A sharp pain on the left side of the neck may indicate bone or joint abnormalities, poor posture, muscle strain, tumors or degenerative diseases, explains WebMD. An injury to the rotator cuff in the shoulder may also be the cause of the neck pain, according to Cleveland Clinic.
Doctors find the cause of neck pain through X-rays, magnetic resonance imaging, CT scanning and electrodiagnostic studies, according to WebMD. X-rays may reveal issues such as arthritis, tumors, slipped discs, spinal column instability and fractures. Magnetic resonance imaging and CT scanning can reveal neural problems and problems with the ligaments and tendons. Electromyography and nerve conduction velocity can be used to diagnose neck and shoulder pain. The pain is treated depending on the cause. Treatment often includes anti-inflammatory medication, pain relievers and muscle relaxers. Pain caused by arthritic diseases is treated through local corticosteroid injections. Specific exercises may also help. Surgery may be necessary to treat problems in the nerves or spinal cord.
When the rotator cuff experiences an injury, other muscles in the body compensate for it. The overuse of the muscles may cause neck pain. To relieve neck pain from a shoulder problem, Cleveland Clinic suggests resting from strenuous activities, icing the shoulder, performing physical therapy exercises and taking anti-inflammatory medication and cortisone injections.