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Dr. Mark
Dr. Mark, Physician / Surgeon
Category: Medical
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Experience:  U.S. Surgeon / Neurological Surgery
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I have a very swollen muscle on the left side of my neck. I

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I have a very swollen muscle on the left side of my neck. I assume its a musle because it changes when I move and it located where muscle would be (I guess it's sternocleidomastoid muscle) . Its very hard and kind of swallen, which is not very visible , but obvious to touch. Left side muscle is much more defined and hard then the right one.
This also affects the whole left side of the face/neck. I have some left temple pain (mild), some face swelling, some neck pain and even throat discomfort.
I do work in front of the computer a lot and my left side is usually more elevated and tense.

What could be the reason for such a long-time and bothering muscle tension?
I had MRI of the cervical spine and it was normal. I'm not sure if this MRI would be able to see any muscle problem (such as tumor, etc). Is there a possibility for tumor in my muscle? The whole muscle feels very hard. Please, advise.
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Medical
Expert:  Dr. Mark replied 3 years ago.
Well, a doctor, who examines you, should be able to tell you if that is indeed the sternocleidomastoid muscle itself, or something else.

Some people do get muscle spasms of the neck that can cause the muscle to feel "hard".

A MRI of the cervical spine is slightly different than a MRI of the neck -- as the cervical spine focuses in only around the area of the spinal cord -- so it may miss the front part of the neck, and so the muscles, such as the sternocleidomastoid muscle may be missed as part of the scan.

A condtion called dystonia - can cause involuntary contraction of the muscle (which causes neck twisting) -- and doesn't sound like what is going on here -- but is a remote possibility:

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/spasmodic-torticollis/DS00836

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

What kind of doctor should be able to identify if its a 100% muscle spasm or something else?

My GP doctor didnt tell me much....

Expert:  Dr. Mark replied 3 years ago.
Well, a doctor that deals with this area would be helpful.

An ENT doctor, who deals with necks a lot can easily determine if this is a muscle, or if further testing is needed to determine what this is. A neurologist could probably do the same thing, as they would be able to recognize what dystonia is like. And if they wanted to further examine this, a MRI or CT of the neck (not cervical spine) would include all of the muscles of the front part of the neck.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Thank you. Last thing - what are the chances thats its tumor if nard/swollen area is about 4 inches big and not very visible, mostly palpable...
Expert:  Dr. Mark replied 3 years ago.
Tumors are unusual in this area. It could be the muscles of the neck, or the thyroid gland, but certainly since it has been bothering you -- perhaps making an appointment with an ENT doctor will help to get this evaluated.
Dr. Mark, Physician / Surgeon
Category: Medical
Satisfied Customers: 11946
Experience: U.S. Surgeon / Neurological Surgery
Dr. Mark and 6 other Medical Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Thank you very much.

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