The neck supports the weight of the skull and brain--usually around 12 pounds. The muscles that control the movement of the head all lead through the neck to the shoulders, back and chest. When neck pain occurs, movement, sight, and cognitive abilities are all impacted.
Weakness in the Front of the Neck
Anterior, or front of the neck, pain is most often associated with swollen glands. When located up and under the jaw, these are often related to sore throats and illnesses like streptococcus. Pain that occurs lower on the neck can be the symptom of a more serious condition. Lower neck pain is most often associated with the thyroid gland.
The thyroid is a gland that lies in front of the windpipe on the anterior for the neck. This gland uses iodine in the body to create hormones that regulate the body’s metabolism. When the ability of the thyroid to produce the hormones is altered, a person may experience unpleasant symptoms throughout the body.
Symptoms and Diseases
Symptoms of a diseased thyroid include; enlargement of the gland called a goiter, nodules or growths, hot flashes, weight loss or gain, tremors, and irritability. Hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism are conditions where too little or too much hormone, respectively, are produced. Thyroid cancer is a glandular cancer related to lymphoma. Fever and pain of the thyroid gland is referred to as thyroiditis.
Treatment of thyroid diseases varies by the severity of the condition. Often drug treatment is successful in reversing the condition. In more extreme cases biopsies may be performed and even surgical procedures to remove growths.
Women over the age of 50 are at the highest risk for developing thyroid conditions and diseases. Both men and women with a personal history of autoimmune disease or a family history of thyroid conditions are also in the high risk groups. Smokers, those with iodine deficiencies and those patients who have taken immunosuppressant drugs also factor higher in the risk spectrum. Research also supports a connection between thyroid diseases and people with high levels of stress, those with prematurely gray hair, and those who are left handed.