Pulmonary Embolism Support Group

By far the most common form of pulmonary embolism is a thromboembolism, which occurs when a blood clot, generally a venous thrombus, becomes dislodged from its site of formation and embolizes to the arterial blood supply of one of the lungs. Symptoms may include difficulty breathing, pain during breathing, and more rarely circulatory instability and death.

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sensation in neck....

I had a weird sensation (almost like stinging and/or burning) in my neck area near the carotid artery for almost three days before my pulmonary embolism. Once I got to the hospital.... the doctor's dismissed it as "nothing". Now, I'm getting this feeling again. I know it's not muscular and have called my primary care doc...
He said that if it continues or gets worse- to
go back to the ER. Did anyone else experience this symptom with leading up to their PE? I also had severe chest pain, sharp pain in left lung and pain radiating down my shoulder a few days before going to the emergency room. thanks for any input! Hope everyone is having a good day...

Replies

deleted_user
deleted_user

Hey there, this is strange as i had this too, it wasn't too painful though and i always just forgot to mention it to the doctor. it was on the left side of my neck and kind felt like i'd pulled a muscle or something, and the feeling remained for about two months after my PE.

sorry, not adding advice I'm afraid, just an 'I'm with you!'

hope someone else can maybe shed some light on this one though...
deleted_user
deleted_user

Oooh, I sort of had this ... the week before last I think? Definitely right next to/near the carotid - it wasn't a burning, but more like what Shyla said, a pulled muscle - but more ... "sharp." It wasn't continuous, but would sort of "stab" from time to time. It rattled my nerves since it seemed to be near the carotid ... but it only lasted a few days and was not major pain. It was definitely one of those things I was watching pretty closely, though.

Leading up to the PE, I started out with dull upper abdominal ache that developed into sharp, stabbing right chest pain, stretching around my entire right side and stabbing right shoulder blade pain (excruciating) over a 3 day period (my left side never hurt which is odd since I had multiple bilateral PE). Once I was at home, I had a upper right front shoulder stabbing pain, kind of into my lower right neck area. That kept me sleeping on many pillows for about 2 weeks total (including hospital where I slept mostly upright).

I know they say a lot of the pain afterwards is muscle strain ... but it's in places I didn't even know I had muscles (as a personal trainer, I'm sure you're laughing at this having heard it many times for giving people a good work-out, I'm sure!). In a way, I almost felt like I'd been in a car accident ... all these weird aches and pains ...

Not sure if that helps. Do take care and let us know what happens!
deleted_user
deleted_user

Hi AlexandraK,

You will have to excuse my ignorance...i am probably just about to sound really thick...

But, I'm guessing that the carotid artery in the neck is affected by a PE. Everytime I see a consultant at the hospital, they study my neck and look for any changes. As yet, I still dont know what they are looking for...i must ask actually...but i guess that highlights that this artery in the neck is affected by a PE...dont know how or why...sorry...infact I probably havent helped you out at all with telling you all of that! hope you are doing ok xxx
deleted_user
deleted_user

Thanks Shyla, Khurney and Loveheart,
I ended up going to the ER but didn't get admitted into the hospital..... I'm home tonight and it's always interesting to here a different doctor and what they have to say. It seems like every doctor has a different version of the story.

He believes strongly that my "sensation" or pain in my neck area is not from the PE, but I scored very high for an autoimmune disease (which can make us more prone to clotting with a high ANA blood test). He sent me home with a diagnosis of Lupus, but wants me to followup with a rheumotologist in the next week or so for further testing.

I met with an ER doctor at the Mayo Clinic Hospital.... he did say that some people with PE's have pain for the rest of their lives because of the tissue that has been damaged in our lungs. He also said that the pain can go away with time.... depending on how our body heals and the damage that was done. I ended up getting blood work and a chest x-ray...everything was mostly normal. I was hoping to get some type of ultrasound on my carotid arteries or MRI, but he said that it was not related to my pulmonary embolism.

I will see my primary care doctor in a few days, but now I'm still having a bit of discomfort in my neck, but a little more relaxed just from a doctor spending time with me and trying to explain the recovery process, as well as autoimmune disorders... I'll keep you posted and thanks again for your words of wisdom. I don't think I could have made it through all of this without your faithful support... THANKS! :) Lori
deleted_user
deleted_user

Wow, Lupus? I wonder how he knew that with the ANA being high? Well, rest-assured if it turns into a definitive diagnosis I had a (step) grandmother who lived an active, happy, fulfilling and loooooong life with Lupus. Didn't slow her down one bit, actually!

Take care and keep us posted!
deleted_user
deleted_user

I googled embolism neck this morning because all last night I had a pain in my neck. It started low and moved up toward my ear, actually affecting the ear by morning. I would liken it to a really bad ear ache but it was in my neck by my carotid. I've never had an embolism but was worried that maybe this was what I as experiencing. I've been taking pain medication and alieve all night. I would appreciate any advice that anyone has that has had that experience before the had a PE. It is very encouraging to me to see so many people that have had a PE and are healthy and doing well. I wish all of you the very best.
deleted_user
deleted_user

I had this after my PE, they did a sonogram of my carotid and it came back clear. The pain lasted about two week and then went away
deleted_user
deleted_user

I'm 8 months post PE, 2 months post warfarin, and I have a weird feeling in my neck, both sides, near the carotid arteries. Feels like someone is gently strangling me. I've had it on and off for a few months. Don't recall it before PE. Probably at its worst last night. Not a major pain, but worrying. I've had blood tests from Haemotologist, results in 6 - 8 weeks. Anyone else got anything similar recently?
TossNTurn
TossNTurn

@kendall...

I had that kind of feeling right about the time I was diagnosed. Felt like I had something tightish around my throat or like I had something kind of stuck in there. In fact, at first my docs thought I was having severe sinus drainage (I've had ongoing sinus issues) and that was causing some of the breathing issues and so on.

Took a while to go away, but it did. Keep your doc in the loop, but I wouldn't panic over this one.
pattiannh
pattiannh

@kendall... I also had that sensation, like my throat was closing in, being strangled feeling. Sometimes hard to swallow. I'm 5 months post pe and this was last month. Lasted a few weeks. Dr. seems to think that it was anxiety related. It has since gotten better.
deleted_user
deleted_user

I had it too. Just as you described. Sometimes a burning pain, sometimes stabbing (like I had just pulled a muscle), sometimes a tightness, and I could feel my pulse pounding through the area. I'm a neuroscientist, so my thoughts immediately went to blocked carroted and potential stroke material. It freaked me out. It also happened whenever I was feeling short of breath or weak. Often I'd also feel light-headed too, which would lead me to thinking I was on the verge of a stroke, which in turn would lead to a panic attack, which didn't help either! It started when I was in the hospital and persisted for several weeks (probably about 2 months), although gradually become less and less pronounced.

I asked every doc I could about it because I was convinced I was on the verge of having a stroke. I talked to my GP, my Hema, a general cardiologist and even an electrocardiologist. They all became concerned at first, listened to my arteries, then would shrug say I was OK. The best they could come up with was the idea that it was caused by "referred" pain from damage in the lungs caused by the PE. The sensory nerves (specific to pain perception) that go from the organs of our body (like lungs, heart, stomach, gut, etc), are not very specific. Sometimes the brain misinterprets where the signals are coming from, so we think it's some-where else. Sometimes it refers it to somewhere that we can actually touch, because that's what makes "sense" to the brain. This is why when people are having heart-attacks, they sometimes feel the pain in their shoulders or arm pit. Same with people who have PE's and feel stabbing pain in their back. The brain doesn't have a good "body map" location for the lungs, so it interprets the pain as being somewhere that it can map (even if it's wrong).

I actually teach this stuff in class all the time! But it's different when it's happening to YOU).

It's been almost a year (had my PE Aug 23, 2011) and occasionally there are days when I over-do it and I get the pain in my neck again, but it's rare and I've finally learned that it's not going to kill me and I can deal with it now. I'm nearly 100% again, although I still have days where I crash after too much physical activity. Still, it's worth having it checked out. That was my experience and it's comforting to hear that others have had it too, and it turned out all OK.

Hang in there!
KS