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I am a 50 year old female of relatively good physical health. My husband and I went hiking the other day and the left side of my neck started throbbing so bad it felt like my neck was going to burst open. I could feel my pulse beating very hard and it took a long time to get it to slow down. Needless to say, the hike was extended because it took me forever to get up the hill. Once on level ground, the throbbing subsided some but I have been left with the left side of my neck feeling achey and almost feels like it's full. Any ideas?

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Hmmm...

The area that you were hiking in, would you know what the elevation difference is from where you stay...and possibly the elevation between ground level and the top of the hill you climbed...

Does this tend to happen when you...say for instance...go walking around the block a number of times?

It could have been a simple fact such as the elevation acting on your blood pressure. I would however suggest you get your blood pressure levels checked by your GP...just to be on the safe side.

It's quick, it's easy and will put your mind at ease.

The achey feeling might be a "stiff neck" from staring up at the top of the hill as you were climbing up as well as the effort that it was taking you more than likely caused you to tense up most of your muscles.

I hope this helps a bit ;-)
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HAving had a real experience with this, I would consider that something on that trail is an allergy to you.  Swelling pulsing neck, throbbing face, feels like the blood is really forcefully going through the neck....whatever you breathed in caused a pretty severe reaction and swelled your neck up.  You might not have a red or itchy neck at all- just the swelling and increased heart rate and maybe a whooshing sound in your ear.  

A second consideration would be a heart problem or a clot, since you say it's on one side.  You can get a veinous echo done with your doc.

A third consideration would be relate to neck strain- maybe a backpack, hiking stick- but I don't think that's it. 

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I have had the same thing only I was just walking or sitting around the house and doing the usual things. Same feeling you described.
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