How Do You Relieve Left Neck Pain?

Neck pain can be uncomfortable and debilitating. If the pain is concentrated on the left side of your neck, there are several potential causes and treatments you can try for relief. Here are some of the most effective ways to alleviate left neck pain.

Apply Heat

One of the simplest ways to ease neck pain is through heat therapy. The increased warmth helps relax tight muscles and improve blood flow. Try taking a warm shower or bath and directing the water onto your sore neck. You can also use a heating pad, hot water bottle, or warm compress on the affected area for 10-15 minutes a few times a day. Just be careful not to burn yourself. The moist heat from a damp towel heated in the microwave can be especially soothing.

Use Cold Therapy

While heat works to loosen muscles, cold can numb pain and reduce inflammation. Wrap some ice cubes or a bag of frozen vegetables in a thin towel and apply it to your left neck for 10-20 minutes. You can repeat this every few hours as needed. Don’t apply ice directly on the skin as it may damage skin tissue. Remember to take breaks between icing sessions and limit cold therapy to the first 48 hours after pain onset to avoid tissue damage.

Over-the-Counter Medication

For temporary pain relief, over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen (Advil) or naproxen (Aleve) can help reduce swelling and discomfort associated with neck pain. Follow dosage instructions carefully and limit use to one week maximum unless directed by your doctor. Acetaminophen (Tylenol) may also help take the edge off mild to moderate neck pain.

Improve Posture

Poor posture resulting in a forward head position is a common source of neck strain. Try to maintain proper upright posture as much as possible, especially when sitting at a desk or looking at your phone and computer. Hold your phone up at eye level versus bending your neck down. Avoid hunching over tasks. Use a small pillow or lumbar support for your lower back when sitting.

Gently Stretch and Strengthen

Limbering up tight neck muscles through gentle stretching and exercises can bring relief. Slowly turn your head from side to side and tilt ear to shoulder. Chin tucks pull your chin back mimicking a double chin. Shoulder rolls loosen up the upper back and neck. Start with a few repetitions at a time. Try using yoga poses like child’s pose to gently stretch the neck. Isometric exercises like shoulder shrugs strengthen neck muscles. Building strength helps support the neck and prevents future injury.

Massage Therapy

Hands-on techniques applied by a registered massage therapist may be effective for easing muscle tension, spasms, or knotted trigger points in the neck. Massage improves circulation and range of motion. For left neck pain, focus massages on that specific side. When done correctly, massage does not need to be painful to work. Communicate with your massage therapist about pressure.

Chiropractic Adjustments

If neck pain results from musculoskeletal problems like disk issues or misalignment in the spine, chiropractic spinal manipulation and mobilization can help put things back in proper position. A chiropractor performs controlled movements on the joints and muscles to improve mobility and function. Although neck adjustments can be uncomfortable at first, many patients experience notable relief of pain and tightness.

Acupuncture

In this traditional Chinese medicine practice, a practitioner inserts very thin sterile needles at specific pressure points in the body to restore proper energy flow and reduce pain. Evidence suggests acupuncture may be beneficial for chronic neck pain when combined with other treatments. The needles produce minimal discomfort. Make sure to use an experience, licensed acupuncturist.

Lifestyle Changes

Certain everyday habits can worsen neck tension and pain. Try limiting activities that involve poor neck positioning like cradling the phone, hunching over work, or staring down at devices. Adjust workstations to promote better posture. Take frequent breaks. Improve sleep quality and use an appropriate pillow that keeps your neck aligned. Stay hydrated and limit alcohol and caffeine. Maintaining a healthy weight also reduces strain on the neck.