Pain, discomfort can sometimes be difficult to express, and only be experienced. A large number of people often experience sore throat on one side, which can cause moderate to severe discomfort. Activities including swallowing and speaking are an inseparable part of our routine and the inability to do so without any discomfort can impact the quality of life. Additionally, depending on the severity of the infection, it may also be necessary to prevent the manifestation of the condition into complicated conditions. 

Overview of reasons behind sore throat on one side

Multiple reasons contribute to the prevalence of this condition, which affects people of all ages and genders in the US. Some of the primary reasons for the condition include :

1 GERD – acid reflux

Gastroesophageal reflux disease, commonly known as GERD is one of the reasons for sore throat on one side. It refers to the condition wherein stomach acid enters the throat after moving up the esophageal sphincter. Individuals who habitually sleep on one side may end up with acid reflux affecting one side of the throat. 

2 Postnasal drip 

This is relatively common, as individuals with excessive mucus secretion may end up with the mucus dripping down the back of the throat. Individuals suffering from throat congestion are likely to experience this, especially as constant mucus dripping is likely to cause severe irritation and sore throat on one side.

3 Infection of tonsils – common tonsillitis

Common tonsillitis can cause this condition when the lymph nodes on either side at the back of the throat are infected. The lymph nodes are primarily meant to prevent infection, but when the nodes are themselves infected, tonsillitis occurs. 

4 The buildup of bacteria and debris, resulting in tonsil stones

The buildup of bacteria and debris in the tonsils results in tonsil stones which are quite different from tonsillitis. The hardening of the collected bacteria and debris in the tonsils results in the formation of lumps that are known as tonsilloliths. This is another reason for patients experiencing pain on one side of the throat.

5 Peritonsillar abscess

An infection that results in the formation of pus behind either of the tonsils is commonly known as a peritonsillar abscess. Consequently, the side of the throat that is exposed to the abscess will be sore, resulting in one side sore throat. 

6 Excessive use of vocal cords, triggering the formation of lesions

Vocal cords are sometimes used to an extent where it results in an injury, which in turn triggers the formation of a lesion in the throat. Consequently, the side of the throat with the lesion ends up sore, causing this condition. This is generally common among orators, singers, professionals in teaching jobs and individuals who use their vocal cords throughout the day.  

How to exactly understand that you have a sore throat on one side?

Multiple symptoms are indicative of a sore throat on one side. While some may appear common with other conditions, it is possible to quickly come to a conclusion about the condition. Here are some of the easily identifiable symptoms of this condition.  

  • You may experience difficulty while swallowing fluids or saliva
  • A simple visual examination of your open mouth can reveal swollen and red tonsils
  • You feel swelling in the glands of your neck/jaw and experience a sore feeling
  • Your voice is muffled and you sound hoarse whenever you talk
  • You experience scratching sensations in your throat
  • Visual examination reveals the formation of pus or tiny white patches on your tonsils
  • Whenever you talk or swallow, you experience moderate to excruciating pain 

How to determine if you need to see a doctor?

It depends on the severity of the condition. This differs from person to person as individuals have different thresholds for pain and discomfort. However, as a thumb rule, you could follow simple rules to determine if your condition warrants a visit to the doctor. 

  • Persistent pain and soreness that extends beyond four or five days – This means that your condition is not getting better, and your remedies aren’t working. 
  • The pain spreads to your ear – This indicates that the infection has not been controlled and the pain is hence being manifested through earache. 
  • Difficulty in opening your mouth – When you have difficulty in opening your mouth, it means that the sore throat on one side has reached severe proportions.

These conditions should definitely push you into scheduling a visit to the doctor. That is, if you are unable to experience any notable difference in the remedies that you are trying, or OTC medication. This now brings us to a very important question – are home remedies effective? Do they really work, or is it just another way of feeling good without getting better?

 

Home remedies for sore throat on one side do work, check out these effective options

Home remedies are typically effective when the condition is at its initial stages when the effects are moderate. One of the strongest effects of home remedies is to alleviate the effects to a certain extent. If your condition has not progressed or manifested to severe stages, you can expect the home remedies to work. Here are some of the more popular and effective home remedies for sore throat on one side

Apple cider vinegar

This is an age-old remedy that can be effective in alleviating your discomfort considerably. The acetic acid in apple cider vinegar can combat the bacteria in your sore throat and this will help to significantly reduce the discomfort and pain associated with your sore throat. 

How to use apple cider vinegar for sore throat pain

Take one cup of warm water (anywhere between 150 to 175 ml) and mix one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar and gargle.  If you would like to sweeten and/or increase the soothing effect of the combination, you could mix a tablespoon of honey with it. This needs to be repeated twice or thrice a day until you experience the results. This one will definitely work if the sore throat on one side has not progressed to a strong infection. In fact, the father of modern medicine Hippocrates had recommended the solution for treating various conditions including sore throat.

The root of licorice

Licorice root is traditional medicine, native to South Asia and parts of Europe. This can be used for either gargling or for drinking. Its soothing effects are attributed to the properties that are very similar to the mechanism of action of acetylsalicylic acid (ASA). Commonly known as aspirin, the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory formulation is effective in treating inflammation and pain. The qualities of licorice root that make it similar to ASA, gives it high potency in treating the condition. 

How to use licorice root for treating sore throat pain

The method is quite simple. Grind the roots of licorice and put the mixture in a cup of water. Boil it for three minutes, and permit it to steep for a few more minutes. Strain the mixture in the same way that you would strain the tea and drink it. It is naturally sweet, so you do not have to mix any sweetener to it. In fact, it is around 30 times sweeter than sugar and you will certainly not find it bitter.

Tea from ginger root

Ginger has been a part of ancient medicinal concoctions, by virtue of its anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties. It has strong bactericidal effects and swabs containing ginger extract have been proven to be effective in killing bacteria. You can consume it as tea and experience its alleviating effects. 

How to make ginger root tea to treat sore throat on one side

You will need a minimum quantity of fresh ginger root to make this tea. Peel the fresh ginger and grate it. Ideally, to make two glasses of ginger root tea, you will require approximately 15 ml of grated ginger, the contents of which will fill one tablespoon. Bring water to a boil in a pot and add the grated ginger in the pot. Cover it with a lid and permit it to steep for around ten minutes. Alternatively, you could also boil grated ginger in the water for around two to three minutes and let it steep for around seven minutes. Sweeten it with the required amount as per your individual taste and drink it. While it can also be taken cold, the best effects are experienced when the tea is consumed warm or cold. Remember not to over-sweeten it as this can bring down the effectiveness of the concoction.

Takeaways point to remember

  • Home remedies work to a certain extent and are most effective when the condition is treated in the initial stages.
  • The effect of home remedies differs from person to person, and it would be wrong to expect results that may have been exceptional in certain people. 
  • The quality of the ingredients has a very important role to play in the efficacy of the remedies. Choose good quality ingredients.
  • Home remedies can be used alongside medication only in some cases. Consult your doctor if you plan to take home remedies along with medication.

The results of home remedies are relatively slow when compared with medication. For proven medications that are highly effective in treating sore throat on one side, check out this list.

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