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What are the Most Common Causes of Side of the Neck Pain?

By Patti Kate
Updated May 17, 2024
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There are numerous reasons for side of the neck pain, including serious illness or extreme trauma or injury. Other common causes of side of the neck pain include strained neck muscles caused by forceful or abrupt movement, or some type of physical activity. Poor posture can cause pain in the neck, which may be a chronic occurrence. Dehydration may also be a contributing factor of neck pain.

Pain in the side of the neck is a common indicator of something abnormal. Often, people suspect a pinched nerve, however, the cause could be something relatively minor, such as falling asleep in an awkward position, which causes strain on one side of the neck. Waking up in the morning with stiff muscles and neck pain is a common complaint among many people. This is especially true of people whose sleeping positions do not allow for proper spine alignment. A simple way to correct this type of side of the neck pain is by using a different type of pillow.

Specially designed pillows may help relieve pressure on the spine and neck. These pillows are designed for proper positioning of the neck, back, and spine, and offer the degree of support that is recommended by medical experts. By supporting the neck and keeping everything in proper alignment, neck pain may be eliminated. Sleeping with two pillows for added height may also put pressure on the neck and spine, causing neck pain in the morning.

Neck and shoulder pain may occur simultaneously for various reasons. Many patients with the medical condition known as fibromyalgia often suffer from side of the neck pain. This pain may develop suddenly, with even the slightest movement or touch to an area that is overly sensitive. The pain may radiate to the shoulders, arms, or any other area of the body, or remain localized. Arthritis also is known to cause neck pain.

Individuals with poor posture, either while sitting for long periods or standing, may suffer from side of the neck pain. This is because slouching may put pressure and strain on the neck muscles. Desks or other work stations that are too low or too high for a worker's height can cause neck pain. Adjustments to correct this may eliminate these symptoms.

Treating pain in the side of the neck caused by repetitive motion injury can be done with a few modifications. Taking breaks between routine tasks may help alleviate neck pain. Rotating duties rather than concentrating on one particular assignment for an extended period may also help.

In some cases, dehydration may cause neck pain, including muscle spasms on either side of the neck. Left neck pain or right neck pain may be caused by not consuming sufficient water. Although this may be less recognizable as a major cause of neck pain, it is not uncommon. A simple way to prevent this is to increase daily fluid intake, therefore staying adequately hydrated. This may be especially helpful for those who exercise frequently.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
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