Why do I have Chronic Neck pain on the Left Side?
Most cases for neck pain on the left side aren’t serious, but there are always some unfortunate exceptions. In this article I will teach you more about neck pain on the left side, particularly on the left side of the neck and help you get a better understanding of the pain you are experiencing in your neck.
Pain on the left side of the neck can be caused by a number of causes, it can be from muscle strains to a pinched nerve. Usually, a sore neck will come from a bad sleeping position or having your neck at a bad angel and holding it there for too long. Holding the neck at an odd position for too long will stress the muscles and tendons on that side of the neck, which could be why you’re feeling pain on the left side, try to recall your habits and find reasons as to how this pain could have developed, keep them in mind throughout this article.
Usually, in most cases, the pain on the left side of the neck will go away within a few days to a few weeks, most of the time by itself or by using some pain relievers you can get over-the-counter along with resting. If this pain is severe or due to an injury, please seek out a doctor right away, especially if this pain lasts longer than a week.
Now, let’s go over some triggers that could be causing this pain in the left side of the neck and how we can deal with this neck pain.
Causes of neck pain on the left side
Here are some usual causes of neck pain on the left side of the neck.
If you find yourself leaning forward a lot to use your phone or computer, being in this hunched over position for too long can easily cause a stain in the neck and cause pain. This is due to stressed muscles in the neck. Also holding a phone between your shoulder and ear for too long is not a good idea either, especially if you have a previous history of neck related issues or pain.
Usually, this kind of pain can be resolved at home by resting and icing the neck. Try using the RICE method.
A pinched nerve becomes very common in people with previous neck injuries such as a herniated disc, but can happen to people with no previous injury too. A pinched nerve will happen when a nerve inside the neck becomes irritated or gets squeezed since it branches out of the spinal cord. If its on the left side of the neck, it can cause numbness or pain in the left shoulder. It can also cause pain, numbness or loss of mobility in the neck too.
I have two articles I will link below for neck stretches and neck exercises when you have a pinched nerve in the neck. Please do the neck stretches first, then the neck exercises, do them gently on the neck and don’t push too hard to avoid further pain or stress in the neck.
I briefly touched on this when talking about pinched nerves in the neck, but I will get into it more now. Herniated discs can be a huge reason for any pain you have on the left side of the neck, I suggest talking to your doctor right away about this to get more information about the pain, especially for your situation.
The reason this pain may happen is the disc could now be pushing on the nerves inside your neck and therefor causing pain and other symptoms to occur. Along with any pain, this condition can cause weakness, numbness, or tingling that can extend all the way down into your arms.
This is an inflammatory disease that affects a large number of Americans. This will damage the lining of the joints and causes extreme pain, stiffness, and numbness, along with muscle weakness. This pain can be in either the left or right side or even in the center of the neck, depending on the joint affected and where it is affected.
A tumor in the spine is rare but can happen. This growth forms inside the spinal canal or bones of the spine. It can be cancerous but not always and can cause a lot of pain on the spot of the tumor. Muscle weakness can be another sign.
I highly recommend making an immediate appointment with the doctor if you feel this could be a possibility of what you’re experiencing and have the doctor’s rule this out with an MRI, CT Scan, X-Ray or another imaging test for your neck.
Treating pain on the left side of the neck
Next, I want to go over some ways you can treat the pain you’re feeling on the left side of the neck and hopefully reduce the pain or completely stop the neck pain. This all depends on your condition, how bad it is, and your overall health.
Usually all you need for minor neck pain is ice for 20 minutes and rest. Using heat pads or hot showers for 20 minutes for the first three days can help too.
If the neck pain on the left side is bad, please consult a doctor right away.
If the neck pain is not as bad, try the following extra methods to help ease the neck pain on the left side of your neck.
I have a whole article on this, but simple neck stretching can vastly help reduce the neck pain on the left side of your neck. Be gentle and go slow with your neck stretching or else you’ll risk hurting yourself more and causing more pain in your neck.
Usually, a good message will relax the muscle in the neck and calm the nerves. Have someone close to you carefully and gently massage the neck or go to a professional for a message. Doing this should help ease the neck pain on the left side and combine this with enough rest to stop it completely.
Sleep with a neck pillow
Neck pillows are designed to help keep your neck in a good position while asleep and can help relieve some pain you’re currently feeling in the neck. Look some of these pillows up online to help you heal any pain you may currently have.
This is an extremely important one. Good posture is highly important for the entire body and not taking care of your posture can lead to many issues, including neck issues, along with other spinal problems. Try to pay attention to your posture when walking, standing and sitting. When on a computer or on the phone for long periods of time, keep in mind your posture and keep your body straight. Good posture and fixing your posture can definitely help in reducing any pain you currently have in the left side of the neck.
A decent temporary relief is medications such as Advil or Tylenol or pain reducing creams, although this is only temporary and should only be used temporarily, if the pain doesn’t go away after doing everything else, consult a doctor to help with this neck pain on the left side right away.
Heating pads are very useful to relax the muscles in your neck and ease the neck pain on the left side. A substitute for this can be a hot bath or shower for at least 20 minutes, which will also ease the neck pain. Keep in mind you should combine this with all the other methods, try to do this almost last, after the stretching of the neck at least.
I have an entire article dedicated to light exercises for the neck, I suggest picking some of these exercises out and trying them to help with the neck pain on the left side. Please do these exercises lightly and be very careful when doing them, so you won’t cause any further damage and have more neck pain on the left side. If the pain is too great, please do not exercise at all and consult a doctor to deal with the pain first. After the pain eases up, do some very light exercises, I will link to the article below.
When you consult a doctor here are a few things they may do to help deal with the pain and hopefully help get rid of it.
This is one of the first things they did for me personally. I really dislike the use of drugs as a solution, this helped a bit, but of course it is only temporary, it doesn’t solve the main issue. What this does is it will relax the muscles in your body, you usually take this when you aren’t doing much physical work or at night to help you sleep with little to no pain in your neck.
Honestly, this is only a first step and you should keep discussing with your doctor for a solution to get rid of the neck pain on the left side permanently without the use of drugs.
Physical therapy will be the next earliest step, usually they will run an MRI, X-Ray or some other type of imaging scan on your neck around the same time as this or more often, before. Physical Therapy usually helps handle the neck pain on the left side and many people get long term relief from this. This is usually the preferred route because it avoids surgery, which should be a last option, depending on your life. If you rely on neck strength and health in your job or sports, surgery may be needed. If the neck pain is too much or the imaging scan shows something very serious, surgery is needed.
Most of the stuff you will do in physical therapy has been posted in the articles on this website for stretches and exercises. I wrote those articles because I wanted to share that knowledge with everyone so they could start them sooner and be prepared if they needed to go into physical therapy.
I will once again link them below.
Usually, the next big step will be surgery. This is the step you’d want to avoid, but if the damage and pain is too great, this will most likely be needed. I highly suggest consulting with multiple doctors to get many opinions on your situation and gather all the information you can, to make the best decision for you. This is why I write these articles, to educate all of you and prepare you for any of these situations. Also, to help with any pain you’re going through.
Like I said, you usually want to avoid surgery at all costs, but sometimes, like in my case, it is needed. If you do sports, like I do, then you may need surgery in order to continue with the sports and deal with the pain you are feeling in your neck.
Hopefully after reading this entire article you have a more clear understanding of neck pain on the left side, the causes of the neck pain in the left side and how to treat that neck pain. Like I’ve said multiple times so far, if the pain is too great or you have concerns, please consult with a doctor first to get their advice for your particular situation. The neck pain situation will vary for person to person and everyone’s experience will vary depending on their health, age, injury and more.
Listen to your body and the pain you’re feeling. If the pain is light, I suggest doing these neck pain exercises and treatments a few times through the day to help with the neck pain. Do them lightly and be very careful so you can prevent worsening the injury and the pain. Start very light and work to reduce the pain or get rid of the pain in your neck as a goal. Once your neck has healed and improved, slowly start implementing some neck pain exercises to help strengthen your neck and prevent any further neck injuries. I will post the links to those articles for neck stretches and neck pain exercises again below.