What Does It Mean When The Left Side Of Your Neck Hurts?

Experiencing body pain of any kind can be quite an alarming experience. However, feeling pain or discomfort in the neck can be particularly concerning. But, what does it mean when the left side of your neck hurts?

According to Medical News Today, the majority of neck pain is temporary and usually down to everyday activities. Pain specifically on the left side is also generally down to benign causes, including muscle strains that can be brought on by sleeping awkwardly and inflammation.

As Healthline reported, other common causes of neck discomfort include acute torticollis (which occurs when muscles in the neck suddenly contract), or a pinched nerve, otherwise referred to as cervical radiculopathy (which occurs when nerves in the neck become irritated). Another potential cause of neck pain can be attributed to whiplash, which is brought on by the head being forcefully thrust back and forth, usually during an accident. 

However, there are several less common causes of pain in the neck, some of which could indicate a much more serious problem. 

Here's when you should contact a doctor for your neck pain

Per Healthline, some less common but more serious causes of neck pain include cervical fractures (otherwise known as a broken neck), cervical disc degeneration, a herniated cervical disc (which occurs when the outer layer of a cervical disc is torn), Meningitis (which can sometimes bring on pain or stiffness in the neck), an inflammatory disease known as rheumatoid arthritis, a bone-thinning disease called osteoporosis, and the narrowing of the spinal canal known as spinal stenosis. 

According to Medical News Today, other more serious causes of neck pain include spinal tumors, fibromyalgia, congenital irregularities, and severe injury.

It is advised a person seeks urgent medical attention if their neck pain has been brought on by an obvious injury, such as a fall or car accident. It is also important to see a doctor if the pain in your neck lasts longer than a week and doesn't respond to any kind of treatment, if the pain is accompanied by pain in the arms and legs, a tingling sensation in the neck, or a headache.