3 Causes of One-Sided Neck Pain

3 Causes of One-Sided Neck Pain

Neck pain is one of the most common musculoskeletal disorders. It’s also a complex one with both psychological and biological risk factors. 

Not only is neck pain complex, but it can also present in many different ways. Various conditions can cause burning sensations, sharp or stabbing pains, or even a general ache. It can even only appear on one side of your neck.

Regardless of what causes your neck pain or where it manifests, our team of providers at International Spine, Pain & Performance Center are experts in managing neck pain in Washington, D.C., and Arlington, Virginia.

Read on to learn about three potential causes of one-sided neck pain.

Muscle strain

Muscle strains can also cause one-sided neck pain. Poor posture, sleeping in an awkward position, or sudden movements can lead to a pulled muscle in your neck. 

Tech neck is another type of strain that can lead to one-sided neck pain, depending on how you hold your head while on your device. 

Cradling your phone between your ear and shoulder is another tech-related issue that causes one-sided pain. You can prevent this by using a hands-free headset or wireless earbuds. 

Pinched nerve

Cervical radiculopathy 一 more commonly referred to as a pinched nerve 一 occurs when a nerve root in your cervical spine is compressed (pinched) or otherwise irritated. Herniated discs, bone spurs, or degenerative changes in the spine can cause pain on one side of the neck that may radiate down one of your arms. 

Herniated discs

Herniated discs can happen when the soft inner portion of your disc protrudes out of its harder outer shell. Depending on the location of your herniated disc and which nerve roots are affected, herniated discs in your neck can cause pain on the back or even on just one side of your body. 

When a nerve is pinched, it can cause pain anywhere along that nerve. For example, if you have a herniated disc in your neck, it could irritate a nearby nerve and cause pain that shoots through one side of your neck, down through your arm, and even your hands. 

What to do about one-sided neck pain

Sometimes, you may know immediately what’s causing your one-sided neck pain. For instance,  if you just spent one hour talking with your phone between your ear and shoulder, you probably won’t wonder why your neck hurts. Muscle strains like this often feel better with warm compresses and gentle massage.

On the other hand, the cause of your neck pain might not be obvious, and that’s where we come into the picture. Our team at International Spine, Pain, & Performance Center knows that there are many reasons why your neck hurts. 

The first step is to confirm the source of your pain through an exam and diagnostic tests such as X-rays or MRIs. Depending on the source of your pain, you may benefit from lifestyle modifications (such as ergonomic adjustments), medication, physical therapy, epidurals, or radiofrequency ablation.

Don’t let one-sided neck pain rule your life. Call the location of your choice or click here to explore your potential treatment options.  

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