Why Is My Throat Hurting on One Side?


Sore throats are bound to be excruciating or irritating. It is possible you have gotten sore throat severally in the past, so you think you already know what will happen. However, what about experiencing pain on just one part of the throat?

Sore throat on one side can be attributed to several things, even when you obviously lack tonsils. These will include canker sores, post-nasal drips, tooth infections as well as other conditions. You may just have pain in your throat, or you could experience other symptoms like earache.

Continue reading so you can understand more of what could be the cause of sore throat on one side.

Candateshia Pafford, U.S. Army Garrison Japan Public Affairs

Postnatal drips

This is the slimy mucus that comes down at your nose’ rear. Whenever this occurs, it will seem like all the mucus is gathering inside your throat.

The glands inside your throat and nose usually produce one to two quarts of mucus per day. But if you are sick as a result of allergies or infection, the mucus production will increase. When the excess mucus gathers and cannot be properly drained, that sensation of the mucus falling down your throat could be discomforting.

Postnatal drips often times irritate your throat, causing it be sore. You could experience this pain on just one side, particularly when you wake up after sleeping on one side. Treating postnatal drips comprises handling the condition responsible for it. In the interval, you could use a decongestant like pseudoephedrine for relieving you of the symptoms.


This is an inflammation that is normally caused by a tonsil infection. The tonsils are usually circle shaped lymphatic tissue at your throat’s rear. You have got 2 tonsils, one is on either sides of the throat, right behind the tongue. Occasionally, tonsillitis does affects just tonsil, giving rise to sore throat on one side.

Usually, tonsillitis is a product of a virus related infection, and it can equally be caused by a bacterial infection. The elementary symptom happens to be sore throat, normally associated with these other symptoms:

  • Bad breath
  • Fever
  • Runny nose and nasal congestion
  • Difficulty in swallowing
  • Lymph nodes that are swollen
  • Swollen, red tonsils clothed with pus
  • Headache
  • Raw, bleeding sections of the tonsils
  • Abdominal pain

Many virus related tonsillitis do heal within a period of 10 days without any special medications. You could reduce the pain by using OTC pain killers or even home remedies like gargling with a salt water solution.

If your tonsillitis is of a bacterial origin, you may need your doctor to help you with an antibiotic.

Peritonsillar abscess

This is a type of infection which develops a collection of pus, behind and adjacent to one of the nostrils. It normally starts as a bacterial tonsillitis complication, and occurs more in young adults and older children.

Although a particular Peritonsillar abscess could bring about general throat pains, that pain is normally worse of on that side that is holding the affected tonsils.

Other possible symptoms of Peritonsillar abscess are:

  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Difficulty in speaking
  • Bad breath
  • Affected side having ear pains
  • Muffled, soft voice
  • Drooling

Peritonsillar abscess needs quick medical attention.

It is possible that your doctor would implement a small incision or needle for draining the pus out of the area that has been affected. An antibiotic therapy may equally be prescribed following the draining of the abscess.

Canker sores

These are small looking sores that are formed inside your mouth. There are normally situated under or inside the tongue, in your lips, or even on top your mouth close to your throat’s rear. Many canker sores appear round and are small with a red line, and a yellow or white center.

Even if they are small, they could be very painful. Whenever a canker sore develops at one side of your throat, the pain might be felt on just one side.

Many canker sores actually heal within 14 days without any medication. In the interval, you could ease the pains with OTC medications like benzoicaine (Orabase) or home remedies.

Swollen lymph nodes

The job of your lymph node is to ward of infection from affecting your body. Whenever they swell, it mostly means you have a challenge like a bacterial or viral infection. You might observe swollen lymph nodes beneath your chin, inside your armpits, or, inside your neck, around your groin,

There are several lymph nodes around your neck and head regions. Whenever they become swollen, they might feel tender if you apply any pressure on them.

Lymph nodes normally swell close to the area where an infection is located. If you’ve got strep throat, for instance, it could cause the lymph node within your neck to swell. Occasionally, just one lymph node would swell, resulting to sore throat occurring on just one side.

In uncommon cases, lymph nodes that are swollen could be an indication of more serious problems like HIV or cancer. Speak with your doctor should you experience any of these symptoms along with lymph nodes that are swollen.

  • Swollen nodes for over 14 days
  • Night sweats
  • Weight loss
  • Fatigue
  • Long-term fever
  • Nodes that have become hard, growing rapidly, or fixed on the skin
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Inflamed or red skin on swollen nodes
  • Swollen nodes near the neck’ lower part or collarbone.

Glossopharyngeal Neuralgia As Well As Trigeminal Neuralgia

These are uncommon nerve conditions which cause sudden, recurrent, severe pains around your tongue, ear canal, jaw, tonsils, or corner of your face. Because of where the nerves are located around your neck and head, the pain normally stays on just side of your face.

Glossopharyngeal neuralgia’ pain is around the tongue or throat’ rear. It is mostly activated by swallowing, as it normally stays for up to a couple of minutes. You may feel ache on the area that is affected after experiencing the severe pains.

Trigeminal neuralgia’ pain is mostly face related, but can sometime happen around the mouth. The pain could be episodic and sudden and progressive. Eating, touching your face, or blowing upon the face could start another episode.

The two conditions are normally treated with medicines that are used for neuropathic pain like pregabalin (Lyrica), gabapentin (Neurontin), or carbamazepine (Tegretol).

Tooth abscess or an infection

Tooth abscess is just an accumulation of pus that is the result of a certain bacterial infection. This collection of pus keeps growing at your tooth’ root. It could give rise to severe pains that will extend to your own jawbone as well as your ear on a particular part of your face. Your throat and neck lymph nodes can equally get tender and swollen.

Some other symptoms indicating that you have an infected tooth are:

  • Sensitivity to cold and hot temperatures
  • Fever
  • Pain while you are chewing
  • Swelling around your cheek or face
  • Swollen, tender lymph nodes around your neck or beneath your jaw.
  • Infection is mostly popular with the 4 molars at the rear of the mouth that lack enough space for their development. Even with the teeth emerging from the gum, it is difficult to clean them, which exposes them to infections. When they are infected, they can give rise to jaw pains as well as swelling, which makes it difficult in opening your mouth.
  • Should you be experiencing any problems with your 4 molars, your dentist would likely suggest that you take them off. If you are experiencing tooth abscess, an incision for draining the pus may be suggested to you. You could equally require an antibiotic.


This is an inflammation within your own voice box, equally known as larynx. It is normally a result of stressing your voice, an irritation or viral infection.

You’ve got 2 vocal cords within your larynx that usually closes and opens smoothly for producing sound. Whenever these cords become irritated or swollen, you may feel a sensation of pain as well as observe changes in the way your voice sounds.

Some other laryngitis symptoms are:

  • Losing your voice
  • Hoarseness
  • Tickling sensation around your throat
  • Dry cough
  • Rawness inside your throat
  • Dry throat

Laryngitis normally heals in a few weeks without taking any medications, but it is best if you relax your voice within such times.

When You Should See Your Doctor

Many sore throats are occasioned by viral infection like flu or common cold. For some uncommon cases, it may be indicative of something more severe. Get medical attention whenever you notice these symptoms:

  • Difficulty in breathing
  • High fever
  • Unable to swallow liquids or food
  • Unbearable pains
  • High-pitched, abnormal breathing sounds.
  • Fast heart beat
  • Signal of allergic reaction

If you are experiencing a one-sided throat pain that has lasted for few days, you can consult your doctor to know what the cause is. They might prescribe an antibiotic therapy for you or recommend OTC medications for soothing the pains or any other symptom.



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