tested - for hyper, hypo and antibodies!!! Good luck!
351246 tn?1379685732
Welcome to the MedHelp forum!
Apart from inflammation, it can also be a clot or thrombosis. A color dopplar or duplex ultrasound of neck should be done. Please consult a vascular specialist.
Hope this helps. Please let me know if there is any thing else and do keep me posted. Take care!
Avatar universal
im 14 and i have 2 lumps on my left side between my jaw and my collar bone...
it doesnt hurt when i check my pulse but it is painful when i press on the lumps. My throat hurts unbarably and i have had the worst cough for a week now. I'm on vacation and dont know what to do or what it could be. its too low to be thyroid.

if you have any idea what it could be, let me know.

1422815 tn?1282586143
It sounds like you have some sort of infection going on in your throat.  The lumps are more than likely swollen lymph nodes from the infection so nearby.  

If you haven't had this checked out by a competent doctor or the symptoms haven't gone away you need to run to the doctor.  Tell your parents and if they won't listen tell some other adult who will take you seriously.  Good luck.
Avatar universal
Wow...stumbled upon this forum and OMG!

About a year ago I had a headache that made me see wierd squiggly lines that blink. OK-via the internet,  I find out this is a migraine with aura. Had a second & third occurance over the last 2 weeks -
also experiencing a swooshing sound in my ear-  or sometimes a  heartbeat sound in my ear.

Today, starts the pain in my left cartoid artery!!!!

There is too much of a repeated story here to be a coincidence.

I will be getting a thorough battery of tests including a cartoid doppler-
better to safe than sorry
not to mention I will worry myself to death if I don't.

Please be viligant with your health- Godbless!

Avatar universal
The pain is not causing my spelling errors. Typing/thinking too fast. LOL

Also, interesting that I too have been on low carb diet.

Avatar universal
Several years ago I had some of the dame simptoms mentioned her and after years of going to different doctors and being told various things I finally had an angiogram after I was waking up in pain, bad headaches and switching sound in my ear, the right side. I was finally diagnosed with Takayasus' Artritis (TA) a read disease. Have your doctor check you C reactor protein and Sed rate to see the levels. Hope this helps someone out there.
All the best.  Jackie
Avatar universal

I'm a 56 year old woman who has been suffering debilitating pain in the right carotid area, spreading to the entire jawline, facial nerves (in the v3 area of the trigenimal nerve.) At age 44, after a rather damaging accident, I had reconstrucitve surgery on my face including the nose, upper jaw, and lower jaw. Facial bones had to be cut, sawed, then screwed, plated, and sewn back into place. It was close to a one year recovery. However, after approximately 2 months after that massive and painful surgery, I developed pain in my lower right jaw that no amount of meds OR doctors seemed to be able to help.

Unknowing dentists pulled teeth, others scratched their heads, many let me know they believed I was simply an hysterical woman and referred me on (probably to one of their worst enemies!)  Yes! I went to all of the right specialists...from the Parker Mahon Facial Pain Center @ Florida State University in Gainsville, to Baylor Hospital in Dallas, to Cedars Sinai Facial Pain Center in Beverly Hills. In between, I sought naturopathic remedies, massage, accupuncture as well as accupressure, an. blue light laser treatments. I even sought out a Cunendero (3rd world country voodoo healer) in Central Mexico. Today I laugh but, as many of you may understand, when dealing with long-term, non-stop, chronic suffering with chronic pain, one can find themselves searching for any answer, medical, naturopathic, or mystical.

Fortunately, Dr. Stephen Graff-Radford, the Director of the Facial Pain Center at Cedars-Sinai gave me a diagnosis of atypical trigeminal neuralgia. Because the prognosis is poor, it has been labeled "the suicide disease" and many choose to end their lives rather than live with the level of pain. At the time I lived in Oklahoma but, in order to follow his treatment plan for me and to be able to take advantage of his expertise in medication trials and cutting-edge procedures, I moved to LA for 8 months. And, while the pain decreased significantly, it never decreased enough for me to be able to return to my profession. To date, I have lost my 15 year career as a graduate level statistics professor, my social life along with many friends who just couldn't reconcile the "but you look fine" with my constant complaints of pain.  I am no longer able to scuba dive, snow ski, swim, hike, run, or even walk. The very least of those movements jar my body, causing an exacerbation of the pain in that angle of the jaw.  Speaking, smiling, chewing food, kissing my guy (he left due to my medical problems, too!), brushing my teeth, the electrical shocks to my face, the facial muscle spasms, ...all of those are symptoms of trigeminal neuralgia.I've had 5 surgeries over 9 years in 4 states, (one experimental to build a new mandible out of my hip bone to protect the exposed trigeminal nerve.)

Of course, as we doctor hoppers know, doctors like to be correct. I kept insisting that I was (and had for the past 9 years) absolutey positive that I was experiencing multiple problems in that area and that there simply had to be something someone was overlooking. FINALLY, I made the decision to go to Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, AZ. I purposefully gave them very little information other than the suggested diagnosis and a history of the 5 surgeries to the area. NEVER have I been treated with such dignity and respect. The "it's in your head" attitude is non-existent. To date, I have been going to Mayo Clinic for approximately 8 months while the various specialists put forth their theories about the nature of the underlying cause of my jaw/facial/neck/breast, shoulder pain. After 11 years, another few months is nothing when searching for the right diagnosis and resolution. I have undergone more MRI's, more CAT scans, more bone density tests...to rule out various possibilities.

After many tests by many doctors, the Director of Neurosurgery suggested that, given what little could be seen in the MRI & CAT scan (too many metal plates and screws are in the way), his recommendation was to see another physician there and begin Radiofrequency Alblation (RFA) on the V-3, V-2, and occipital nerves. This would SURELY give me some relief from the Trigenimal Neuralgia. The first RFA helped tremendously on the jaw/artery area. The V-2 and occipital nerve RFA's did nothing. BUT....and PRAISE SOMEONE.....

I had a follow up appointment with Dr. Karl Deleuw at Mayo Clinic who suggested that I might be suffering from Carotidynia, a form of Carotid Artery Disease. He immediately placed me on a dose pak of steroids and, within 8 hours of beginning the med regemine, the pain had decreased from a 9/10 to a 3/10 with even an approximate 2 hours during which I forgot about being a chronic pain patient at all!!  While I know I have some permanent nerve damage to the trigeminal nerve from a surgery gone bad, I now firmly believe that, yes! I know my own body! and that, if the Carotidynia can be treated properly, I can manage the trigeminal neuralgia issue. Given that, I MIGHT HAVE A CHANCE AT A NORMAL LIFE AGAIN!!  

So, my fellow chronic pain sufferers, keep the faith in your own knowledge of your own body, don't let the doctors discount what you DO know from an experiental perspective, and seek out different specialists if you can afford to do so. Doctor hopping is sometimes the only way to get to the answers. We seem to forget that our good doctors, while the majority of them are well-intentioned and most sincere, have different skill levels as well as different skill sets and it is, untimately, up to us to advocate for our own health. Please, eleven years is simply too long to live in a constant state of severe pain. TRY MAYO CLINIC. I THINK IT IS TO BE MY PHYSICAL, AS WELL AS EMOTIONAL, SALVATION.
Avatar universal
hi my name is melissa.where i live there arent any good doctors.im 16 and really love to do sport.a couple months ago when i would skip rope or even run a bit the "inside" of my neck would start to hurt.so i'm getting worried because it's only when my heartbeat rate increases that this pain starts!at first i would try and ignore it thinking it wasn't serious and would go away but now i realise that each time i do sports the pain starts.i don't know what the problem is and would really like to know.not that i'm afraid to die or anything but i want to know what is going on with me.the worst part is that it's stopping me from doing sports as well as i can.in june 2011 we have this sports exam and i don't want to fail.doing sports is important to me.just yesterday we did 12 minutes of running wich isn't even all that much but when 10 minutes passed the pain started.i pushed myself to finish the 12 minutes and as i stopped i just couldn't breath.i was taking deep breaths and this weird sound was coming out.i souded like an asmatic person wich i AM NOT.i have already smoked a few times.maybe about 12 times max n have decided i wouldn't ever again because i don't want that to affect my doing sports.told my mum and sports teacher but theydidn't really seem concerned...sooo please someone help?
Avatar universal
My problems started in 2008 with a tooth ache. It soon turned into massive earaches and a knot on the front of my neck. I would get tender spots in my head and headaches. i developed weakness in one side of my face. The pain was really bad in my neck but I wasnt getting any help. I started having swallowing problems to the point I couldnt eat solids anymore. I recently had to have a feeding tube in because I had lost so much weight. well told I finally seen a ENT, that I drove 3 1/2 hours to see....He said that I have inflamation in my carotid artery...he said that inflammatory drugs is whats used to treat it...but I take Ibprophen everyday for the past 2 years...its hasnt helped sooo far...It hurts soo bad in my neck...I so hope the doctors r right..I hope this helps someone if they have had the same experience...
Top General Health Answerers
363281 tn?1518219421
Nelson, New Zealand
1756321 tn?1547098925
Queensland, Australia
19694731 tn?1482853437
Learn About Top Answerers
Didn't find the answer you were looking for?
Ask a question
Popular Resources
In this unique and fascinating report from Missouri Medicine, world-renowned expert Dr. Raymond Moody examines what really happens when we almost die.
Think a loved one may be experiencing hearing loss? Here are five warning signs to watch for.
When it comes to your health, timing is everything
We’ve got a crash course on metabolism basics.
Learn what you can do to avoid ski injury and other common winter sports injury.
Here are the pros and cons of the top fad diets and weight loss plans of the year.