Feeling palpitations in the head or neck is sometimes a sign of a particular type of tachycardia called “AV nodal reentry tachycardia.” This is a rapid heart rhythm caused by an electrical short circuit in the heart. It isn’t life-threatening but can be very bothersome and sometimes gets in the way of daily activities. This arrhythmia can be triggered by an increase in adrenalin, so things like stress, exercise and even caffeine can make it worse.
It’s important to point out that there are many different types of rhythm problems that can cause palpitations. The majority aren’t dangerous but there are some that can be life-threatening. It’s difficult to tell what kind of rhythm problem someone has based only on the way the palpitations feel. Capturing the palpitations on an electrocardiogram (EKG) is a critical step that enables your physician to tell if the palpitations are something safe or something that needs further investigation. An EKG can be done in your doctor’s office if you experience palpitations there. Another way is by using a portable EKG recorder that you can carry around with you for as long as it takes to capture the palpitations.