Do you experience neck pain on the left side and are unsure about its causes? Temporary neck pain is common and usually goes away on its own. Neck pain, however, is also considered one of the most common chronic pains. If you’re having such pain, it can be due to muscle strain caused by sleeping in an improper position or swelling. But if the pain is persistent or excruciating on the left side of the neck, it can be a sign of an underlying medical condition.
Read on to find out some common causes of neck pain on the left side and see a doctor.
Causes of neck pain on the left side
It’s normal to experience neck pain due to muscle tension or strain, which occurs when a muscle or tendon bears excessive pressure. Following are the reasons why your neck muscle gets strained or tensed.
- Sleeping in an abnormal position
- Improper neck position for too long
- Stress or anxiety
- Teeth grinding (bruxism)
- The strain on neck muscles while exercising
The symptoms of neck pain due to muscle strain include:
- Neck stiffness
- Inflammation in shoulder or neck
- Numbness in the arms
Torticollis is the condition that causes twisting or bending of the neck to one side. It occurs when your neck muscles contract due to:
- Emotional stress
- Compressed nerves
- Cold temperature exposure
The symptoms of torticollis may include:
- Difficulty balancing
- Issues with vision
- Problem in walking
Cervical radiculopathy, commonly called a pinched nerve, occurs when the nerve root in the cervical spinal cord is pressed due to swelling, bone spurs, or herniated disk. A pinched nerve can cause severe pain in the neck that moves to the arm and hand. Its symptoms may include:
- Muscle fragility
- Numbness in the arm
- Vague reflexes
- Uncomfortable tingling
Cervical spinal stenosis
Cervical spinal stenosis occurs due to narrowing the spinal canal in the neck, putting pressure on your spinal cord and nerve roots. This condition can also occur due to other reasons, including:
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Degenerative joint disease
- Spine injuries
The symptoms for this condition build up gradually, including:
- Neck pain
- Weakness in fingers or hands
- Numbness in the neck going down the hands
Other rare causes of neck pain on the left side
Here are some less common but more severe medical conditions linked to neck pain on the left side.
- Congenital disabilities
- Spinal tumors
- Rheumatoid arthritis
When to see a doctor
If your neck pain is mild, there’s nothing to worry about. But if the pain is continuous and excruciating, accompanied by another symptom, such as fever, vomiting, or reduced balance, visit your doctor as soon as you can.
Treatment of neck pain on the left side
Most treatment of neck pain depends on the diagnosis and severity. If the pain is mild, consider taking a hot bath. You can also try doing a neck massage or using a neck pillow, and it will help relax the neck muscles and provide relief.
You can also seek a physiotherapist’s help if your doctor recommends it. They will educate you about better posture and various pain-relieving exercises.
You may need surgery if your neck cords are severely compressed or the bones are fractured. But most minor fractures only need a neck collar for treatment.
If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Northwest Cardiovascular Clinic at (281) 807-5253. We look forward to hearing from you!