American Family Care: Urgent Care & Walk-In Clinic
Home » Blog » Pain in the Side of the Neck on Left: When to See a Doctor

Pain in the Side of the Neck on Left: When to See a Doctor

Are you experiencing pain in your neck? Particularly on the left side? You are not alone. Severe neck pain on the left side is a common condition. In fact, it ranks as one of the top five pains people complain about to physicians.

When this condition occurs, it can lead to endless and sleepless nights. Most of the time, severe neck pain on the left side is the result of physical exertion or sleeping in an uncomfortable position. Improper posture, when seated for long periods, is also a common cause. However, if your pain persists for a long time, you may be suffering from something more serious. Here are some of the neck pain red flags.



Whiplash happens when the neck and head are suddenly forced backward and then forward, much like the motion of a whip. It is commonly caused by rear-end motor vehicle accidents. Whiplash can also be caused by contact sports, physical abuse, or other types of trauma such as a bad fall.

This type of injury puts your neck through extreme stress and can cause chronic pain if left untreated. It is not uncommon for some people to continue having whiplash-related pain several years after the original cause. 


Pinched Nerve 

Severe pain on the left side of the neck may also be caused by a pinched nerve. This condition can also cause numbness, tingling, and muscle weakness in the left shoulder. A pinched nerve occurs when too much pressure is applied to a nerve by surrounding tissues, cartilage, muscles, or tendons.



Inflammation caused by viruses, bacteria, or fungus can also contribute to severe neck pain on the left side. Having a stiff neck in addition to flu-like symptoms could be a key clue that meningitis is the problem. If it remains untreated, it will lead to seizures and brain swelling, and, in rare cases, death. 


Degenerative Disc Disease

There are discs in our spines that act as cushions between our spinal vertebrae. Degeneration of these discs can cause pain in the side of your neck and can occur naturally over time or due to an injury. If you have pain in the left side of your neck that gets worse when sitting, twisting, or bending and extends through to your arms, you may be suffering from degenerative disc disease.


Cervical Fracture

While rare, a cervical fracture can also be a cause of pain in the left side of the neck. This is a very painful and serious injury that can impact the nerves in your spinal cord, causing tingling in the hands and feet, and at worst — paralysis. A cervical fracture can happen from any number of things, including a fall, a car accident, or playing sports.  


Seeking Help for Neck Pain on the Left Side

If you are experiencing constant and severe pain on the left side of your neck, you should seek proper diagnosis and treatment immediately. In certain cases, undiagnosed or untreated neck pain can lead to a permanent disability. 

American Family Care (AFC) has a team of medical experts on staff who can evaluate your neck pain and conduct any tests to determine the cause. Unlike most primary care offices, at AFC, you don’t have to wait weeks to be seen by a doctor who can help alleviate your neck pain. We offer extended hours on the weekdays, and we are open on the weekends. We also take walk-ins. 


To find an AFC location nearest you, click here and get started on feeling better today.  


American Family Care footer design


3700 Cahaba Beach Road Birmingham, AL 35242

Our Mission and Values:

Our mission is to provide the best healthcare possible in a kind and caring environment, in an economical manner, while respecting the rights of all of our patients, at times and locations convenient to the patient.

Scroll to Top