Retropharyngeal Tendonitis: A Cause of Severe Neck Pain

Edward J. Kakish, Jonathan R. Demory, Viviane Kazan, Alex Moore, Patricia Paz-Arabo


The clinical presentation of calcific retropharyngeal tendonitis, a rare entity, can mimic more serious disorders. The main stay of diagnosis is CT scan that shows calcification of C1-C2 which is pathognomonic. Here we present a case of a 26-year-old man presenting to the emergency department (ED) with a chief complaint of neck pain that increased in severity. The patient was first diagnosed with torticollis and sent home on painkillers. Further tests were ordered upon his return to the ED complaining of increased neck pain severity and dysphagia. Diagnosis was ultimately made by CT scan and the patient was treated accordingly. When misdiagnosed, patients with retropharyngeal tendonitis can often undergo unnecessary and invasive surgical procedures to drain nonexistent abscesses. With proper imaging, and an informed physician, correct diagnosis can be made based on prevertebral swelling and calcification.

J Med Cases. 2016;7(5):155-157


Retropharyngeal tendonitis; Neck pain; Retropharyngeal abscess

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