Neck pain on my right side has been coming and going.
More accurately, it’s discomfort.
The difference between pain and discomfort is not black and white. Most appropriate treatments for both are usually very similar.
The reasons for my particular case are two-fold:
- I experienced Covid symptoms over the New Year, one of which was muscle & joint soreness, which lingers still; and
- I’ve been stretching my legs and hips more in the past month so my body is adjusting.
This is why I believe any neck pain on the right side or left, more often than not, is due to muscle imbalances throughout the body.
Almost everybody has muscle imbalances. Some more than others.
If you are one of the lucky ones that isn’t but are still experiencing neck pain on your right side, then you should consider the following causes.
Either way, there are simple, non-intrusive exercises you can start doing which I describe below these causes.
Causes Of Neck Pain Right Side
- Degenerative disc disease – when the discs in between your vertebrae have deteriorated, usually starting much earlier than you felt the pain. In this case, you would experience more pain while lifting your arms above your head or twisting to either side.
- Herniated disc – when a disc in between your vertebrae gets damaged and/or the inner gelatinous portion begins to protrude. Pain can get worse when standing or walking and also at night-time.
- Pinched nerve – this can also create numbness or pain in the shoulder and a tingling sensation in the extremities.
- Acute torticollis – this is when you wake up with a twisted or stiff neck.
- Osteoarthritis – when cartilage between two bones starts to erode or disintegrate.
- Cysts or Tumors – a mass or lump appears with the pain. Often these are benign so see a doctor quickly for earlier detection.
- Whiplash – when your head jolts forward, backward and/or side-to-side abruptly.
- The Big Kahuna – this is the most common cause of neck pain right side of the body; that is, muscle imbalances.
Neck Pain Right Side Muscle Imbalances
Any muscle pain or discomfort in the body is because it’s making up for something somewhere else.
Your body is imbalanced.
Most people are like this. For example, I played many arduous years of squash so my body is right-side dominant.
The good news is that it’s manageable.
The even better news is we can start to notice our particular muscle imbalances just by paying attention to how our body feels during the day…
…as we sit, walk, eat, run, work, try to sleep, whenever.
Even taking 5-10 minutes for the static back posture helps greatly
(especially true if you feel like you can’t really move your neck).
You should try the static back posture before what is suggested below.
With this, we can see and feel that neck pain is more often than not caused by problems in other areas of the body.
So let me give you an idea of how to implement a solution…
Solutions To Neck Pain Or Discomfort
My morning stretching is focused on my legs and hips. As I sort out muscle imbalances down there it is automatic and inevitable that my upper body – including my neck – will start to adjust accordingly.
On top of that, instead of thinking I need to do a “massive” stretching session, I take time during the day to explore my neck region.
If I’m sitting at home or waiting for a bus or a little break at work, wherever, whenever, doesn’t matter.
What I do is slowly move my neck to one side until I feel a stretch.
I hold there, breathe and relax.
When I feel like it I move my neck around, either toward the other side or in a down/forward or back/up direction.
What I don’t do is just move to the same position on the other side – as if mirroring what I have just done. This is what would be called North/South/East/West stretching:
Stretching your neck to both sides, head forward, head back, and stop.
This is still good.
But it’s much more rewarding to explore around a 360 degree axis.
That is, instead of just moving your head with neck tilted to the left then across to the other side, you move slowly between all the “in-between points” and pause where you feel tension or pain.
You can breathe into that feeling to encourage relaxation.
A Video Demo & Follow-Along
The concept of stretching around a 360 degree axis – in particular to feel your body and identify muscle imbalances – was succinctly demonstrated to me by StretchTherapy.net.
You can check out their specific overcome neck pain program here.
If you want to relieve neck pain right side symptoms, this is a great way to create a little space and more comfortable freedom of movement.
Finally, you can also give yourself permission to do all this in a soft mindful way.