Left Side Neck Pain

Neck pain on the left side can stem from a variety of sources. Comparing your symptoms can help you find the source of your discomfort so you can figure out the best way to make this pain stop.

image001 Most people feel a pain in their neck at some point or another, and there can be numerous causes that lead to this discomfort. Your neck is made up of seven smaller vertebrae that range from the base of the skull to the upper torso that are designed to provide support for your neck and provide a range of motion for your head. This flexibility is helpful, but can also leave you susceptible to injury. If the left side of the neck is affected by an adverse condition these muscles will tighten which can lead to pain. What are the causes of left side neck pain, how can you treat the causative conditions?

Causes and Treatments of Left Side Neck Pain

1. Muscle Tension and Posture

Some conditions can lead to temporary discomfort that can impact the left side of the neck.

Condition

Condition Description

Treatment Options

Muscle Tension

Overusing your neck, sleeping in an incorrect position or muscle strain can cause the neck to become numb, stiff or cause pain.

Sleeping on a firm mattress, forgoing a pillow, taking muscle relaxants or pain killers, improving your sitting posture, reducing stress and having a therapeutic massage can help to ease this discomfort.

Poor Posture

Sitting with your neck spine bent can cause damage to your core support system which can lead to pain.

Making a point of holding the head in alignment with the body can take pressure off your left side to relieve discomfort.


You can manage your neck by doing some exercises to quickly relieve the pain, especially when it’s caused by poor postures. Watch the following videos:

Massage:

Yoga:

2. Neck Injuries

Injuries that strain the neck such as overuse, accidents or a sudden movement can cause the neck to become stiff and sore. This pain may rotate and spread down to the shoulders or the other side of the neck.

Condition

Condition Description

Treatment Options

Whiplash Injury

Quick acceleration and deceleration of the body such as what you would experience during a motor vehicle accident can damage the spine. This can cause the left side of the neck to become stiff along with arm and shoulder pain, headache, fatigue, back pain, dizziness and disturbed sleep.

The type of treatment you require will vary based on the nature of the injury. In extreme cases it may be necessary to wear a cervical collar to prevent further injury, though the immobilization that is inevitable in this case can increase stiffness in the neck.

Burners and Stingers Injury

Sports injuries from an impact on the left side can case the nerve roots in this area to become compressed. This can cause a stinging, burning or pinching sensation on the neck which can last for hours or days.

This condition is usually temporary, but if numbness or weakness persists or begins to affect the arm and shoulder you will need to immobilize the area.

Pinched Nerve

A pinched nerve due to bone spurs, spinal stenosis or a herniated disc can cause pain to radiate down the neck and into the left shoulder and arm along with weakness or numbness in this area.

Anti-inflammatory medications can reduce swelling that may be affecting these nerves. Support braces or physical therapy may also be necessary. If the damage is severe surgery may be required to return sensation to this area.

Cervical Herniated Disc

If the cushioning between the spinal column become damaged from trauma or lifting heavy weight these fibers can bulge out, causing tingling, pain or numbness on the left side of the neck.

A combination of rest, exercise and pain medications or corticosteroids can be used to manage pain from a herniated disc. If the disc is pressing on the nerves it may require surgery to correct.


3. Degenerative Disorders

As the body ages, the wear and tear on the neck can cause damage which can lead to degenerative disorders.

Condition

Condition Description

Treatment Options

Cervical Osteoarthritis

This condition causes progressive degeneration of the cartilage, bones and joints in the neck due to natural wear and tear. As this occurs the body will produce bone spurs in the neck that can limit the range of motion and cause a distinct grinding sound.

Anti-inflammatory medications, chiropractic manipulation, cervical collars, exercise, hot and cold therapy are helpful in managing pain.

Spinal Stenosis

As the neural passages on the left side of the neck become compressed it can cause numbness in the neck that can spread down the arm. Trauma, aging, hereditary factors and arthritis can contribute to this condition.

Massages, cold packs, physical therapy and heat therapy can provide relief. If the pain is severe a lumbar decompressive laminectomy may be necessary.


4. Medical Conditions

Some conditions that affect the body as a whole may have an impact on the neck as well.

Condition

Condition Description

Treatment Options

Fibromyalgia

This condition causes the tissue, tendons, muscles and joints to become tender, which can lead to back or neck pain on the left side. Trauma or a disturbance in your sleep can cause these symptoms.

Light massage, pain medication, muscle relaxants or antidepressants can be prescribed. In many cases sleep aids and physical therapy will be required to reduce long term symptoms.

Diffuse Idiopathic Skeletal Hyperostosis

This syndrome leads to an abnormal calcification in the tendons and ligaments along the spine. This will lead to hardening and stiffness of the nearby tissues that can limit your neck’s mobility and cause swelling and pain.

Pain management with pain medications or injections can help to manage symptoms. Exercises can be used to help maintain mobility of the neck as well.

Other Medical Conditions

Head and neck cancer, a spinal cord tumor, carotdynia, heart attack, meningitis, infections in the epiglottis and swelling in the lymph nodes can cause pain on the left side of the neck.


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