According to the American Academy of Orthopedic surgeons, Pain in the right side of neck is a problem that affects millions of people in the United States and that the common misconception by many people is that it is usually caused by poor posture or neck stiffness. However neck pain in the right side of the neck can be caused by one or a combination of factors, in this article find out the causes, and how to get rid of pain in the right side of the neck.
Pain in Right Side of Neck Causes
The causes of pain on the right side of neck are varied and can come from a number of disorders and diseases or physical activities and usually involve the tissues and ligaments in the neck region. Pain in right side of neck can arise or stem from one or more of the following causes:
- Whiplash (Neck sprain)
Whiplash is basically injury to the neck ligament and neck muscles. Whiplash causes the muscles and ligaments to enlarge more than their normal range of movements, resulting to damage of the soft tissues in the neck. Whiplash can be sustained from sport injuries, head-on car collision, park riding or physical abuse or fights.
Some of the symptoms that will tell that you have whiplash include:
- Blurred vision
- Stiffness in the neck
- Right side of neck pain.
- Cervical Disc Herniation
This is a condition of cervical vertebrae (bones of the neck). The condition is also known as cervical spondylosis and, it causes wear and tear of the spinal disc in the neck. It is important to note that cervical herniation does not show any symptom, but sometimes it can result to complications such as:
- Lack of muscle coordination
- Loss of bladder control or bowel movement problems
- Difficulty in walking
- Numbness or weakness in the arms, leg or foot.
- Brachial Plexus Injury
Branchial plexus is a group of nerves in the body that interconnect the shoulder, hand and arm with spine. Any injury to the branchial plexus such as when you engage in contact sports or in a traumatic accident leads to pain in the neck and shoulder. Also numbness and weakness in the affected hand may be experienced as a result.
- Muscle Strain
Muscle strains can are usually occasion by anxiety, stress or spending long hours working over the computer or driving long distances, reading on your bed or gritting your teeth. These activities weaken the muscles and restrict neck movements. This stiffness of the neck may affect the nerves hence resulting to pain in right side of the neck.
- Degeneration of neck Joints
Joints degeneration of neck joint occurs due a condition known as osteoarthritis. This condition severely damages the neck joint cartilage, making the joints of the neck to get worn out. This affects the movement of the neck resulting to pain in right side of neck.
- Neck Vertebrae-conditions
There are several degenerative health conditions that affect the neck vertebrae system and other parts of the neck that can result to pain, some of these conditions include:
- Cervical fractures
- Inflammation of the neck-joint cartilages
- Inflammation of the nerves
- Pinched nerves
- Arthritis of neck joints
- Poor Sleeping Position
Poor sleeping position such as sleeping on your stomach or sleeping on too many pillows or on a position that does not align your head and neck properly, can also result to pain in right side of neck.
- Sex and Exercise
Having sex for long hours and engaging in extraneous physical exercises can result to what is medically referred to as orgasmic headache. This headache can also cause symptoms such as sharp pains in right side of the neck due to constriction of blood vessels in the head and neck.
Pain in Right Side of Neck and Shoulder
Risk factors for pain in right side of neck and shoulder include:
- Athletic sports
- Weight lifting
- Throwing moderately heavy object
- Moving a heavy luggage
- Car accident
Symptoms and Signs of Pain in right side of neck and shoulder
- Swelling of the arm and inflammation of the bursa due to muscle spasms or tightness
- Numbness of the arm: if your nerves in the arm are damaged or bruised, you may not be able to feel any sense of touch normally. But due to this there is usually a burning or tingling sensation around the shoulder and right side of the neck.
- General body weakness: General body weakness may arise from severe painful muscles or bone movements.
- Pain: sharp pains from the base of the skull
- Headache: headache due to damaged nerve or nerves within the arm or neck region.
- Skin color changes: the color of your arm-skin may change color as a sign that arteries or veins have suffered injury from vigorous muscle movement’s i.e during weight lifting.
Causes of pain the right side of neck and shoulder
Shoulder and neck pain can be categorized in many different ways. Sometimes it can happen that a person experiences only neck pain or only shoulder pains while another person may experience pain in both the neck and shoulder at ago. Shoulder being a ball and socket joint it has high risks of injury and pain can arise or stem from one or a combination of the following causes:
Trauma or injury is the main cause of shoulder, neck and arm pain. Trauma to the shoulder and neck can be as a result of assault, exercises, car accident, and sharp or blunt force trauma. Severe trauma can cause a big damage and tearing of the muscles, ligaments and tendons. It can also result to fractures of bones in the arm, neck or shoulder and this can result to pain in the neck and shoulder.
- Involuntary muscle movements
Involuntary muscle movements (muscle spasm) can also cause pain in the neck region and shoulder. For example when portions of muscle in the hand involuntary contracts and remain so for long period, pain start to be experienced within the arm, neck and shoulder.
Some of the factors that cause involuntary muscle spasms include: dehydration, mineral deficiencies, poor circulation, poor posture or certain over-the-counter medications.
- Heart conditions
Neck and shoulder pain, could be a sign of a heart attack or cardiac arrest especially if it is accompanied by other symptoms such as excessive sweating, dizziness and nausea.
- Circulation problems
Circulation problems can occur as a result of peripheral arterial disease. When this disease strikes your arteries in the arm, the arteries become narrowed and hence there is insufficient blood supply to the tissues of the arm. This can sometimes result to pain in the neck region and shoulder.
- Gallbladder disease
Gallbladder disease is also known to have symptoms such as pain in the shoulder.
- Swollen tendons
Tendons are structures that connect the muscles to the bones. However, due to muscle straining or muscle injury, the tendons can become swollen and cause pains in the shoulder and neck. This condition is referred to as tendinitis.
- Broken collarbone (shoulder joint instability)
Broken collarbone can also result to pain in the shoulder and neck. Collarbone can break if one falls on his overstretched arm for example when one falls off from a tree, bicycle or building.
- Nerve compression
Nerve compression in the shoulder and arm can also trigger pain in the shoulder and arm. While this condition cause arm pain and shoulder pain, it does not cause neck pain. The common conditions that cause nerve compression are carpal tunnel syndrome and cubital tunnel syndrome.
- Other causes
Other causes of pain on the right side of neck and shoulder include: frozen shoulder, phlebitis, shingles, torn rotator cuff muscles, cellulitis of the arm and adhesive capsulitis.
Diagnosis of Neck and Shoulder Pain
- MRI :-( Magnetic resonance imaging) this procedure of examination can reveal the component details of nerve-related elements as well as the conditions affecting the tendons and ligaments.
- Myelography/CT scanning: this method can be used for the same purpose as MRI.
- Electrodiagnostic studies/ Electromyography (EMG)/ Nerve conduction velocity (NCV) these methods are normally used to diagnose neck and shoulder pain, arm pain, numbness and tingling.
- X-rays: simple or complex x-rays can reveal details of the space between two spinal bones, slipped discs, instability of the spinal column and fractures.
Pain in Right Side of Neck and Throat
Pain in right side of neck and throat is caused by various factors of which some are serious and potentially life threatening. The causes of this condition may include:
- Thyroid glands
Thyroid conditions like thyroiditis or enlarged thyroid gland (goiter) can result to pain in right side of neck and throat.
- Infections of the airways
Infections of the airways include pharyngitis which is the infection of the throat, tracheitis which is infection of trachea or windpipe and laryngitis which is the infection of voice box. These infections can result to pain in right side of neck and throat. Also factors that cause inflammation of the windpipe such as GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease) can result to pain in right side of neck and throat.
A number of structures and organs in the neck region may be damaged by cancer and result to pain in right side of neck and throat. Example of the types of cancer that can affect the neck region structures and organs include:
- Thyroid and parathyroid cancer
- Throat cancers such as cancer of the voice box (larynx)
- Lymphoma which is the cancer of the lymph nodes
- Metastatic cancer (cancer that spread from other regions such as mouth)
- Lymph nodes
Lymph nodes in the neck region can be infected and get enlarged; these enlarged lymph nodes may result to pain in the right side of neck and throat.
Sharp Pain in right Side of Neck
Sometime headache such as migraine can develop in the head and cause the pain to spread to the shoulder or base of the skull. In some cases sharp pains (pin or needle-like pain) may develop in the neck region, the causes of these pains may be one or a combination of the following:
- Cervical posture syndrome
Cervical posture syndrome is also known as kyphosis. This condition is caused by vigorous repetitive movements of the neck, factor that result to sharp pain in right side of neck. This condition affects cyclists, athletes, base ball catchers and body-builders.
- Tight muscles
Tight muscles in the neck restrict effective blood circulation within the neck. Lack of effective blood circulation within the neck denies the neck muscles necessary nutrients and oxygen; this makes the muscles weaker and tight, a factor that triggers a sharp pain in right side of neck. Tight muscles can be as a result of bad posture, scoliosis or incomplete stretching of muscles after tough training sessions.
Stress is a very is also known to be a common cause of sharp pain in the neck. Many people when stress they hold their stress in the neck region and shoulders, unconsciously clenching those muscles whenever they find themselves in a stressful situation. Over time, this may result to overworked muscles and hence a sharp pain in the neck.
- Occipital neuralgia
An injury to the occipital nerve can result to symptoms such as sharp pains in the neck and head at sometimes at the base of the skull. Occipital nerves are nerves that run from top of the spinal cord to the base of the skull.
- Rebound headaches
Use of over-the-counter painkillers every time you experience pains in the body can cause severe headaches that are accompanied by symptoms such as sharp pains in the neck, anxiety and difficulty in getting sleep.
Meningitis is an inflammation of the membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord and it is caused by a viral infection. Meningitis is usually accompanied Symptoms and signs such as stiffness of the neck and sharp pains on any side of the neck.
Pain in Right Side of Neck Remedy
There are several remedies or ways that can be tried to ease neck pains, below are some of the ways you can try:
For less severe injuries of the neck, the common effective over the counter-painkillers that can be administered or prescribed include, naproxen sodium, paracetamol, ibuprofen, aspirin or acetaminophen.
For severe injuries to your neck or severe muscle spasms, you need to visit your doctor for prescription of stronger painkillers, or muscle relaxants to relieve pain from your neck muscles. Your doctor depending on the severity of the injury, he may recommend you for further clinical examination of the neck position and muscles. Specific examination procedures such as ECG, MRI, CSF,X-ray Analysis may be conducted.
It is therefore important to visit your doctor if your neck pains do not subside within few days.
Neck Braces and traction
Neck braces are very effective in bringing neck muscles and soft collars to rest. It is important to note that the use of neck muscles for longer time can cause muscle weakening.
Physical therapies such as chiropractic, massage, acupuncture or electric nerve stimulation are very effective in healing your neck against pains.
Avoiding posture that can hurt your neck
You can avoid bad postures that can put your neck at risks of pains. It also advisable to engage in muscle relaxation techniques and go for good posture health to get rid of the neck pains faster. You can try to use objects that make your neck stable-upright such as a soft foam collar or a posture corrector.
In order to get rid of neck pains and to attain faster recovery you need to engage your neck in exercises. You can engage in slow range-of-motion exercises, up and down, side to side or from ear to ear. Various studies have showed that people who exercise on a daily basis show lower risk of experiencing neck pains and back aches. Simple exercises such as walking or running are very effective in enhancing muscular strength and neck flexibility.
Low-level laser therapy (LLLT)
This may not be a common treatment of neck pain, but it is a non-invasive treatment in which non-thermal laser irradiation is applied to areas of the body with severe pains. Though the procedure may not that be common but it has been used for a number of people and found to be effective.
Other tips to get ease of neck pains
- Use a neck-supporting chair at work place or at home
- Increase magnesium intake by taking fruits, vegetables or beans.
- Use ice therapy, by applying ice compress on your neck.
- Apply ointments and creams on your neck such as magnesium oils, aloe Vera oil or tea tree oil.
- Make regular visit to a physical therapist for neck exercises.
- Stay hydrated to maintain disc height and proper spinal alignment.