Left Side Neck Pain Symptoms

Left-sided neck pain may appear in isolation or can coexist with radiating pain down the left arm or pain in the upper back and shoulder. Similarly, left-sided neck pain that travels up into the jaw and the face may give an insight into the pathology of the pain. Acute and chronic left-sided neck pain can be either a sharp pain or a dull ache, headaches or migraines may occur simultaneously, prior to, or after initial pain onset, and the neck may feel swollen, with tense and tight muscles in the left-side of the neck. In the majority of cases the symptoms of left-sided neck pain are short-lived and occur infrequently with no indication of a more serious underlying problem.

Swallowing and Breathing with Neck Pain

In rare circumstances a patient with left-sided neck pain may have problems swallowing or breathing which can indicate bronchitis, or neurological deficit in the laryngeal nerve possibly caused by cervical nerve compression. If acute neck trauma has occurred then inflammation may be responsible for such symptoms, but patients should not assume that these will dissipate as the swelling goes down. All acute symptoms of left-sided neck pain should be assessed by a qualified doctor, especially in cases where symptoms escalate rapidly. A sharp burning pain in the left-side of the neck may also occur and is frequently caused by acid reflux, particularly in patients who are overweight or who suffer other digestive discomfort, and after heavy meals or with alcohol consumption. Persistent acid reflux can cause damage to the oesophagus and result in neck pain unconnected to specific meal times. Barrett's Oesophagus is a condition where chronic acid damage to the lining of the oesophagus has led to the cells in this area becoming precancerous and patients will require specific treatment and monitoring in such cases.

Left Side Neck Pain Symptoms
Left Side Neck Pain comes with a myriad of symptoms

Left Side Neck Pain from Arthritis

Left-sided neck pain symptoms may also occur with stiff neck, inflammation, a warm feel to the muscles of the neck, and tenderness. These symptoms may indicate an inflammatory condition such as rheumatoid arthritis, or an acute muscular injury incurred during work or recreational activity. Torticollis (wry neck) can also occur as the muscles in the left side of the neck shorten, and this may be present from birth due to a congenital defect. Physical therapy, or surgery to free the tight muscle can alleviate the condition and restore proper spinal alignment. Disc herniation or bulging that has compromised one side of the disc can also lead to a loss of intervertebral height on the left-side of the spine causing left-sided neck pain and a slight tilt to the neck in some cases. Nerve compression from resulting cervical spinal stenosis may cause isolated neck pain or radiculopathy in the upper limbs. A frozen shoulder may occur which, over time, pulls the shoulder down away from the neck and can cause stretched and strained ligaments and muscles. Left-sided neck pain due to a frozen shoulder may cause acute sharp neck pain or a chronic dull ache, and the restrictions on movement that occur for many patients means that the muscles become weakened over time and stenosis may occur in the shoulder due to fatty tissue build-up or muscle fibrosis which then compresses the nerves further. Pain maps are useful in identifying the most likely area of nerve compression.

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Last Updated: 04/28/2011