Can you tell me what causes calcium deposits to form in the neck muscles? I've just had a CT scan that shows a calcium build up in the front of my neck. It's making swallowing very difficult.

No one knows exactly why calcium deposits form in the anterior (front of the) neck. One muscle in particular, the longus colli is affected most often. Age may be a factor as this condition (called calcific retropharyngeal tendinitis) occurs most often in adults over 30 years old.

There may be a genetic link and possibly metabolic reasons for the formation of calcium deposits. Chronic trauma to the muscle, tendon degeneration, and inflammation for any reason seem to trigger calcium deposits.

Patients may not even know there's a problem until the deposits rupture. Inflammation results in acute symptoms such as fever, sore throat, neck stiffness, and pain. Treatment with an antiinflammatory medication usually resolves both the symptoms and the calcium deposit.

Sara Jiménez, MD, and José M. Millán, MD. Calcific Retropharygeal Tendinitis: A Frequently Missed Diagnosis. Case Report. In Journal of Neurosurgery: Spine. January 2007. Vol. 6. No. 1. Pp. 77-80.

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