Symptoms A-Z

Pain in The Front of The Neck Symptom, Causes & Questions

Understand your pain in the front of the neck symptoms, including 8 causes & common questions.

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  1. 8 Possible Causes
  2. Questions Your Doctor May Ask
  3. Statistics

8 Possible Pain In The Front Of The Neck Causes

The list below shows results from the use of our quiz by Buoy users who experienced pain in the front of the neck. This list does not constitute medical advice and may not accurately represent what you have.

Acute thyroiditis

Acute thyroiditis is a rare inflammation of the thyroid gland caused by an infection, radiation, medication, or trauma.

Rarity: Ultra rare

Top Symptoms: sore throat, fever, being severely ill, hoarse voice, pain in the front of the neck

Symptoms that always occur with acute thyroiditis: pain in the front of the neck

Urgency: Hospital emergency room

Retropharyngeal abscess (adult)

Retropharyngeal abscess is a collection of pus in the tissues in the back of the throat. It is a potentially life-threatening medical condition.

Rarity: Ultra rare

Top Symptoms: sore throat, loss of appetite, fever, shortness of breath, being severely ill

Urgency: Hospital emergency room

Ludwig's angina

Ludwig's angina is a rare but serious infection of the space below the jaw and the floor of the mouth, under the tongue. This illness is not to be confused with "angina" which refers to cardiac pain due to coronary artery disease. The infection usually starts in the floor of the mouth then quickly spreads to the area around the jaw on both sides of the face. Ludwig's angina is considered a medical emergency due to risks of impaired breathing.

Symptoms include fever and chills, mouth pain, a swollen tongue, a stiff neck, drooling and trouble swallowing, a muffled voice or trouble speaking and breathing.

Treatments include antibiotics, surgery to remove infection, and the installation of a tube to assist with breathing in severe cases.

Rarity: Rare

Top Symptoms: shortness of breath, fever, being severely ill, trouble swallowing, neck pain

Urgency: Hospital emergency room

Heart attack in a woman

A heart attack happens when the heart does not receive enough oxygenated blood to meet its demand, resulting in the death of heart tissue. This can be caused by a decreased supply of oxygenated blood or too high of a demand.

Symptoms include(, shortness of breath or nausea.

If you are experiencing symptoms that lead you to believe you are having a heart attack, you should seek emergency treatment. Treatments will likely involve oxygen, pain medications, medications to improve outcomes after the attack, placement of a stent, medication to break up any clots, as well as surgery.

Rarity: Uncommon

Top Symptoms: abdominal pain (stomach ache), nausea, pain in one arm, chest pain, shortness of breath

Urgency: Emergency medical service

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Inflammation of the epiglottis

Epiglottitis is inflammation of the epiglottis, tissue that covers the trachea (windpipe), which helps prevent coughing or choking after swallowing. It is usually caused by the bacteria H. Influenzae but can also be caused by other bacteria or viruses that cause upper respiratory infections.

Rarity: Rare

Top Symptoms: being severely ill, shortness of breath, fever, sore throat, pain with swallowing

Symptoms that never occur with inflammation of the epiglottis: cough

Urgency: Emergency medical service

Head and neck cancer

There are five main types of head and neck cancer, which are all named according to the part of the body where they develop: laryngeal (voice box), nasal cavity and sinus, nasopharyngeal (air passage way behind the nose), oral (mouth), and salivary gland cancers. Most of these cancers are squamous cell carcinomas (SCCs), meaning they begin in the flat (squamous) cells that make up the thin surface layer of the structures in the head and neck.

Rarity: Rare

Top Symptoms: loss of appetite, unintentional weight loss, hoarse voice, neck bump, ear canal pain

Urgency: Primary care doctor

Viral infection of the larynx (voice box)

Laryngitis an inflammation of the larynx, or voice box. This causes the vocal cords to swell and leads to a hoarse, raspy voice.

A viral infection, such as the common cold or influenza, is nearly always the cause of laryngitis. These infections are spread through casual contact, as when someone sneezes and the droplets are inhaled from the air.

Most at risk are people whose immune systems are already weakened by illness, medication, or chemotherapy.

Symptoms include hoarseness; sore, irritated throat; difficulty speaking; coughing; and sometimes fever.

Forcing speech during laryngitis can cause permanent damage to the vocal cords. Hoarseness that never really clears up should be seen by a medical provider, as it can be a symptom of a more serious condition.

Diagnosis is made through throat swab and sometimes blood tests.

Treatment involves rest and drinking plenty of fluids until the virus has run its course, and resting the voice so the swelling can subside on its own. Antibiotics are not effective against a viral illness.

Rarity: Common

Top Symptoms: sore throat, runny nose, fever, dry cough, hoarse voice

Urgency: Self-treatment


Whiplash, or neck strain, occurs when the ligaments tough, fibrous bands that connect bones in the neck have are overstretched or torn. Whiplash is caused by a sudden impact that causes the head to whip back and forth very suddenly, such as during an automobile accident, a fast amusement park ride, or a sports injury.

Symptoms may include pain and( can also occur in some people.

Medical evaluation after whiplash is recommended to rule out damage to the spinal cord. Paralysis, difficulty walking, or loss of control over your bladder and bowels suggests an emergency requiring immediate medical attention.

Treatment predominantly consists of rest and over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs to reduce inflammation and relieve pain. In some cases, muscle relaxants may also be prescribed.

Rarity: Common

Top Symptoms: headache, pain in the back of the neck, stiff neck, arm weakness, shoulder pain from an injury

Symptoms that always occur with whiplash: neck pain from an injury, pain in the back of the neck

Urgency: Self-treatment

Questions Your Doctor May Ask About Pain In The Front Of The Neck

To diagnose this condition, your doctor would likely ask the following questions:

  • Do you notice your heart beating hard, rapidly, or irregularly (also called palpitations)?
  • Have you ever been told you have a heart valve problem?
  • Have you ever had a heart attack?
  • Have there been changes in your voice?

The above questions are also covered by our A.I. Health Assistant.

If you've answered yes to one or more of these questions

Take a quiz to find out why you're having pain in the front of the neck

Pain In The Front Of The Neck Symptom Checker Statistics

People who have experienced pain in the front of the neck have also experienced:

  • 11% Pain In The Back Of The Neck
  • 4% Pain In One Shoulder
  • 4% Headache

People who have experienced pain in the front of the neck were most often matched with:

  • 33% Acute Thyroiditis
  • 33% Retropharyngeal Abscess (Adult)
  • 33% Ludwig'S Angina

People who have experienced pain in the front of the neck had symptoms persist for:

  • 37% Less than a week
  • 26% Less than a day
  • 18% Over a month

Source: Aggregated and anonymized results from visits to the Buoy AI health assistant (check it out by clicking on “Take Quiz”).

Pain In The Front Of The Neck Symptom Checker

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