This question was answered on Fri 19, Jun 2009 05:46pm by Dr Vinod, MBBS,FcGP

Sharp intermittent pain on right side of neck

Asked by acguinn0215 (Female; 26; Overweight, history of allergies, mild anemia, chronic tonsilitis as a child, mononucleosis at the age of 22. Family history of depression, heart disease, diabetes, breast cancer, colon cancer, ovarian cancer, lymphoma, etc.; Relevant drugs:N/A ) on Fri 19, Jun 2009 09:55am

I have been getting this intermittent sharp pain on the right side of my neck , about 1-2 inches directly below my ear, for several months now. It is a sharp, stabbing pain in a very tiny area, lasting 5-10 seconds at a time. It does not feel like a muscle cramp. It can happen at any time, whether I am lying in bed or sitting at my desk at work. I mentioned it to my doctor several months ago, but she seemed to dismiss it as nothing, never asking any questions about it or anything. What could this be, and what can I do about it?

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Answer by Dr Vinod, MBBS,FcGP  on Fri 19, Jun 2009 05:46pm:

Dear acguinn0215, Check if you have any middle ear infection, throat infection, pharyngitis etc. If you do not have any problem then it may be due to your neck muscle called sternocleidomastoid stiffness due to some sprain, false position while sleeping which is causing this pain. This muscle runs along the neck and is inserted in the opposite side of your ear (mastoid process of temporal bone). Take care!
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Follow up:

Clarification by acguinn0215 on Sat 20, Jun 2009 11:49pm:
There is no infection. I have had no fever and for the most part have felt fine. The pain in my neck does not involve any stiffness, and it does not run along the entire side of my neck, just this one tiny little spot. It only hurts briefly for a few seconds once every couple of days or more, but the pain is fairly intense. I would say it has been occurring off and on for nearly a year now. I recently had a blood test (SPEE) done at a plasma donation center, and my alpha-1 and alpha-2 blood proteins were high, which I understand can indicate some sort of inflammation. I do no know if this has anything to do with the neck pain. Thank you for your quick response.


Comment by Renee on Tue 20, Sep 2011 12:52pm:
I had this same thing start this morning and the only way I can relieve the stabbing pain is to press hard on the area. Did you ever find out what it is?

Comment by Greg on Wed 11, Apr 2012 07:21pm:
I have had episodes like this for years now and have never looked into it. They are ALWAYS random and there are usually 3 or 4 quick shock-like pains and I have to cringe to the right or back for it to stop. Anyone have a clue what these are and prevent them?

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