Heres my situation and question....about two days ago a tendon or muscle in my neck "popped" out of place. This has happened to me half a dozen times since I was 14. I am now 38. Every other time I solved the problem by swallowing. Upon which time, the tendon or muscle would "snap" back into place. It hurts like blazes but it worked. This time it is not working. Its becoming more painful to swallow and thr front right side of my neck is now slightly swollen. What do I do?
Optional Information: Male, Age: 38, TennesseeAlready Tried: Swallowing, swallowing hard, with my head tilted up and back, to the left, to the right, pushing on the sensitive side of my neck and swallowing.
Can you describe where you felt the "popping" sensation? What it in the midline in the front, right over the windpipe (trachea) area, or was it off to the side along the anglular muscle that runs from your breast plate toward the back of the ear? Which side? Do you have full range of motion of your neck, forward and backward bending, rotation from side-to-side, and ear-to-shoulder?
Thank you,XXXXX XXXXX, MD
Reply to XXXXX XXXXX, MD's Post: The "popping" sensation and pain is to the right side of my Adam's Apple and slightly downward about 2-3 inches. It is painful to the touch and slightly swollen. It doenst feel like inflammation as much as something pushing against my tissue from the inside out. I have full range of motion of my neck but there is pain in the same area when I turn my head too far to the right or left or down. When swallowing, it is the least painful when I turn my head to the right and down slightly. It varies in pain when my head is in any other direction. It "feels" as though my Adam's Apple is having to force its way past an object in order to complete its movement. This situation ALWAYS begins when I am laying down and vocalizing (Ex. Singing, talking or laughing) The first time it happened at age 14, I was laying down and laughing at something on TV. This time I was laying down reading aloud to a friend.
In this region there are multiple anatomic structures, but a popping sensation and pain with swallowing that is positional puts this likely in the realm of the cartilage and muscles (called strap muscles), which attach to the cartilages (thyroid and cricoid cartilages) and the bone (hyoid bone). Here are a couple of views to help orient you to what I am speaking about:
These cartilage sections articulate with each other, and are moved by muscles controlling swallowing and neck position via the strap muscles and esaphagus (food pipe) muscles. There are a couple of additional cartilage structure not seen in this view that lie behind and are hidden by the thyroid cartilage.
Additionally, these cartilage structures can move and slide relative to each other, but it sounds like you have one that has slid and potentially become injured or "dislocated." It could be inflammed from this process. Try swallowing a few drinks of beverage or pieces of food carefully while you are extending your neck back and to the left, then back and to the right, several times. You may also gently move or rock these cartilage regions around and below the Adam's Apple (thyroid cartilage) while you are carefully swallowing.
If the manoevres fail to make things feel normal and the swelling continues, I would recommend you be seen by an ENT physician (otorhinolaryngology) ... because the swelling concerns me. If there is a problem with your thyroid, lymph nodes, or other soft tissues in the neck, these can only be evaluated by physical examination or additional studies.
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Licensed MD. Mayo Clinic Rochester trained physician in Internal Medicine - Critical Care Medicine.