Left Side Neck Pain
Pain on the left side of the neck usually results from benign causes, such as muscle strain from sleeping in an awkward position or inflammation. Sometimes, there may be a more serious cause, for instance, a tumor or arthritis. The neck contains the cervical spinal cord, muscles, and major blood vessels that supply the entire body.
It is often exposed, which increases the risk of injury to its internal structures. Many people experience temporary neck pain due to a variety of everyday activities and tasks. However, neck pain also ranks among the top five most common chronic pain conditions, However, severe or persistent left side neck pain may indicate a more serious underlying medical condition.
This article discusses some causes of pain on the left side of the neck, when to see a doctor, and some treatment options. Numerous factors can lead to neck pain on the left side, including:
Why does the front of my neck hurt on the left side of my windpipe?
Pain in your neck to the side of your windpipe could be a sign of many minor conditions such as a sore throat, swollen lymph nodes or muscle strains such as whiplash or from bending over and staring at your phone too long. Rarely, pain in the front of your neck beside the windpipe can be a sign of a heart attack.
Does your neck hurt before a stroke?
Headlines about a woman who suffered a stroke after getting her hair shampooed at a salon may have sounded like a crazy story right out of a tabloid, but it’s actually possible. “This type of stroke is rare, we don’t know exactly what causes it, but we think it’s either the hyperextension of the neck, whiplash-type movement during the shampoo or a combination of both,” said Geisinger vascular neurologist Ramin Zand, MD.
- It’s believed that the extreme positioning of the neck, trauma, or rigorous neck movements can cause arteries in the neck to get cut or torn – a condition called cerebral artery dissection.
- If a cervical artery in the neck becomes damaged, it can cause a dissection, which is damage to the inside of a blood vessel,” Dr.
Zand explained. “This can cause abnormal blood flow and clotting – those clots can block the artery or broken off and flow north to the brain and cause a stroke.” This type of rare injury leading to stroke isn’t just limited to the hair salon. “Extreme head and neck motions pose a risk of wounding the cerebral arteries and thus, producing clots, swelling and constriction, which can cause serious damage in the brain,” Dr.
Zand said. “This type of injury and subsequent stroke has also been caused by certain yoga poses.” Although yoga, like salon shampoos, is considered a safe activity, poses such as shoulder stands, headstands, side angle pose, triangle pose, and plow pose are specifically highlighted as poses that could lead to injury in the arteries in the neck – they can result in sudden neck movements or put extreme pressure on the neck.
Other than neck positioning and jarring head and neck movements, underlying atherosclerosis or uncontrolled hypertension may increase your risk of this type of injury. “Atherosclerosis, which is the hardening of arteries, may put you at a greater risk of iatrogenic cerebral artery injury because you’re more vulnerable to compressing arteries when you hyperextend your neck,” Dr.
Zand said. Additionally, cerebral artery injury may also be caused by whiplash injuries, chiropractic manipulation, or even hard coughs or sneezes. “This potential injury doesn’t mean you should avoid getting your hair shampooed at a salon or stop practicing yoga,” Dr. Zand said. “It’s a very rare injury, but it’s something to be aware of and just another reason it’s so important to know the warning signs of a stroke.” The most common symptom on presentation is headache and neck pain (in about half of the patient), followed by signs of stroke.
The warning signs of a stroke include:
Numbness or weakness in your face, arm or leg, especially limited to one side Trouble speaking or slurred speech Confusion or trouble understanding others Difficulty seeing with one or both eyes Dizziness Trouble walking or staying balanced or coordinated Severe headache that comes on for no reason
If you’re worried about this injury the next time you go to the salon, cushioned salon sinks that sit a little higher will keep your neck in a safer position. “If you feel uncomfortable or have a hard time swallowing while getting your hair washed or practicing yoga, your neck may be too extended,” Dr.
What does pain on the left side indicate?
While left side pain is often a sign of gas, it can also be a sign of a more serious condition, such as diverticulitis, appendicitis, or stomach ulcers that would require urgent medical attention. To tell the difference and determine if you need to seek emergency care, pay attention to other symptoms you may be experiencing.
- Pain in the lower left abdomen accompanied by symptoms such as belching, bloating, or a hard abdomen is typically indicative of indigestion.
- However, if you’re experiencing upper or lower left side pain coupled with a high fever, nausea, vomiting, or severe stomach pain, seek emergency care to rule out any of the serious conditions listed above.
What does pain on the left side indicate? Here are some other common causes of abdominal pain on the left side of your body.
What does a pinched nerve in the neck feel like?
This causes symptoms such as sharp pain in your neck, shoulder, arm, hand, or back. You may also have tingling or numbness. Sometimes it makes your arm weaker. The symptoms may get worse when you turn your head, cough, or sneeze.
Is neck tumor pain constant?
Neck pain is a common discomfort. While many of its causes are treatable, pain that increases in severity and duration may lead you to wonder if it’s a symptom of cancer. According to the National Cancer Institute, cancers of the head and neck account for approximately 4 percent of cancer diagnoses in the United States.
- They’re also more than twice as common in men and more often diagnosed in those over age 50.
- Though most instances of neck pain aren’t caused by cancer, it’s important to identify the symptoms of neck cancer to find out if you should see a medical professional who can provide a proper diagnosis.
- Sometimes persistent, continuing neck pain is a warning sign of head or neck cancer.
Although it could also be a sign of another less serious condition, head and neck cancers might include a lump, swelling or a sore that doesn’t heal. According to the American Society of Clinical Oncology, this is the most common symptom of cancer. Other symptoms of neck or head cancer may include:
white or red patch on the lining of the mouth, gums, or tongueunusual pain or bleeding in the mouthdifficulty chewing or swallowing unexplained bad breath throat or facial pain that doesn’t go away frequent headaches numbness in the head and neck regionswelling in the chin or jaw pain when moving the jaw or tongue difficulty speaking change in voice or hoarseness ear pain or ringing in the ears difficulty breathing persistent nasal congestion frequent nosebleeds unusual nasal dischargepain in the upper teeth
Each of these symptoms can also be underlying causes of other conditions, so you shouldn’t immediately expect cancer if you experience them. If symptoms persist or increase in intensity, see your doctor, who can perform the proper tests to identify any underlying medical conditions.
poor oral hygiene exposure to asbestosexposure to radiation
Most head and neck cancers occur in the:
oral cavitysalivary glandslarynxpharynxnasal cavity and paranasal sinuses
There are numerous other medical conditions unrelated to cancer that cause pain in your neck, such as:
Strained muscles. Overuse, poor posture at work, or an awkward sleeping position can strain your neck muscles and cause discomfort. Cervical spondylitis. When the spinal disks in your neck experience wear and tear, which generally occurs as you age, you may experience pain or stiffness in your neck. Herniated discs. When the soft interior of a spinal disk protrudes through a tear in the tougher exterior, it’s called a slipped disc,
Other common causes of neck pain include:
injuries, such as whiplash bone spurs in neck vertebraediseases such as meningitis or rheumatoid arthritis
Though pain in your neck can be a symptom of certain types of head or neck cancer, many causes may be symptoms of noncancerous medical conditions. If your pain persists or you notice unusual symptoms, visit your doctor. They’ll evaluate your medical history and perform diagnostic tests to properly assess your symptoms and any potential medical conditions.