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Q. Can mild straightening of neck result in right-sided neck and shoulder pain?

Answered by
Dr. Ismail Kabakus
and medically reviewed by Dr. Sneha Kannan
This is a premium question & answer published on Jul 22, 2020 and last reviewed on: Apr 21, 2021

Hello doctor,

For the past two weeks, I have been having on and off pain on my right side of the neck. Occasionally, there is pain on my shoulder and shooting or throbbing pain down my right arm. Sometimes I feel some soreness on the left side of my back, but that is usually not as bad as the right. The issue gets worse when I use my right arm a lot. I used to take Capsule Celebrex (Celecoxib) and Capsule Flexeril (Cyclobenzaprine) for one week, but I stop because I thought I was getting better. I have not been taking any medicine for a week, but yesterday, I started taking Advil (Ibuprofen). I took a cervical MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) and x-ray (x-ray result is normal, shows mild straightening of the neck).

#

Hello,

Welcome to icliniq.com.

There is cervical spinal straightening, usually due to postural abnormality, due to prolonged stay in front of laptops. The good news inter-vertebral discs are healthy, so there is no irreversible damage. There is an only minimal bulging of the disc at C 4-5 and C 5-6, which affects right C5 and C6 nerve roots, which innervate the shoulder and all the way to the hand. Do not stay in the same position for a long period of time.


Thank you doctor,

So essentially, I pinched nerve on C5-6, is that correct? Is there a reason why my right side is hurting more than my left? Is there any muscle inflammation as well? I have been stretching for the past two weeks, but sometimes I feel like it aggravates the pain, so I have stopped stretching now. Should I just take Advil and rest, and then after I feel better, do some stretching? Do I need to seek a physical therapist? Will it go away with rest and time, correct? I am just worried because it has been two weeks, and the pain still persists.

#

Hello,

Welcome back to icliniq.com.

Not all the muscles are in the field of view, but I do not see any muscle inflammation. Since you already mildly injured the nerve root, it is now more sensitive to motion. You can continue Advil, which helps a lot but be careful not to take too many. It may have some side effects on the stomach. After you get well, do some mild exercise. Do not stay in the same position for a long time. Try to watch some videos showing ideal neck posture, adjust your table, laptop according to that. Since intervertebral discs look healthy, there is no tear in them. I assume all your symptoms are reversible. You should be totally fine after some time with the correct treatment. The physical therapist may help but not sure if you need to pay extra for them.

Thank you doctor,

Is it possible that the C-5 or C-6 affects the left side too? Yesterday, I felt some soreness through my left-hand side as well but not as severe as the right-hand side. Is it also possible for the symptoms to be on or off for a couple of weeks before it gets better? The pain has been on or off for the past two weeks, so I am a little worried.

#

Hello,

Welcome back to icliniq.com.

It is definitely possible. A disc bulge is central to the right, and it may also affect the left side. Depending on the posture, the pain may be on and off. Try to avoid being in a position that induces pain. There are many videos online related to how to protect your neck posture but do not push too hard. Advil is very effective in resolving the edema in impinged nerve roots. I would like to tell you that your cervical discs look very healthy, so if you try to be careful, all symptoms will be gone very soon.

Thank you doctor,

Is it possible that the disc bulging causes a tight neck or tension headache as well? So I should rest and be careful of my posture until my pain is better and take Advil. After my pain is better, I can start following stretches online that are targeted at the C5-6 nerve. So I can expect a recovery in a couple of weeks, is that correct? Nothing serious, and disc bulging can be reversed with good posture and stretches.

#

Hello,

Welcome back to icliniq.com.

Neck pain may induce headache, although disc herniation is not directly related to headache. Yes, give it some time. As a non-steroid-anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID), Advil will decrease inflammation and edema. Nothing serious is seen on MRI (magnetic resonance imaging), and spinal cord signal intensity is normal.


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