There are many structures in the neck which can be a cause of pain in the left side of the neck. Many of those can be muscle pain from a bad posture or something that can be easily treated with rest and some creams/medications. Others can suggest more serious conditions such as spinal stenosis or even a heart attack. The neck is easily injured due to its position, where it can be affected by whiplash or even stressful tension. Since there are numerous structures such as the nerves, seven vertebrae, muscles, lymph nodes and blood vessels, it is important to thoroughly examine the origin of the pain. Here are some of the possible causes.
Possible Causes of the Pain in Left Side of Neck
This condition can be one of many common causes of the pain in left side of the neck. It can be also a consequence of other factors but mostly happens due to bad sleeping position, muscle strain, bad posture, carrying something heavy or overusing the shoulder and the neck area. It is associated with pain, tension, and numbness in the neck area which can be sometimes excruciating and it can limit the neck movement.
As we mentioned above, pain in the left side of the neck can be associated with poor posture. This can be among those who sit for a long time in the office or the children sitting for a long time in school or in front of a computer. This is very common and it can lead to vertebrae damage and pain even while resting.
When the human body goes into acceleration which results in sudden deceleration, the neck can suffer from powerful stopping strength which can trigger a hitch and it can cause neck injury. This mostly happens during a car accident where there is a sudden crash resulting in body fastening and neck injury. It expands from the neck down to the spine and shoulder. The condition can be accompanied with back pain, migraines, dizziness and also a weakness which usually doesn’t last long.
Since there is a small space where all the nerves come through, from the body to the head, there is every possibility for nerve entrapment. It is mostly due to herniated disk in the cervical vertebrae, but it can also be caused by spinal stenosis or even bone spurs. The person can feel numbness from the nerve level down due to lost sensation from innervation.
Herniated disk can protrude from the two disks in between, outside to the spinal cord where it can pinch the nerve. The cushion which stands between two vertebrae can easily bulge if the membrane covering the disc ruptures. This can be very painful, it can limit the movement and also cause tingling sensation and numbness. These symptoms are usually present in the areas of the nerve innervation such as the arm, the shoulder, the chest, etc.
Those who are being very active can overuse the muscles in the neck area or even strain the muscle. There is a “strigers” and “burners” nerve injury among athletes who do wrestling, gymnastics, skiing or cycling. It usually happens when the athlete makes a hard hit with his hands using mostly the shoulder joint. It transfers the pressure to the neck and to the opposite side. At this moment, the person can feel the tingling feeling at the tip of his fingers. The symptoms are burning or stinging sensations going down to the arm and hand.
Spinal stenosis or cervical stenosis is the narrowing of the nerve path such as the bone channel called foramen. It can be congenital, but can also appear due to aging since the bone gets into the degenerative process. Some elderly don’t have these symptoms, while others can feel the tingling sensation and radiating pain coming from the compression of the nerve. This can lead to serious weakness and doctors may opt for surgery if in need of nerve release. The pain and the compression of the nerve cause myelopathy.
Osteoarthritis is, in general, the process of bone and cartilage deterioration. It happens due to aging and it causes the lumps on the bones known as osteophytes or bone spurs, which can take place in the spinal cord and these bone extensions can cause compression on a nerve. Depending on the level of the compression, this can cause pain, numbness and tingling sensation and can radiate towards shoulder and arm.
This is a muscle disorder which causes musculoskeletal pain widespread across the body. It causes pain, fatigue, memory and sleep problems and also mood changes. It can be caused by trauma, surgery, stress, infection. Along with this pain, it can be present at the level of the neck and radiate towards the back. Some people have depressions which can further aggravate the condition.
Other Possible Conditions
Other possible causes that can lead to pain in left side of neck are:
- Diffuse idiopathic skeletal hyperostosis
- Heart attack
- Tumors of the spinal cord
- Infection of the bones
- Abscess inside the throat
- Swollen lymph node
- Cancer in the area of the neck
- Infection of the epiglottis.
How to Treat the Pain?
There are few home remedies which you can try at home to relieve the pain.
This is a system which can be administered when some minor injuries happen. This includes four step process which means Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation. As the acronyms say, you should not move your neck and spare it from sudden movements and try to lay in bed and relax. Ice is good since it can calm the inflammation and numb the pain. Compression will keep your injured part immobilized and help with recovery, while elevation will stop the excessive flow of the blood and prevent swelling.
When to Seek Medical Attention?
If your neck is in pain for a long time and the home remedy doesn’t help, you should consider going to the doctor’s office. Some symptoms can indicate more serious conditions such as:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Trouble with breathing or swallowing
- Paralysis or weakness in the arm or legs
- Problems with controlling the bladder or bowel movement
- Numbness and tingling sensation
- Bulge in the neck area
- A headache with weakness.