Are you suffering from a sore throat? Experiencing this condition is common when you’re sick. It may be accompanied by stiffness in your neck, adding to the discomfort.
As many blood vessels and lymph nodes are common for the neck and throat, soreness and stiffness might be connected.
Further, sore throat and neck pain can have some overlapping symptoms. If you leave them unchecked, they can cause breathing issues, body aches, and cough. So, you must understand the causes of neck stiffness and sore throats to get rid of them.
Need help tackling these ailments? This post will walk you through the symptoms, factors, and related details about neck and throat complications.
Sore throat is a condition that can affect you if you're suffering from the flu or the common cold. The commonly observed symptoms of this uncomfortable ailment are:
- Swallowing difficulties
- Experiencing pain while talking or swallowing
- Hoarseness in voice
- Scratchiness or a painful sensation in the throat
- Swollen glands in the neck region
These problems may fade away after a few days. However, contact a doctor immediately if the soreness troubles you for a few weeks.
On the other hand, neck pain can arise along with sore throat. Usually, poor posture or a neck injury causes pain in your neck. The signs and symptoms include:
- Tightness or stiffness in neck muscles
- Severe headaches
- Muscles spasms
- Inability to move the head
Moreover, you may experience sore throat and neck pain together. So, visiting an ENT specialist is a must to find out the root causes of the problems.
Sore Throat And Neck Pain: What Are The Causes?
The neck region consists of vital structures like the cervical spine, ligaments, lymphatic vessels, and nerves. So, if a medical condition affects any of these structures, nearby organs or glands get affected too.
Let’s focus on the most common causes of neck and throat pain, which are interlinked.
Flu and Common Cold
One of the most prevalent causes of throat and neck complications is the flu or the common cold. As both these ailments negatively affect the respiratory system, you might experience breathing troubles.
They can also lead to swollen lymph nodes at the back of your neck, which eventually turns into severe neck pain and a sore throat.
Neck and throat discomfort might be followed by these problems –
- Headaches and body aches
- Vomiting and nausea
- Muscle weakness
- Extreme tiredness and fatigue
- Discomfort in the chest
- Sneezing and constant coughing
Bacterial and Viral Infections
Bacterial or viral infections can cause inflammation in your throat and neck region. It can lead to sore throat and stiffness in the neck. That's why infections have such a great impact on the area between your neck and throat.
When you have an infection, it triggers your immune system's natural response. As a result, the lymph nodes might produce additional white blood cells to tackle the infection.
These nodes are located under your jaw and side neck. They swell up while producing the extra blood cells as oxygen-rich blood flows through the nodes during the process.
In addition, the lymph nodes will filter out any unwanted or harmful substances in the blood. It creates pressure on your throat and neck, causing soreness and pain.
Strep Throat or Pharyngitis
Pharyngitis or strep throat is caused due to a Streptococcus pyogenes infection. The common symptoms include –
- Sore throat
- Neck pain and swollen tonsils
- Body pain and headache
- Tiredness and fatigue
- White spots on the throat surface
This infection affects both the neck and throat, causing pain and swelling.
Food and Airborne Allergies
If you have food allergies, you might suffer from various symptoms after consuming specific goods.
- Nausea and vomiting
- Sore throat and itchy throat
- Nasal congestion
The symptoms may bother you for as long as you’re exposed to the allergen. Airborne allergies also have similar symptoms: running nose, fatigue, itchy eyes, coughing, and sneezing.
Both types of allergies affect your neck and throat, leading to extreme discomfort. Medical treatment is required in these cases to reduce exposure to allergens causing the complications.
Tumors are also responsible for neck pain and sore throats and can result in the following problems –
- Sinus infection
- Muscle pain in the face and neck
- Numbness in the neck
- Swelling in the face and neck
- Pain during swallowing
If you are experiencing persistent sore throat and neck pain, you might have a tumor. Proper medical examination will identify whether the tumor is benign or cancerous.
Later, the doctor might perform surgical procedures to remove the tumor and reduce pain.
Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease
Acid reflux disease occurs when food particles, fluids, and stomach acids travel back up toward the throat. It irritates your throat's inner lining, causing a sore throat accompanied by neck pain.
The Gastroesophageal Reflux disease symptoms include –
- Dry cough
- Swallowing problems
- Feeling as if there's a lump in your throat
- Hoarseness in voice
- Upper abdominal pain
- Bad breath
- Respiratory problems
Tonsillitis is the infection of the tonsils, a soft tissue located in your throat. When viruses or bacteria cause the infection, the tissue gets inflamed.
It leads to pain, laryngitis, and hoarseness. This infection is a major cause of complications like sore throat and stiffness in your neck.
How to Prevent Sore Throat and Neck Pain?
To prevent sore throats & neck pain, it is essential to not irritate the regions. You must avoid drinking very hot drinks and anything that agitates the internal soft tissues.
Instead, drink lukewarm water and keep yourself hydrated. Stay away from caffeine and alcohol, which can dehydrate you.
Another important prevention strategy is to keep your surroundings free from smoke. Don't use cleaning products that can harm and irritate your throat. Moreover, reduce or stop smoking tobacco.
Further, focus on the type of foods you consume daily. While suffering from a throat or neck complication, eat soft and cool foods. Try including foods that are easy to chew, swallow, and digest. Consult a doctor while preparing or modifying your diet.
Along with all this, anti-inflammatory and over-the-counter drugs can effectively treat sore throats and neck pain.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. How long does a sore throat and neck last?
Ans: Pain in the neck and throat soreness can last for about a week. In some cases, these issues might reduce in severity, but it takes a while to cure. If the soreness and neck pain last for more than a week, consult a doctor. You might receive medication like antibiotics for it.
In addition, your doctor might ask you to gargle with lukewarm saltwater. They might suggest dietary changes to relax your neck's soft tissues.
2. Why is sore throat worse at night?
Ans: If you’re suffering from a sore throat, it might worsen at night due to dehydration. As you will go many hours without drinking water at night, your throat gets itchy and irritated. It can also happen if you have not drank sufficient water during the daytime.
Another reason for sore throat at night is nasal congestion caused by allergies. Postnasal drip increases when you are lying down at night. So, your soreness intensifies. Exposure to specific allergens at night can also heighten this ailment.
In addition, you might experience throat problems after waking up in the morning.
3. When should I worry about neck pain?
Ans: Neck pain can be tackled by practicing good posture, exercising regularly, and massaging the neck area. It is also important to get plenty of rest to relax the neck muscles.
However, the neck pain or stiffness may last for more than a week despite following the self-care methods. That's when you must consult a doctor. Delaying the treatment can cause pain to spread to your arms and back.
Moreover, you might suffer from numbness, headache, and extreme weakness.
4. How will the doctor examine my neck and throat issues?
Ans: The doctor will conduct a complete physical examination to check the sore throat and neck pain. They will review your medical history to see if you have any allergies, injuries, or chronic diseases.
Moreover, your doctor might instruct you to undergo a blood test to determine the presence of a viral or bacterial infection. You might also have to submit samples from your throat and mouth for further examination.
By now, you must have got an answer to the question, “Can a sore throat cause neck pain”. The illnesses can lead to muscle weakness and a feverish feeling. However, with proper treatment, the problems should not last more than a week.
Along with medication, your physician might advise you to take rest. Getting sufficient sleep of around 6 to 8 hours every day will be necessary. It will speed up the treatment and allow the medicines to work faster.
So, follow the doctor’s instructions while taking medicines and consuming foods. If you're opting for an over-the-counter drug, consult your doctor first.