What is carotidynia?

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Carotidynia: Overview

Carotidynia is a pain that you feel in your neck or face. It is linked with physical changes that can happen in a carotid artery in your neck. Your neck may feel tender in the area of the artery. The pain often goes up the neck to the jaw, ear, or forehead.

Some diseases can cause carotidynia. Your doctor will check for those. Simple carotidynia may be treated with pain medicine.

How can you care for yourself when you have carotidynia?

  • Use a cold pack where your neck hurts. This may help decrease pain and swelling. If the problem is near the shoulder or upper back, ice the back of the neck. Do this for 10 to 20 minutes at a time. Put a thin cloth between the ice and your skin. You may also use ice frozen in a foam cup. Be sure not to leave it on your skin too long, or you can get frostbite.
  • Try heat if ice does not help. To apply heat, put a warm water bottle, a heating pad set on low, or a warm cloth on your neck. Do not go to sleep with a heating pad on your skin.
  • Take anti-inflammatory medicine to reduce pain and swelling. These include ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) and naproxen (Aleve). Read and follow all instructions on the label.

Carotidynia: When to call

Call 911 anytime you think you may need emergency care. For example, call if:

  • You have severe pain in your neck, ear, or head and have numbness on one side of your body.

Call your doctor now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • Your home treatment does not work.
  • Your pain gets worse or keeps you from doing what you normally do.
  • You get numbness or weakness anywhere.
  • You have a fever.

Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor if you have any problems.

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The content above contains general health information provided by Healthwise, Incorporated, and reviewed by its medical experts. This content should not replace the advice of your healthcare provider. Not all treatments or services described are offered as services by us. For recommended treatments, please consult your healthcare provider.