Dear Ask The Doctor: Hi, I have what started off as what I thought was a crick in my neck about a week ago but in the past few days it has gotten worse and now feels extremely painful to swallow, but at the back of my neck as opposed to my throat, its mostly on my left hand side but sometimes on both sides at the same time and always to the back, its giving me horrible headaches too, is this something that is likely to just go away itself or is a trip to the doctor needed?
Dear Patient: Swallowing is a complex act that involves the mouth, throat area, and esophagus (the muscular tube that moves food to the stomach). Many nerves and muscles control how these body parts work. Part of the act of swallowing is under voluntary control, which means you are aware of controlling the action. However, much of swallowing is involuntary. The pain may be felt high in the neck or lower down behind the breastbone. It is most often a strong feeling of uncomfortable squeezing and burning, and may be a symptom of a serious disorder. Possible causes of painful swallowing are as follows: infections or abscess in the back of the throat, esophagus problems (achalasia, spasms, reflux disease). I strongly recommend you to visit your doctor and get a comprehensive evaluation including lab and imaging tasts in order to rule out early any kind of serious condition.