What are the Most Common Causes of Right Neck Pain?

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  • Written By: Marisa O'Connor
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 02 March 2020
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There are many causes of right neck pain. The neck is very vulnerable to injury and tension. Normal wear and tear of joints, muscle strain, and broken bones are all common causes of neck pain. Other common causes are stress and trauma. Chronic neck pain should be evaluated by a doctor to determine the exact cause and course of treatment.

Disc degeneration, also called spondylolysis of the cervical spine, is one of the most common causes of right neck pain. Discs within the cervical spine, which is the neck region of the spine, are made of connective tissue that allows the vertebrae to move fluidly while protecting the bone material. The tissue naturally wears down with age, but injuries tend to break down the protective discs much more quickly.

Small injuries may contribute to disc degeneration without any pain experienced. This is dangerous because it leaves the discs more vulnerable without the person's knowledge. Neck pain is often caused by an accumulation of many small, unnoticed injuries. After the disc tissue is worn down enough, any injury or whiplash-type movement can result in severe neck pain.


When enough disc degeneration has occurred, the connective tissue begins to collapse and shrinks the space between each vertebra. This can cause the bones to rub against each other and may lead to misalignment of the spine. This can cause pressure to build in the neck, which may be experienced as right neck pain. This condition often leads to osteoarthritis and is most common in the elderly population.

Muscle strain is another, very common cause of right neck pain. There are many different factors that can contribute to muscle strain. In fact, sometimes it is impossible to tell what the primary cause of the pain is. Muscle strain can result from any movement that pulls and slightly tears the muscle tissue. Muscle spasms, which are involuntary contractions, may also produce similar symptoms of neck pain, but are not the same as a muscle strain.

Broken bones are also common causes of right neck pain. A broken collarbone can cause severe neck and shoulder pain. A break in the right shoulder blade would also result in a lot of neck pain. The shoulder blade is a sturdy bone, so quite a bit of force is required to break it. In fact, most injuries to the right shoulder would cause significant right neck pain. The rotator cuff is a group of tendons that allows wide range of movement in the shoulder. This region is particularly vulnerable to injury and affects the neck as well.

Trauma to the head and neck is another common cause of right neck pain. The neck is very flexible and, like the shoulder, the wide range of motion also makes it very vulnerable to injury. The fact that it also supports a heavy head adds to the risk of injury. Sudden motion, such as whiplash or a fall, can result in hyperextension, when the neck moves backward past its limits, or hyperflexion, when the neck moves forward past its limits. This movement causes damage to the muscles and ligaments of the neck.

Right neck pain may also be caused by stress or poor posture. Stress is known to create tension in the neck, back, and shoulders. This tension can lead to pain and increase the chances of injury. Poor posture is another common cause of neck pain. Holding the neck in an unnatural position for long periods of time will cause neck pain. This can be a result of slouching, sitting at a desk that isn't set up to account for posture, or sleeping without proper neck support.

Treating right neck pain should be done with the help of a doctor or physical therapist. Some cases of mild pain can be treated by exercising and correcting posture or getting a better pillow. If pain is persistent, an exam should be performed to rule out any serious conditions. Injuries to the spine are always serious, as it is a core component of the central nervous system. Severe neck injuries can result in paralysis and even death.



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