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Gray's Anatomy with markup showing carotid artery bifurcation.png
Drawing from Gray's anatomy with blue arrow showing the bifurcation area which is painful in Carotidynia.

Carotidynia is a syndrome characterized by unilateral (one-sided) tenderness of the carotid artery, near the bifurcation. It was first described in 1927 by Temple Fay.[1] The most common cause of carotidynia may be migraine, and then it is usually self-correcting. Common migraine treatments may help alleviate the carotidynia symptoms. Recent histological evidence has implicated an inflammatory component of carotidynia, but studies are limited.[2] Carotid arteritis is a much less common cause of carotidynia, but has much more serious consequences. It is a form of giant cell arteritis, which is a condition that usually affects arteries in the head. Due to this serious condition possibly causing carotidynia, and the possibility that neck pain is related to some other non-carotidynia and serious condition, the case should be investigated by a medical doctor.[3] Because carotidynia can be caused by numerous causes, Biousse and Bousser in 1994 recommended the term not be used in the medical literature.[4] However, recent MRI and ultrasound studies have supported the existence of a differential diagnosis of carotidynia consistent with Fay's characterization.[5][6]


  1. ^ Hill and Hastings list this reference as: Fay, Temple (1927) "Atypical neuralgia." Arch Neurol Psychiatry.
  2. ^ Upton, P.; Smith, J. G.; Charnock, D. R. (2003). "Histologic confirmation of carotidynia". Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery. 129 (4): 443–444. doi:10.1016/S0194-5998(03)00611-9. PMID 14574303.
  3. ^ Hill LM, Hastings G (1994). "Carotidynia: a pain syndrome". J Fam Pract. 39 (1): 71–5. PMID 8027735.
  4. ^ Biousse V, Bousser MG (1994). "The myth of carotidynia". Neurology. 44 (6): 993–5. doi:10.1212/wnl.44.6.993. PMID 8208434.Available here
  5. ^ Lee TC, Swartz R, McEvilly R, Aviv RI, Fox AJ, Perry J, Symons SP. CTA, MR and MRA imaging of carotidynia: case report. Canadian Journal of Neurological Sciences. 2009 May; 36(3):373-375.
  6. ^ Kuhn, J.; Harzheim, A.; Horz, R.; Bewermeyer, H. (2006). "MRI and ultrasonographic imaging of a patient with carotidynia". Cephalalgia. 26 (4): 483–485. doi:10.1111/j.1468-2982.2006.01053.x. PMID 16556251.

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