neck pain


Neck is flexible and supports the weight of your head, so it can be vulnerable to injuries and conditions that cause pain and restrict motion. Some causes of pain in neck include:

  • Muscle strains. Overuse, such as too many hours hunched over your computer or smartphone, often triggers muscle strains. Even minor things, such as reading in bed or gritting your teeth, can strain neck muscles.
  • Worn joints. Just like the other joints in your body, your neck joints tend to wear down with age. Osteoarthritis causes the cushions (cartilage) between your bones (vertebrae) to deteriorate. Your body then forms bone spurs that affect joint motion and cause pain.
  • Nerve compression. Herniated disks or bone spurs in the vertebrae of your neck can press on the nerves branching out from the spinal cord.
  • Injuries. Rear-end auto collisions often result in whiplash injury (Acute neck sprain), which occurs when the head is jerked backward and then forward, straining the soft tissues of the neck.
  • Diseases. Certain diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, meningitis or cancer, can cause neck pain.
neck pain


Common causes of left-sided neck pain are:

  • Inflammation. This is the body’s response to injury or infection. It can cause pain, swelling, stiffness, numbness, and other symptoms.
  • Muscle strain. If you spend hours leaning forward at your computer, cradling a phone between your right ear and your shoulder, or otherwise stressing your neck muscles, you can end up with pain on the left side of your neck.
  • Pinched nerve. A pinched nerve (cervical radiculopathy) occurs when a nerve in the neck becomes irritated or squeezed as it branches out from the spinal cord. If it’s on the left side, it may also cause numbness and pain in the left shoulder.
  • Whiplash. You can get whiplash when your head is forcefully thrust back and forth. This can happen from a football tackle, a vehicle accident, or a similar violent incident.
  • Acute torticollis. Acute torticollis occurs when the muscles in your neck suddenly contract, causing your head to twist to one side.