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Retropharyngeal Tendinitis: A Rare Differential Diagnosis of Severe Headaches and Neck Pain

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Retropharyngeal tendinitis is a rare cause of intense neck pain and occipital headache. It is caused by an aseptic inflammatory process in the longus colli tendon, triggered by deposition of calcium hydroxyapatite crystal. Clinically, it can be misdiagnosed as retropharyngeal abscess, traumatic injury, infectious spondylitis, cervical artery dissection, or even meningitis. The diagnosis is made radiographically by a nearly pathognomonic amorphous calcification anterior to C1-C2 and prevertebral soft tissue swelling. We present a new case of this uncommon condition exhibiting some unusual features.
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Keywords: acute retropharyngeal tendinitis; headache; longus colli muscle

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2008

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