The neck is an underappreciated part of the body. It must be strong enough to support the weight of the head yet still allow flexibility of movement. Most people don’t pay much mind to their necks until they start to feel pain. Neck pain doesn’t signal a serious medical issue most of the time, but today, we’re going to talk about one rare exception.

This exception is cervical artery dissection tears. The cervical arteries are on the neck and supply blood to the brain. A tear in one of these arteries can lead to stroke. This is because a blood clot may form as the artery tries to heal itself. It’s more common among people under 50. In fact, it is one of the most common causes of stroke for the under 50 crowd. However, older adults can also experience cervical artery dissection.

A major reason why these tears tend to appear in people under 50 is that some people have underlying issues with their connective tissues. This makes their arteries more likely to tear. For those who have these issues, an artery tear is more likely to manifest in the younger years. Another reason younger people are more prone to cervical artery tears is that they often result from engaging in intense physical activity. 

Symptoms to watch out for include severe headache, vision problems, swollen neck, drooping eyelid, and migraine symptoms. If you suspect a cervical artery tear, seek medical attention immediately from your primary doctor.

Awareness of cervical artery tears has risen greatly in recent years. Remember, sometimes a pain in the neck may mean something serious.

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