We refer to people who are bothersome, excruciating to be with, distressing and unpleasant as a pain in their neck. Literally, that is exactly what having pain on the right side of your neck entails. It’s painful, uncomfortable, distressing, unpleasant and makes your day a living hell. It reminds us that we need to be more appreciative of the neck when every twist or twitch, shoots unbearable pain right in your head or shoulder.
Treatment of neck pain depends on the cause. Most of the time, it goes away on its own while other times using some home-based treatments does the trick. However, you should see a doctor if it becomes chronic or severe.
What causes this pain?
The causes vary from mild to severe. They include:
Poor Sleep Position
Have you ever woken up in the morning and you can barely move your neck without experiencing some excruciating pain? Then it may be that you slept in an unusual position, like sleeping on your tummy. Using too many pillows also causes this pain since they make the head and neck fail to fall in line with the other parts of your body. The mattress can also be too soft making the head and neck alignment go off when compared to the other body.
It could be due to muscle overuse. For example:
- using your smartphone or computer for long periods.
- Driving for too long or doing jobs that do not encourage the movement of the neck for long periods.
- Reading in bed or gritting your teeth.
These activities weaken the muscles in your neck making it stiff therefore causing difficulty when trying to move it. When these joint becomes stiff, it can contact a muscle or nerve during rotation, causing pain.
Poor posture can lead pain in this area since it affects muscles in your spine, shoulders, and neck. The longer you stay in this poor posture, the weaker you make these parts of the body, leading to a worsening condition. A good example would be when you sleep on your desk in class or at work. The longer you stay in that position, the more painful your neck will be when you wake up. It always looks comfortable or sometimes it’s the only comfortable position when you want to nap at the wrong time, but the consequences are a pain.
This is the occurrence of a quick forward and backward head motion due to great force. This happens when the neck is traumatized or when you injure its muscles or ligaments. This can happen if something hits your body and results in your neck overextending and then snapping back to place so fast. For example, if in a car accident, during physical abuse, or when you get hit by a ball or bully during sports.
Worn Out Joints
Age sometimes makes the joints on our necks worn out. The joints may also get osteoarthritis, which is caused by cartilage degeneration. This is also referred to as neck arthritis. Other times it can occur when the body advances bone spurs. This affects the neck joints motion, leading to pain. It will radiate between your shoulder blades and cause headaches at the back of your head.
If the right-side neck pain is worse in the morning, or when it’s cold and rainy and tends to feel better if the day is sunny or warm, then you may have arthritis.
Brachial Plexus Injury
The brachial plexus is the group of nerves that help interconnect the arm, hand, and shoulder with the spine. A damage to this nerve causes wears and tear when in a traumatic accident or when playing contact sports. This causes pain in the right side of the neck and shoulder. Other symptoms will include numbness and weakness in the arm.
Cervical Disk Hernia
If severe neck pain on the right side is accompanied by pain in the arm and shoulder on the right side, then you may have a cervical disk hernia. This happens when a nerve root is pressed down by a protruding inner core of a disc. This mostly happens to people between the ages of 30 to 50 but can also affect the younger and older generation too.
Most of the time they occur if one has experienced trauma from maybe an accident or sports injury. In other cases, though, the cause is not known. The pain on the right side of the neck will be accompanied by tingling, numbness, muscle weakness in the fingers and hands. The patient will also have trouble turning their head sideways and will experience pain that radiates from the shoulder to the arm.
This can be very painful and if severe, can make the neck virtually immobile. Most of the time, a pinched nerve will be as a result of a herniated disc. In this case, the pinched nerve causes discomfort and not the herniated disc. It is referred to as nerve root pain or radicular pain. This is because the pinched nerve can cause pain to other body parts.
The symptoms will be similar to those of someone with a herniated disc. Most of the time, people with a pinched nerve also have a herniated disc.
Other causes include:
- Cervical fractures
- Inflammation of the joints and nerves
- Cervical disk degeneration.
- Pain from the arms and legs or a headache
- High fever.
Neck pain on right side treatment
Most of the time, mild or moderate neck pain will heal by itself after some few days. Some of the home-based treatments one can use include:
- Applying heat compresses to the area or taking a warm bath.
- Try moving your neck from side to side gently.
- Get someone to massage the neck.
- Use only one pillow when sleeping and make sure the mattress is firm.
- Try yoga or meditation to relax the body and rid it of stress.
- Stay active even though you are hurting.
- Practice keeping good posture always.
- Ice the neck.
- Gently stretch your muscles.
- If you work with the computer the whole day, find ways to be constantly on the move. Do the same for other tasks that require you to remain in the same posture for long.
- Use anti-inflammatory medications from over the counter.
If your neck pain fails to go away after few days or becomes severe, visit a doctor. They will carry out some physical exams with tests that include either a CT scan, an MRI, a myelography or an electrodiagnostic study.
Treatment Options Will Then Include:
- Injections like corticosteroids which are injected directly onto the affected area.
- Pain relieving medication
- Physical therapy
- Muscle relaxants
This type of pain is not unusual and most of the time should not concern you too much since it goes away on its own after some time. However, in case of a severe or chronic neck pain on the right side, work with a doctor and avoid straining the neck too much.