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Pain in Right Side of Neck: Causes & Treatments

Woman suffering from pain in her right side of the neck.

There are various possible causes of pain on the right side of the neck, including joint degradation, injury, and stress. Treatment depends on the cause but can include pain relievers, physical therapy, and surgery in severe cases.

The neck is a vital part of the human body, comprising spinal bones, muscles, and other tissue. Damage to vertebrae, muscles, joint tissue, or nerves in the neck can all produce pain.

In this short article, we discuss nine common causes of pain in the right side of the neck, treatment options, and when to contact a doctor.

We have already compiled an article: “Neck Pain Common Causes, Symptoms and Treatments” that we highly recommend reading.

Causes of Pain in the Right Side of the Neck

Some of the most common causes of pain in the right side of the neck include the following:

  1. Spinal Disc Degeneration
  2. Muscle Damage from Poor Posture or Sleep Position
  3. Impact Injury
  4. Whiplash or a Sudden Jolt to the Neck
  5. Nerve Compression (Cervical Radiculopathy)
  6. Sudden-onset or Acute Torticollis
  7. Rheumatoid Arthritis
  8. Cancer
  9. Infection
Common causes of pain in right side of the neck are explained.

Spinal Disc Degeneration

Vertebrae in the neck and the soft discs between them wear down naturally with age. This is known as Degenerative Disc Disease (DDD). Disc degeneration can eventually lead to arthritis of the neck.

As these soft discs deteriorate, the vertebrae may rub against each other, leading to pain, weakness, and numbness in the neck, back, and extremities.

Muscle Damage from Poor Posture or Sleep Position

Poor posture and poor spinal sleep alignment can damage the bones, muscles, nerves, and joints in the neck. These can all cause pain in the neck.

Impact Injury

Impact injury to the neck can damage the muscles, ligaments, nerves, and vertebrae in the neck. Neck trauma can cause pain, stiffness, headaches, and dizziness. Nerve damage due to impact injuries may also cause pain in other body parts.

Whiplash or a Sudden Jolt to the Neck

Whiplash describes an injury to the neck where the head jolts forward and then back into place very quickly. This can cause pain, muscle spasms, and headaches.

The movement resembles the crack of a whip. People tend to think of whiplash about car accidents, but it can also occur due to sporting activities and other sudden movements.

Nerve Compression (Cervical Radiculopathy)

Cervical Radiculopathy, which people often refer to as a pinched nerve, occurs when irritation of the nerves originating in the spinal cord in the neck causes pain to radiate down the arm.

Although this can result in pain in the neck, the primary symptoms include:

  • Numbness in the arms
  • Pins and needles in the arms
  • Pain or weakness in part of the arms

Sudden-onset or Acute Torticollis

Torticollis is a medical condition in which the head becomes twisted to one side. Many cases are due to minor ligament or muscle sprains in the neck, although exposure to cold temperatures for an extended period could also be a cause.

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis can cause inflammation in the joints. This can cause joint pain, as well as worsening joint degradation.

Rheumatoid arthritis in the neck is rare and most commonly occurs during latter stages of the condition.


Cancers of the head and neck are rare and typically begin in the:

  • Throat
  • Larynx
  • Oral cavity
  • Nasal cavities
  • Salivary glands

The growth of tumors in and around the neck can impact the bones, muscles, and nerves, causing pain, numbness, and swelling.


Viral and bacterial infections, such as colds, the flu, and tonsilitis, can cause inflammation and pain in the throat and surrounding tissues.

Treatment and Home Remedies

The treatment for neck pain will depend on its cause. Mild cases may resolve independently or with home treatments, while severe or chronic pain may require medical intervention.

Home Treatments

When neck pain is mild or moderate, it is usually possible to treat the symptoms at home. Some cases of neck pain will clear up quickly over a day, while others may require a few weeks to resolve fully.

A person may wish to use home remedies before seeking medical help. People can try the following methods to ease their pain:

  • Taking over-the-counter (OTC) pain relievers and anti-inflammatory medications.
  • Applying heat or ice.
  • Massaging and manipulating the neck.
  • Stretching the neck.
  • Practicing good posture when sitting, standing, and walking.
  • Sleeping in a position that supports the neck.

Medical Treatments

Home remedies may not always alleviate the pain. Some people will require medical treatment to achieve relief from their neck pain. The exact treatment will depend on whether or not any underlying conditions are causing the pain.

A doctor may try the following additional treatments:


Pain on the right side of the neck is rarely a cause for concern. Most causes of this pain are benign and treatable with home remedies.

If symptoms persist or are severe, a person should seek medical attention immediately. Most cases of neck pain should resolve within 1–2 weeks.

Reference: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/322572

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