Read below about head or neck rubbing, including causes and common questions. Or get a personalized analysis of your head or neck rubbing from our A.I. health assistant. At Buoy, we build tools that help you know what’s wrong right now and how to get the right care.

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7 Potential Head or Neck Rubbing Causes

Disclaimer: The article does not replace an evaluation by a physician. Information on this page is provided as an information resource only, and is not to be used or relied on for any diagnostic or treatment purposes.

  1. 1.Middle Ear Infection

    Middle ear infections, also known as otitis media, occur when the tubes that carry sound become clogged with debris like mucus.

    With proper treatment, middle ear infections generally resolve within a week.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    fatigue, sore throat, new headache, fever, ear canal pain
    Symptoms that always occur with middle ear infection:
    ear canal pain
    Symptoms that never occur with middle ear infection:
    vertigo (extreme dizziness), face weakness, facial numbness
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  2. 2.Non - Specific Shoulder Pain

    The shoulder is made up of many ligaments and several bones. Shoulder pain is often not identifiable because of how complicated a joint it is.

    1-2 weeks

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    shoulder pain
    Symptoms that always occur with non-specific shoulder pain:
    shoulder pain
    Urgency:
    Self-treatment
  3. 3.Cellulitis

    Facial cellulitis is a skin infection that typically comes from other parts of the face like the mouth or the sinuses and needs antibiotic treatment. Symptoms can be pain, redness, warmth and swelling of the affected area.

    Dependent on severity of infection

    Rarity:
    Uncommon
    Top Symptoms:
    fever, chills, facial redness, swollen face, face pain
    Symptoms that always occur with cellulitis:
    facial redness, area of skin redness
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor

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  4. 4.Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder

    Premenstrual dysmorphic disorder is a condition that occurs 5-11 days before menstruation that causes depression-like symptoms, where you have depression-like symptoms, irritability, and tension.

    Symptoms of premenstrual dysmorphic disorder can be managed with a healthy lifestyle. In severe cases, antidepressants may be useful.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    fatigue, stomach bloating, anxiety, depressed mood, abdominal cramps (stomach cramps)
    Symptoms that always occur with premenstrual dysphoric disorder:
    impaired social or occupational functioning, symptoms of depression, anxiety and emotional lability
    Symptoms that never occur with premenstrual dysphoric disorder:
    constant sadness, post-menopausal
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  5. 5.Allergic Contact Dermatitis of the Face

    Allergic contact dermatitis is a condition in which the skin becomes irritated and inflamed following physical contact with an allergen. Common products known to cause allergic dermatitis include plants, metals, soap, fragrance, and cosmetics.

    1-2 days

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    facial redness, face itch, scabbed area of the face
    Symptoms that always occur with allergic contact dermatitis of the face:
    facial redness
    Urgency:
    Self-treatment
  6. 6.Eczema (Atopic Dermatitis)

    Eczema is a form of skin inflammation that causes skin to be dry, itchy, red, and irritated.

    This is a long-term, recurring condition but symptoms are manageable with care.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    trouble sleeping, feeling itchy or tingling all over, dry skin, scalp itchiness, flexor surface rash
    Symptoms that never occur with eczema (atopic dermatitis):
    fever
    Urgency:
    Phone call or in-person visit
  7. 7.Normal Occurrence of Headache

    Headaches are extremely common & a primary reason people miss work or school. In many cases, the cause for headache is unknown.

    1 day

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    headache, mild headache, muscle tension, new headache, severe headache
    Symptoms that always occur with normal occurrence of headache:
    headache
    Symptoms that never occur with normal occurrence of headache:
    headache resulting from a head injury, severe headache, vomiting, pain, restricted movement, and clicking sounds from jaw, jaw pain, being severely ill, fever, drooping eyelid, wateriness in both eyes, unexplained limb pain
    Urgency:
    Self-treatment

Questions Your Doctor May Ask About Head or Neck Rubbing

  • Q.Have you had difficulty feeding?
  • Q.Any fever today or during the last week?
  • Q.Has your physician noticed slower than normal growth?
  • Q.Are you feeling less alert than normal?

If you've answered yes to one or more of these questions, try our head or neck rubbing symptom checker to find out more.

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Head or Neck Rubbing Symptom Checker Statistics

  • People who have experienced head or neck rubbing have also experienced:

    • 18% Recent Increase in Crying
    • 8% Cough
    • 8% Fever
  • People who have experienced head or neck rubbing had symptoms persist for:

    • 56% Less Than a Day
    • 24% Less Than a Week
    • 10% Over a Month
  • Source: Aggregated and anonymized results from visits to the Buoy AI health assistant (check it out by clicking on “Take Quiz”).

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