What Causes Your Left Side Of Throat To Hurt?

Pain in the throat can be severe and usually gets worse when swallowing. The pain can affect one side of the throat, or both sides of the throat. Sometimes the pain from the throat also irradiates to the ear. This occurs due to the fact that nerves to the back of the throat are very close to the nerves from the ear. Pain in one side of the throat usually occurs due to inflammation of the tonsils, enlarged lymph nodes and lymphatic tissue.


What causes pain on the left side of the throat?

Most common causes of unilateral throat pain include:

Tonsillitis – is an inflammation of the tonsils. Tonsils are located on each side of the throat, at the back and they help our body fight infections. Usually tonsillitis is caused by viral infections, even though it could be caused also by bacterial infections. Signs and symptoms of tonsillitis include: sore throat, swollen tonsils, difficulty swallowing, tender lymph nodes on the sides of the neck, fatigue, fever, etc. Tonsillitis usually affects young children between preschool and teenagers, however tonsillitis can affect anyone. Treatment usually requires antibiotics for bacterial infections. Bed rest and plenty of fluids, especially for viral infections are recommended.

Peritonsillar abscess – is usually a complication of tonsillitis. Peritonsillar abscess is characterized by accumulation of pus near the tonsils. The peritonsillar abscess is mostly caused by a bacterial infection and the signs and symptoms at the beginning are very similar to the signs and symptoms of tonsillitis or strep throat. It is very important to diagnose and treat a peritonsiallar abscess as soon as possible, in order to prevent further possible complications. Peritonsillar abscess is more common among young children and teenagers, however it can affect anyone. As a complication of tonsillitis, the infection spreads outside of the tonsils to the surrounding area, causing the formation of an abscess filled with puss. The signs and symptoms of peritonsillar abscess include: sore throat, difficulty swallowing, fevers, chills, headache, muffled voice, swollen lymph glands in the throat, swelling of the neck, bad breath, etc. Treatment includes antibiotics, but also very often a surgical drainage of the peritonsillar abscess is required.

Swollen lymph glands and lymph nodes – occur due to an infection in your body. Lymph glands and lymph nodes help your body fight an infection. Tender and swollen lymph nodes on the neck can occur only in one side of the neck, while in many cases they affect both sides of the neck. Treatment consists of bed rest, plenty of fluids during the day, OTC pain relievers and even applying of warm and wet clothes over the affected area.

Strep throat – is a bacterial infection of the throat caused by Streptococcus pyogenes, also known as group A streptococcus. They are highly contagious and can spread through airborne droplets while sneezing or coughing. It can also be spread through shared food or drinks. If left untreated it can cause serious complications like rheumatic fever, inflammation of the kidneys, etc. Signs and symptoms of strep throat include: sore throat, pain in the throat, fever, chills, headache, swollen and tender lymph nodes on the neck, swollen tonsils, difficulties swallowing, etc. Antibiotics like penicillin and amoxicillin are usually recommended.

Vocal nodules – are thickenings that form on the vocal cords. These vocal nodules are caused due to repeated trauma of the vocal cords. Vocal trauma consists of using your voice too loud, too much or even incorrectly. The signs and symptoms of vocal nodules include: throat pain, neck pain, tightness, vocal fatigue, hoarseness in your speaking voice, decreased tone vibrancy, etc. Treatment is more effective when the vocal nodules are diagnosed early. Treatment usually consists on avoiding talk for several weeks and in more severe cases, surgical removal of these vocal nodules is recommended.

Dental causes – pain in the throat due to dental problems is very common. Regardless of what the dental issue is, the pain is usually located on the affected side of the throat. However, sometimes it can affect both sides of the throat. Treatment is not required in cases when there is throat pain due to dental work. However, if any other problem related to your teeth causes unilateral throat pain, you should visit your dentist.


  1. I recently got over bronchitis, and I still have the dry cough. I had been on anti-biotics that finished a couple days ago and since the lung congestion cleared up a throat ache has developed. It is on the left side only and I feel it when I swallow or yawn widely. Is this still a lingering effect of the bronchitis?

    • Continue to monitor your experiences at this time. If your symptoms improve, then take note of those experiences. If they get worse, then you may want to speak with a medical professional. If you determine that you want to make an appointment, then do so at that time. For now, reduce stress in your life. Have a great day, Pamela!

  2. Left side of throat hurts every time i swallow saliva not when i eat though? Or when i push down on the area on my neck it hurts the most? Should i be worried but going on for a week?

    • Continue to monitor your experiences for additional symptoms. Drink plenty of water at this time. If you find that your experiences are better in three days, then continue to monitor your throat. If things are worse, then you may want to speak with a medical professional. Best of luck, Jess!

  3. Maybe someone can help soo.. I though I had slept on the left side of my neck wrong last night cause it hurt when I woke up this morning the pain started from behind my left ear down my neck well it’s now later in the day and my neck still hurts even to touch and my inner ear is throbbing and when I swallow or open my mouth my ear is killing me and left side of my throat hurts!!! Not sure what it is any help would be great!!!

    • The way that you left may have strained your muscles. It is also possible that it is caused by something else. Continue to monitor the symptoms that you are having at this time. If you find that your symptoms decrease, then you are likely without further problems. If they continue, then make an appointment with a medical professional. Have a great day, Amanda!

  4. For me it’s my left side of my throat that’s really sore. When i look in my mouth using a flashlight (LOL I knoe) both sides of my throat, both glands are very swollen and have some white dots on them.
    Ibhavent had any other symptoms like fevering and stuff so I am positive I don’t have strep throat but I’m not sure what it could be if it’s not steep ? :/

    • You should make an appointment with a medical professional at this time. White spots are a common sign of infection. Take notes of your symptoms so you can better answer the questions that your doctor will ask. If your appointment is more than a few days out, then visit an emergency room. Best of luck, Marisa!

  5. The left side of my neck hurts but no pain swallowing, yawn or any of that. Sometimes turning to the left will cause a pain so bad I can’t move or even speak until it passes. It only last for about 10 seconds then it is fine. Just tender to the touch all the time.

    • This will likely disappear on its own. This happens to many people. If you find that the pain increases or becomes troublesome when you swallow or breath, then speak with a medical professional. If the pain continues for about a week, then make an appointment. Best of luck, Crystal!

  6. My left side of my throat been hurting for a couple of days now and it’s starting to make my ear hurt as well. It hurts when I stick out my tongue and swallow. Also the left side of my tongue is red and hurts as well. I could also fill my mouth filling up with saliva (more than usual)when it’s close. Could this be an infection?

    • It probably is an infection of some type. You should go to your doctor to be checked out and get treated. If it is a bacterial infection, your doctor can prescribe medication to make the problem go away. Good luck, Nikki!

  7. Mine is close enough to my mouth that I can feel it. It hurts when I swallow. It is on the left side right next to my uvula. It just started today. Should I be concerned?

    • You might want to go to the doctor if you experience any other symptoms or it does not clear up. It is probably some type of infection. Some infections will go away on their own, but others require treatment, so keep an eye on it.

  8. When I swallow it feels as tho I’m swallowing a needle or something sharp. It only hurts on the left side of my throat. Should I be worried?

    • Continue to monitor your symptoms. This will likely go away within a few days. If it does not disappear within a week, then speak with a medical professional. Drink plenty of fluids and eat foods that are easily chewed. Best of luck, Denise!

  9. i cant find what im looking for this morning my throat hurt on both sides like someone in pinching and poking me and its hurting my ears with sharp pains, but now it hurts like something is stack between both sides of my throght and my ears feel like they have an infection

    • You will want to speak with a medical professional at this time. Either visit a clinic or make an appointment. Continue to monitor the experiences that you are having at this time. This will help you better answer the questions that your doctor will ask. Best of luck, Elizabeth!

  10. On my right side of my throat it hurts when I swallow and open my mouth it is also red and it’s starting to hurt when I talk, what do I Do?

    • Reduce stress on your throat at this time. You may want to drink some tea and honey. Monitor the experiences that you are having. If your symptoms continue for a couple of days or become painful, then you may want to speak with a medical professional at that time. Best of luck, Charlie!

  11. I m 21 yr old i have LPR on and off past 10 months..i took PPI i felt better but still issue there.
    I have sudden hurt pain in left side of throat and dry pricking feeling inside of thorat. I have severe fear of cancer …i m freaked out i dont wanna die

    • Continue to monitor your experiences. It may be beneficial for you to speak with a medical professional. There are many possible reasons for the experiences that you are having, so it would be best to seek medical attention as soon as you are able to do so. Best of luck, Akash!

  12. The conditions here don’t describe the pain that I’m experiencing. There is a pain on the left side of my throat when I swallow that sometimes radiates to my ears. This has been going on for a week. So far there are no other symptoms I’m experiencing with it.

    • If you have been experiencing sensations that are not listed in the article, then you may want to speak with a medical professional at this time. Make an appointment and continue to monitor your experiences. This will help you better answer your doctor’s questions at your appointment. Best of luck, Agnes!

    • This occasionally occurs and will go away over time. Drink some tea with honey in it. If you do not eat honey, then just use tea. Continue to monitor the experiences that you are having. Speak with a doctor if the feelings become intense or last for two weeks. Have a great day, Caeley!


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