ZocdocAnswersMy neck hurts on one side only. What can I do?

Question

My neck hurts on one side only. What can I do?

I have had a constant pain on my right side of the neck (jaw/ throat area). I feel like it's my lymph node. I have no symptoms besides pain. I've seen two doctors who say it's just muscle pain. One doc did do X-rays, but saw nothing. He gave me a lidocaine cream that doesn't help at all. Traditional pain meds don't help either. It hurts to turn my head left, right, and up. Sometimes when I swallow, it feels like something is stuck in my throat. It's very annoying and draining al my energy. It's been a few weeks already. Any clue what I should do?

Answer

Thank you for your question, and I am sorry to hear that you are suffering in this way for such a long time. Let's review some of the different possibilities of what could be causing your symptoms, and then provide direction or suggestions about where to turn next in terms of seeking medical attention. First, your doctors seem to agree thus far that your symptoms are musculoskeletal in nature. Some possible options that can help some patients with these problems include working with a physical therapist or a doctor or healthcare provider who deals with this specific problem. This should of course be done while working with your other doctors. Other potential options include nerve or soft tissue problems that can either cause abnormal sensations or even place pressure in some regions. Infection of course can also cause some pain. The fact that you have had some imaging is helpful, but it is important to know what type of imaging you have had, as not all are created equal. Finally, either a spine doctor (neurologist, neurosurgeon, or orthopedic surgeon) may be able to help. Alternatively, an ear nose and throat surgeon (ENT aka otolaryngologist) can help with other problems in this area. Please speak with your doctor about the next steps to help you feel better.

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