Pain in the left side could be caused by a wide variety of things including disease, injury or simple overexertion.
The cause of this kind of pain is dependent on many factors including where in the left side of the body the pain is and what type of pain it is.
Symptoms: By that we mean what is the intensity level of the pain? Is it dull pain or sharp pain? Is it chronic or acute? What other symptoms accompany the pain?
We will look at organs, muscles, ligaments and bones. Let’s start with where the pain is located.
Let’s look at left side pain that is located in the chest. One immediately thinks heart attack and that is not a bad thing to think. It just might save your life. On the other hand every time you have this type of pain it is not caused by a heart problem.
There is a condition called Precordial Catch Syndrome that causes sharp pain under the rib and often makes one think they are having a heart attack. Particularly because of the pain when attempting to breathe deeply. But this is really a muscle spasm and no cause for alarm at all.
On the other hand if you have shortness of breath, nausea, extreme fatigue, sweating, and pain in you left arm or jaw then you should get to an emergency room as soon as possible as these are all classic signs of a heart attack or Angina. Angina is a symptom of coronary artery disease or in simple terms “heart disease”.
You will want to check it out right away. Angina does not mean you had a heart attack but it certainly means you could have one.
Another area that might cause pain in left side is the upper and lower back area. Again this type of pain can come from an injury or a disease. The most common cause of sharp pain in left side or any area of the back is a disc problem. A disc problem can come from an injury of course.
This might cause a pinched nerve which is the real source of the pain, but the herniated or ruptured disc is the primary cause and must be fixed to alleviate the pain. There are many ways to deal with an injury to the back and they run the gamut from total bed rest as the least invasive to spinal surgery at the most invasive.
With the diseases that can cause severe pain in this area the most common is degenerative disc disease and the next most common would be the many forms of arthritis. Many people have both DDD and a form of arthritis. This causes the person to have chronic severe pain. Treatment is inconsistent in its results at best.
Another area where this pain can show up is in the abdominal region. There are several causes for this kind of pain some serious some not. Many of these causes are listed below. One of the most painful and chronic causes is Chron’s Disease, which is an inflammatory bowel disease.
Some of the more serious causes of this pain would be bladder cancer, colon cancer and pancreatic cancer. These diseases all have the potential to be fatal even though they may not be nearly as painful as Chron’s Disease.
Left side abdominal pain occurs more often in women and young adults but since it can be so serious no one should take it lightly. For women the cause could be an ectopic pregnancy. For all others it could be a very serious case of diverticulitis and you should see a doctor as soon as possible.
Diverticulitis is an inflammation in the colon that occurs when polyps in the colon become little pockets that undigested food can become trapped in and deteriorates. This causes infection and inflammation and must be treated with rest and antibiotics.
The internal organs that can cause this kind of localized back pain include the kidney, the colon, the stomach, and the gall bladder. One could have kidney stones that could cause severe pain. There are many diseases of the colon that can cause this, including diverticulitis and ulcerative colitis, not to mention colon cancer.
Speaking of cancer, there are several other forms that can cause pain in left side. They would include kidney disease and kidney cancer, bladder cancer, stomach cancer and pancreatic cancer. Each of these cancers has varying degrees of mortality.
The worst of them is pancreatic cancer which is almost always fatal. If caught early colon, stomach and bladder cancer have pretty good survival rates. Kidney disease and kidney cancer can have serious complications and result in dialysis or death.
The other offender in causing left side pain in the lower area of the back is the gallbladder. The gallbladder stores bile that is produced by the liver and this helps the body with food digestion. Problems with your gallbladder are fairly common in industrialized societies. The refined and processed food eaten in these cultures takes a heavy toll on the gallbladder. Recent studies show that over a million Americans have gallstones annually.You can have gall stones or a diseased gallbladder and the result is almost always the same. Remove the gallbladder and you remove the pain.
Head & Neck Pain
If the pain is located in the neck and head it can have some very serious consequences or it can be a simple muscle pull or pinched nerve. The serious causes of this kind of pain in the head might be an aneurysm or a potential stroke. You might also be dealing with an inflammation of the carotid artery.
This is usually not a life threatening condition although it is very painful and can be quite scary to the person afflicted with it. Normally NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) or steroids will take care of it.
So you can see that though there are many causes for pain in left side, they are not all created equal.