Find out what are the main causes of neck pain in the right side of the neck, and how to find relief if neck pain in the right side of the neck is experienced?
Neck pain in the right side of the neck is a fairly common problem experienced by many people all over the world. The common misconception is that it is only caused by improper posture or the common stiff neck.
However, neck pain in the right side of the neck may actually be caused by a different disease. If this is the case, immediate medical attention is needed. Having this type of chronic pain can affect any person’s quality of life and daily activities.
There are several reasons why most people experience or suffer from neck pain in the right side of the neck. It is best to know why and what causes that pain to prevent it from becoming chronic. It is always necessary to address the root cause of the neck pain to make sure that bigger health problems can be avoided.
What Causes Neck Pain In The Right Side Of The Neck?
There could be many reasons for experiencing neck pain in the right side of the neck. It may vary from simple posture issues to different type of diseases.
NB! It is important to remember that the real answer and final diagnosis can only be given during live appointment with a doctor.
Poor posture is one of the major reasons why people commonly experience neck pain in the right side of the neck. This can be experienced on any part of the neck. It is also very common for people who work in the office as they are prone to sitting for numerous hours a day. Most of the time, a person who does not sit properly while typing or writing experiences this pain. It is also common for people who hold their phones in between their neck and chin during a conversation. When this becomes a habit, it is easy to get neck pain in the right side of the neck.
Lifting heavy items or carrying heavy backpacks and shoulder bags
Carrying heavy backpacks or shoulder bags may cause pain on the neck. This is because there are a lot of nerves found on the shoulder and on the neck. These nerves are stressed whenever heavy lifting is done.
Anxiety and emotional stress can cause physical pain. This is because it affects the nerves and primary muscles in the spine, neck, and shoulder. Stress makes an individual tense and this unusual activity of the muscle causes pain.
Fall or accident trauma
People who were involved in car accidents or falls may experience pain in the neck. This is also known as whiplash injury. The ligaments, connective tissue, and supporting muscles are damaged after an abrupt movement of the head. This unexpected movement may be backward, forward or sideways.
Neck arthritis or cervical osteoarthritis are physical ailments that happen when the cartilage protecting joint breaks down. If this happens, those cartilages will not be able to allow smooth movement between bones. The joint swells up and becomes painful.
This occurs when there is too much pressure applied on tissues that surrounds a nerve. It may happen to tissues located in the bones, cartilages, tendons, or muscles. When there is too much pressure, the nerve is unable to function properly. It causes tingling, numbness, weakness, and most of all neck pain. This is common in the right side of the neck as 90% of the worldwide population are right handed. Hence, a pinched nerve mostly creates neck pain in the right side of the neck.
Cervical herniated disc
When the inner core of a disc in the neck leaks out of its disc or herniates, it usually presses on the adjacent nerve root. Cervical herniated disc usually happens when a person has had neck injury or trauma. There is also a chance that this may happen spontaneously especially to people between 30 to 50 years old. When a person has cervical herniated disc, symptoms such as tingling, and numbness appears. It is accompanied by arm pain and neck pain. There are times that there is also significant weakness in the muscles.
Cervical degenerative disc disease
Cervical discs allow the neck to bend forward to back. It also allows it to bend forward to back effortlessly. The cervical discs separate the vertebrae and stabilizes it. It also functions as the shock absorber of the neck. People around 40 to 60 years old often have cervical degenerative disease. It is because as the cervical discs degrade overtime. When a person acquires this condition, the neck becomes very stiff causing it to be less flexible. This causes chronic neck pain that is usually felt by the end of the day.
Tumors or cysts
Cysts or tumors can be acquired by anyone no matter what age group they belong to. Common symptoms of spinal tumor are extreme pain in the neck or back. It may include numbness or weakness in the arms or legs.
Meningitis is an infection that affects the meninges. These are the delicate membranes that cover the brain and spinal cord. There are viral, bacterial, and fungal types meningitis. Symptoms include fever, vomiting, headache, limb pain, stiff neck, and extreme pain in the neck.
This is a condition that causes pain throughout the body as it affects the muscles. The pain is most significant in the shoulder and neck region.
Osteoporosis is common to aging women. This disease causes the bones to weaken that leads to small fractions. It mostly happens to the hands or the knees, but it may also affect the neck that will definitely cause severe pain.
Neck pain may be a sign of a pending heart attack. Take note that there are other symptoms that appear if this is the case. It may be nausea, vomiting, arm or jaw pain, sweating, and shortness of breath.
How to find relief if neck pain in the right side of the neck is experienced?
There are several ways to relieve neck pain in the right side of the neck. There are many over-the-counter medications available for this ailment. However, there are also other home remedies that can be done should medications be unavailable or if you want to treat neck pain naturally.
Read also: 10 Relaxing Exercises For Neck And Shoulders
NB! It is important to remember that the final treatment can only be suggested during live appointment with a doctor.
A cold pack can be used during the first 2 days of having neck pain in the right side of the neck. If a cold pack is not available, an alternative is to use ice that’s wrapped in a wet cloth. Apply the pack on the sore area for 20 minutes. It is recommended to do it 4 times a day or as needed. It is also important to be cautious when doing cold therapy. Be wary in order to avoid frostbite especially for children. Applying cold therapy reduces pain and spasm on the neck.
Apply dry or moist heat
If there is still pain in the right side of the neck or just pain on the neck for over 48 hours, it is recommended to use heat. Apply a heating pad, warm wet wash cloth, or heat pack on the sore muscles for 10 minutes. It can also be done as needed. Doing this can increase blood flow and speeds up healing. Just make sure to be careful as heat can cause burns.
A gentle massage increases blood flow and relieves the pain. Gently rub the area or massage the neck. Take note to avoid any injured area especially if the pain increases when it is massaged. The surrounding area can be massaged instead.
Here is a simple self-massage exercise you can do to relieve neck pain in the right side of the neck.
Video: A self-massage exercise to relieve muscle tension on the sides of the neck
Rest for at least a day or two
This should help the sore muscles in that area heal and recover.
Maintain proper posture
Proper posture should be observed even when there is no pain on the neck. This ensures that chronic pain or stiffness would be avoided. If there is already neck pain in the right side of the neck, make sure that proper posture is practiced. It is also good to protect the neck during this time and avoid any activity that may increase the pain. In 48 hours after the pain is felt, consider doing a gentle stretching program. Avoid engaging on any sports that may increase stress and pain on the neck area.
Proper sleeping position
It is better to sleep on the back or on the side if there is neck pain in the right side of the neck. It is also best to sleep with a neck collar to avoid further stress to the neck. If there is no neck collar available, an alternative is to wrap a small towel around the neck. This ensures that the neck is kept from moving too much during sleep.
Eat foods that are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids. These are found in cold-water fish like mackerel, sardines, tuna, and salmon. Some flax seeds, walnuts, and leafy green vegetables contain these acids. Omega-3 fatty acids lower inflammatory chemicals. This helps relieve pain in the right side of the neck.
How to avoid neck pain in the right side of the neck?
Knowing the basic prevention techniques is always a must. Prevention is always better than cure. It is as simple as avoiding slouching, and maintaining proper posture. Walking from time to time can be helpful.
Proper sitting position
If a person is required to sit for a long period of time, sit straight with the lower back supported. Make sure that the feet remains flat on the floor and the shoulders are relaxed too. If there is a chance, stand up and walk every couple of hours.
Headset or speaker phone
If lengthy phone conversations can’t be avoided consider using a headset or a speaker phone. Cradling the phone on the shoulder stresses out the muscles on the neck that causes pain.
Correct lifting techniques
Lift with the knees, not the back. Make sure to practice correct lifting techniques.
Avoid heavy weights
Backpacks and school bags should be used correctly as well.
Proper driving position
Car seats should maintain an upright position. Make sure that it supports the head and the lower back. When driving, the arms should be flexed slightly, but make sure that it is done comfortably.
Most people are required to use a computer for work. The monitor should be eye level all the time. Get a document holder so what you’re referencing as you type would be on the same eye level as the screen.
Eat foods with a lot of antioxidants and fiber. Fiber can lower the indicator of inflammation in the blood. Taking calcium and vitamin D also helps as they keep the bones healthy. These vitamins can reduce the degradation of the vertebrae in the neck. Magnesium is highly recognized as a mineral that helps in improving skeletal health. It is essential in contraction and relaxation of the muscles as well.
When is the right time to see a doctor?
It is important to know that these home treatments are only good for common neck pains. If the pain persists, consulting your physician is a must. It is important to identify where the pain is coming from in order to get the proper treatment or medication.
Take note that if neck pain in the right side of the neck is severe, does not improve, or worsens over the following days, consult an expert right away. This is especially recommended if the neck pain is consistent for 3 to 4 weeks. Watch out for unexplainable weight loss, sudden fever and chills, and extreme headache.
Be wary of other symptoms that can also be mistaken for other common illnesses. It includes as vomiting, headache, tingling, numbness, weakness, and bladder or bowel dysfunction. There may be times that there will be a lump in the neck or swollen glands.
What are the exams needed in order to find the cause of neck pain in the right side of the neck?
Physical exams will be performed, and a complete medical history check will be done. The treatment may vary depending on what the diagnosis will be. The tests will depend on the recommendation of the doctor. Blood tests, x-rays, CT scans, MRI scans, electromyography, or spinal tap performed. This is to ensure that the specific cause of the pain in the right side of the neck will be properly identified.
Pain in the right side of the neck may just be one symptom of another disease. That illness may require immediate attention or medication. Do not ignore simple symptoms as it is better to be careful and cautious than to be sorry.
Image: Maria Morri