What is Carotidynia & How is it Treated?|Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis of Carotidynia

What is Carotidynia?

A symptom of vascular neck pain, Carotidynia is a throbbing pain on the neck and the face that results in tenderness of the carotid artery. It is a physical change that may occur on the carotid artery on the neck and the pain gradually shifts upwards to the jaw, ear and ultimately to the forehead. Carotidynia is commonly associated with young and middle-aged adults.

What is Carotidynia?

Symptoms of Carotidynia

The initial symptoms of the occurrence of carotidynia are tonsillitis and infection of the upper respiratory portion. Some the common symptoms associated with the occurrence of such medical ailment includes:

  • Watery eyes
  • Stuffy nose
  • Pain on single side of the neck and head
  • Tenderness of the carotid artery
  • Pain in the carotid arteries inside the ear
  • Pain on the back side of the eyes and jaws

Carotid arteritis, a potentially advanced stage of carotidynia shows symptoms like fever, pain in the jaws and tongue during chewing, ringing of the ears, and visual disturbance or sudden blindness in rare cases.

Causes of Carotidynia

The exact cause of Carotidynia is yet to be known, although some physicians relate it to vascular changes to the carotid artery, a major blood vessel that supplies the brain with oxygenated blood. Although, there is no particular genetic component that can be attached to such occurrence, children having parents suffering from such complications face an increased risk of having carotidynia. Exposure to cold weather can also be a contributing factor towards the development of such medical condition. There are other habits as well which can put people at risk of developing carotidynia such as smoking that can result in formation of plaque in the arteries and also undergoing a recent dental procedure.

Diagnosis of Carotidynia

Making a misdiagnosis is quite a common fact with carotidynia as most physicians confuse such problem with other medical conditions like trigeminal neuralgia or chronic sinusitis. This is because of the fact that all these medical conditions have similar symptoms on the body making it difficult for the physician to make the correct diagnosis. To ensure accurate detection of such problem, the physician will advise to undertake a biopsy and rule out the possibility of occurrence of any other physical complications. In addition to this, other medical tests are also performed to identify any other associated complications.

Treatment of Carotidynia

The most common treatment for carotidynia is the use of prescription drugs that are generally administered for migraines. There are several medication options for treating carotidynia that vary depending upon the course of action undertaken by the physician.

The use of corticosteroid medications have also been seen to produce beneficial effects on the patient suffering from carotidynia. This treatment procedure is generally undertaken where there is a chance of avoiding irreversible blindness resulting from persistent health condition. Otherwise, this one-sided headache is allowed to heal all by its own as it is mostly self-healing. The physician must checkup for the probable causes that lead to the occurrence of such physical ailment.


Carotidynia is more prominent among young and middle-aged adults and can be treated with general pain medicines in simple cases. However, a follow-up care is the key to ensure proper treatment and safety. Just make it a point to visit the doctor at regular intervals and take immediate consultation in case of emergency situation. Also, keep a record of the test results and the medicines that are required to be taken. In most cases, the body takes necessary steps to heal such physical conditions naturally.

Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:May 17, 2018

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