What causes pain on the left side of the neck? Is it a serious situation? When should you see a doctor? How does it go? What’s good? You can find the answers to all these questions and much more below.
Pain on the left side of the neck: General information
Pain on the left side of the neck can be due to many reasons, from muscle tension to nerve compression. Many of the causes of pain in the left side of the neck are not serious and will get better after a while with measures you can take on your own. Sometimes, the cause may be a little more serious, especially when your pain does not go away or gets worse. If neck pain does not go away even after a week, is severe, and occurred after a recent accident, you should take your pain seriously.
Pain on the left side of the neck: Common causes
Inflammation is your body’s defensive response to injury or any infection. If you have inflammation in your neck, you may have other symptoms such as pain, stiffness, numbness, and so on. Pain and other symptoms caused by inflammation are usually treated with a variety of anti-inflammatory drugs. You can buy and use these drugs by consulting your doctor or pharmacist.
2. Muscle tension
Muscle tension can cause pain in various parts of your body, including pain on the left side of the neck. Spending long periods of time at the computer or desk with your head bowed is the most common cause of muscle tension. If you have muscle tension, you can find relief by resting your neck, wrapping your neck, and applying an ice pack to the aching area of your neck.
3. Nerve compression
Nerve entrapment in the neck is a condition that occurs when nerves in the neck become irritated or pinched for a variety of reasons. If you have nerve compression on the left side of your neck, you may feel pain and numbness on the left side of the neck . When you go to the doctor for nerve compression, he will probably prescribe you various medications. In addition, your doctor can give various suggestions such as exercise advice to relieve nerve compression in the neck.
You can injure your neck when your head goes back and forth forcefully for various reasons, this is called a whiplash. This could be due to a football, vehicle accident, exposure to violence, and the like. When exposed to such a thing, you may feel pain in various parts of the neck and on the left side of the neck. Other symptoms of whiplash include headache and neck stiffness.
To treat whiplash, your doctor may prescribe various pain medications. For more serious injuries, your doctor will prescribe stronger pain relievers. In addition to medication, applying an ice pack to the aching area of the neck and keeping your neck still may help relieve pain. You can also get various recommendations from your doctor to keep your neck stable.
5. Acute torticollis
Acute torticollis is a condition in which the muscles in the neck suddenly contract and bend the neck to one side. It can be caused by incorrect sleeping positions (such as sleeping without a pillow) or being exposed to the cold for a long time. Acute torticollis usually occurs on one side of the neck. If the left side of your neck is affected, it is possible to have pain on the left side of the neck. If you have acute torticollis, stretching exercises and massage will relieve your pain. Applying a hot water bag to the aching area will also work.
Pain on the left side of the neck: Less common causes
1. Neck fractures
Fractures in the neck region are more critical than other fractures that may occur in other parts of the body. Because your neck region is a crossroads where important pathways that provide communication between your brain and your body intersect. Neck fractures are usually caused by traumatic causes such as falling from a height, violence and traffic accidents. A neck fracture needs to be treated as soon as possible or it can be fatal.
2. Neck hernia
Another possible cause of pain on the left side of the neck is neck hernia. The causes of neck hernia include a blow to the neck, sitting at a desk for a long time, advancing age and rheumatic diseases. The most common symptoms of neck hernia; pain, numbness, tingling and weakness in the arm. If the neck hernia does not exert serious pressure on the spinal cord and nerve root, it can be treated with methods such as neck brace, neck exercises, drug therapy and physical therapy. More serious neck hernias require surgery.
Meningitis can also cause pain on the left side of the neck . Meningitis is inflammation of the membranes that surround and protect the brain and spinal cord. Some bacteria that cause meningitis can also cause septicemia (blood poisoning). Along with neck pain, meningitis can also cause neck stiffness and headache. The most common cause of meningitis is viral or bacterial infections. Untreated meningitis can cause a variety of brain-related problems, so early treatment is very important.
4. Rheumatoid arthritis
Another name for rheumatoid arthritis is the condition known as rheumatoid arthritis. If you have rheumatoid arthritis, your immune system may cause inflammation in one or more joints. If you have this condition in one of your neck joints, it is normal to have pain on the left side of the neck. Symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis include , but are not limited to, joint pain , joint swelling, stiffness, fatigue, and sweating. Rheumatoid arthritis is a joint problem that should be treated by your doctor. Possible treatments; various medications, physical therapy , and surgery for more serious conditions.
5. Bone resorption
Osteoporosis , also known as osteoporosis , is a bone disease that can cause bones to weaken and break. If you have osteoporosis in any bone in your neck, you may experience neck pain on the right or left side . The causes of osteoporosis may be long-term use of some drugs, various diseases, advancing age and hereditary predisposition. Treatment of osteoporosis is usually carried out with drugs. However, in addition to medication, an active lifestyle, exercise and a balanced diet are other factors that support the treatment.
Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition that can cause tenderness in the affected area, pain in the bones and muscles, a feeling of fatigue and sleep disorders. The exact cause of fibromyalgia is unknown, but hereditary tendencies, in particular, seem to play an important role. The treatment of fibromyalgia is quite difficult and complex. Still, a variety of medications, therapy, and healthy lifestyle changes make it possible to live a normal life.
7. Spinal stenosis
Spinal stenosis is the calcification of the bone and connective tissues around the spinal cord and as a result, pressure on the spinal cord and nerves. Spinal stenosis is another cause of pain on the left side of the neck . If you have spinal stenosis, you may experience back pain , numbness, loss of strength in the legs and difficulty standing upright, in addition to pain in the neck. The treatment of spinal stenosis is surgery. Any method other than surgery is not sufficient to treat spinal stenosis.
8. Heart attack
In some cases, any pain in the neck area can be a sign of a heart attack. Other common symptoms of a heart attack include right or left arm pain , chest pain , back pain, and shortness of breath. Especially in women, a heart attack can cause pain in areas other than the chest. For these reasons, if you are a woman and you have pain on the left side of the neck along with other heart attack symptoms, you need to take your situation seriously.
Pain on the left side of the neck: rare causes
1. Spinal tumors
Spinal tumors are growths that form in the spinal canal and bones of the spine. Spinal tumors can be benign or malignant (cancerous) and cause pain in the area where the tumor is located. Another common symptom of a spinal tumor is muscle weakness. Spinal tumors should be treated as soon as possible. Untreated spinal tumors tend to get worse.
2. Congenital abnormalities
Pain on the left side of the neck may also be related to congenital health problems. Some congenital problems can cause various problems such as aches and pains. A common congenital abnormality that can cause neck pain is neck curvature. Neck curvature is when the neck is injured and curved during birth.
Pain on the left side of the neck: Check with the doctor
If pain on the left side of your neck persists for more than a week and does not go away despite the precautions you take, your pain should be evaluated by a doctor. If you start to feel pain in your arms or legs , or if you feel numbness or tingling in your neck , you should see a doctor as soon as possible. Neck pain accompanied by headache should also be evaluated urgently. Even if neck pain is the result of an obvious event, such as a car accident, fall, or sports injury, you should seek immediate medical attention.
Which doctor should I go to for neck pain?
The doctor you should go to for neck pain is your family doctor or an orthopedic or neurologist . An orthopedist is a doctor who specializes in musculoskeletal conditions, including those affecting the spine. A neurologist is a doctor who specializes in diseases of the brain and nerves.
It is recommended that you see your family doctor in the following situations:
- If you have no other symptoms other than neck pain
- You have not experienced a specific accident or injury that triggered the pain
It is recommended that you see an orthopedic specialist in the following situations:
- If you hear different sounds in your neck bones
- If the pain does not go away or comes back after applying heat and ice
- If the pain occurred as a result of any weight lifting
It is recommended that you see a neurologist in the following situations:
- If you feel tingling in any part of your body
- if you have been exposed to anything that could be toxic
- if you are tired
- If you have a pitch in your head
- If your family doctor or orthopedist has not found the cause of the pain
Pain on the left side of the neck: Diagnosis
When you go to a doctor about pain on the left side of your neck, the physical exam will come first. Your doctor will check your range of motion and certain areas that cause tenderness, swelling, numbness, weakness, and pain. Your doctor will also review your medical history and consider other symptoms.
Your doctor may also need tests such as:
- computed tomography
Pain on the left side of the neck: Treatment
The right treatment for your neck pain depends on your condition, the severity of the pain, and your overall health. For mild neck pain, you can apply a hot water bottle for 20 minutes at a time or try a hot shower for the first two to three days. Then, putting an ice pack for 10 to 20 minutes several times a day will also help your pain.
Things that are good for neck pain
A few simple remedies for neck pain include:
- doing stretching exercises
- getting a massage
- Using a neck pillow
- correct your posture
- sitting upright at a desk
- Avoiding putting weight on one shoulder
You may be advised to undergo physical therapy to relieve your pain . If you receive physical therapy, you will learn about exercises, posture changes, and other adjustments you can make to feel better and prevent future problems.
If you have pain on the left side of the neck, you may also need a procedure to relieve it or correct a problem in your neck. Depending on the source of the pain, your doctor may inject corticosteroid medications into the nerve roots, muscles, or between the bones of your vertebrae on the left side of your neck to relieve pain and reduce inflammation.
Surgery may be needed if your spinal cord or nerve roots are compressed, or if you have a fracture that needs repair. Sometimes, wearing a neck brace is enough to keep the neck vertebrae stable while it heals without surgery.
As a result
Pain on the left side of the neck is a common ailment and often has no serious cause. This type of pain is most common in middle-aged people. Most neck pains that occur due to muscle tension and similar simple reasons will go away on their own after a few days of rest. However, if your pain does not go away despite rest and precautions, you should seek medical evaluation.