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Date of last update: 10/01/2017.

Forum Name: Spinal problems and back pain

Question: Back of neck extremely swollen and Tender.

 Stacersxx - Sat Mar 28, 2009 9:33 am

I've had neck problems since 2003, and ended up going to a chiropractor who told me that I basically have no curve to my neck. I kept going for a while, but haven't been back in about 3 years. I also have really poor posture which I am trying to work on.

My neck has caused me pain since then, but lately it's been a little more extreme. and I noticed about 4 days ago that the back of my neck/upper back is extremely swollen. And I'm really worried because Ice and Anti-Inflamitories don't seem to be doing the trick. And I keep getting this pressure in my temples and tightness/pain in my jaw and I don't know if this is related.

I also have panic disorder and I stupidly googled and now I'm scared that I either tore my cartoid artery or have some kind of tumor on my neck.

I have a doctors appt. on Thursday of next week, I just wanted to know what I should look forward too.

Could this be something as simple as muscle strain or or tension or could it be something serious?
 Tom Plamondon PA-C - Thu Apr 02, 2009 9:30 pm

User avatar Hello,
Lots of times, loss of curvature in the neck is due to muscle spasms. The pain and swelling in the neck due to a torn caroitid artery would be extremely rare and would be the result of high impact trauma...not poor posture. Tumor is unlikely as well.
The best test to get is a simple cervical xray with flexion and extension views. This will show any gross abnormalities (if any) and if normal give some reassurance.
If the meantime, keep up with the NSAIDS and heat/ice packs.
Expect the physician to ask questions about numbness/tingling in the arms, arm weakness, location and character of the pain, what makes it better or worse. The examinatin should include reflex testing, muscle strength tests, sensation check (all done on the arms); neck range of motion, palpating the tissue in the neck.
He may recommend a CT or MRI but probably will check cervical xray first- depends on your history and physical results.
Oh...yes the jaws and head in general can hurt with neck pain - very common. But have him check the TMJ joints too.

Let us know how it goes.
Take care.

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