What Causes Pain in Left Side?

If you’re experiencing pain in left side of your body, the causes can be many. That’s because your left side contains so many vital organs- heart, stomach, and spleen.

It’s important to note exactly what part of the left side of your body is experiencing pain. For example, is it the upper region? Mid region? Lower region?

Determining the location can help you rule out certain diseases while allowing you to get closer to the truth.

In this article, we’re going to talk about some of the reasons why you’re experiencing left-sided pain and what you can do about it.

What Organs Are on the Left Side?

Before we can determine what’s causing left-sided pain, let’s take a look at the primary organs that are located on that side of the body.

This will help you narrow down the causes of your symptoms. The main organs include:

  • Heart: We’re all familiar with the heart. It’s the organ that pumps blood throughout our body and allows our cardiovascular system to function normally. If it stops beating, even for a second, the entire body will begin to shut down.
  • Pancreas: If you’ve never taken an anatomy course, you might not know where the pancreas is or what it does. To put simply, it’s tucked behind the stomach and it releases various chemicals to help break down food.
  • Stomach: This is where food enters to be broken down so that it can later be passed through the rest of the digestive tract. Without a stomach, your body would have no way of breaking down foods, which would be a problem.
  • Spleen: The spleen is associated with the immune system and is located in the left side of your body, above the pancreas. Despite what you may have heard, a weak spleen does not mean that you have a weakened immune system.

These are some of the main organs that you’ll find on the left side of the body.

It helps to know the location and functions of these organs because it may help you figure out the root cause of your symptoms.

Let’s continue this article and determine once and for all what’s causing your pain in left side.

Bottom Line: The main organs on the left side of the body include the stomach, spleen, pancreas, and heart.

Where Exactly is the Pain Located?

First and foremost, you need to determine where on the left side of your body the pain is coming from.

Simply saying that you’ve got pain on the “left side” of your body isn’t going to cut it. You need to be specific. Generally speaking, the pain can be in one (or several) of the following regions:

  • Chest
  • Abdomen
  • Back

In the following sections, we’re going to talk about each of these sections individually.

We’ll not only show you the potential causes for pain in those areas, but we’ll also provide you with some helpful solutions for getting rid of the pain.

Additionally, here’s a chart you can use as a reference:

Bottom Line: Be specific about where the pain is. This will help you make a better diagnosis as to what might be causing it.

Chest Pain in Left Side

When most people think of chest pain, they immediately think of heart attack. While this is definite possibility, it’s not the only one.

In fact, if you’re a younger, healthier person, heart attack should be the last thing on your mind (unless, of course, there are other symptoms present like a numb jaw for example).

Most people don’t realize that pain in this area of the body can happen due to issues in the ribs, lungs, or nerves.

Here are some specific reasons for why you’re having pain in your upper left chest area:

  • Coronary Heart Disease: This is just a fancy way of saying “Heart Attack”. When the vessels that supply blood to your heart get blocked, the heart begins to die. Remember, the heart is made up of cells just like everything else in your body, and when it doesn’t get enough oxygen, it will begin to deteriorate. Note, pain from a heart attack will typically be associated with pain in the jaw, back, arm, and shoulder, so be on the lookout for those. If you think you’re having a heart attack, call 911 immediately.
  • Pleurisy: This has to do with your lungs. With this cause, you will feel a sharp pain near your lungs whenever you inhale. This can be caused by a wide number of things, including a pulmonary embolism, pneumothorax, and viral/bacterial diseases. If the pain is becoming unbearable, and it’s getting harder and harder to breath, get to an emergency room as soon as possible to rule out something serious. Crackly lungs is another common symptom of pleurisy.
  • Stress: It may be hard to believe, but stress can be what’s causing your pain. Whenever you feel a “tightness” in your chest, it could be that you’re going through an anxiety attack. For people who’ve never had an anxiety attack before, it can be difficult to recognize the symptoms. You’d be surprised by the number of people who go to the emergency room thinking that they’re having a heart attack, when in reality, they’re just stressed.

Obviously, if you’ve been hit in the left side of your body then this can bring about pain that lasts for a few days.

The important thing is to pay attention to any other symptoms you may be experiencing.

For example, if you’ve got chest pain and jaw pain, then this could be a sign of a heart attack. This is especially true if you’re over the age of 65.

Bottom Line: If you have a numb jaw and left shoulder pain, this could be a sign that you’re having a heart attack.

Home Remedies

The good news is that you still have some control over your symptoms (assuming it’s nothing serious). What are some things that you can do to reduce chest pain?

First, take a rest. It’s possible that you’ve simply overexerted yourself. If you’ve got inflammation, apply ice to the affected area to help minimize the swelling.

Do this for approximately 20 minutes at a time several times throughout the day. If none of this works, and the pain is getting worse, then go to a hospital.

Abdominal Pain in Left Side

The next area where you might be experiencing this symptom is the abdomen.

Similar to the chest area, there are several potential reasons for why you’re experiencing pain here. Here are some of the more common ones:

  • Aortic Aneurysm: Don’t get scared- these are among the least common reasons for having pain in the abdominal area. Still, since they’re a possibility, we’re going to include them on this list. Aortic aneurysms become particularly dangerous when the blood vessel breaks, or hemorrhages. When this happens, immediate surgical intervention is required, otherwise, the person will die.
  • Kidney Stones: More common than an aortic aneurysm are kidney stones. Kidney stones have the potential to cause extreme pain in left side of the abdominal area. If they’re small enough, kidney stones will “pass”, or leave, the body on their own. However, if they’re too large, they will need to be surgically removed.
  • Food Poisoning: Food poisoning is even more common than kidney stones, and is a potential reason for why you feel pain and/or discomfort in the left abdominal region of your body. The symptoms of food poisoning include diarrhea, nausea, fever, and vomiting, all of which should pass within 48 hours. If they don’t, then a trip to the hospital should be in order.

Yet another possibility for this symptom is pancreatic cancer. Usually, pancreatic cancer is associated with weight loss, jaundice, pale stools, and other prominent bodily changes.

Now that we’ve covered some of the potential causes, let’s look at a few potential remedies you can try from home.

Bottom Line: Pain in the abdominal area can be the result of food poisoning, kidney stones, or an aortic aneurysm.

Home Remedies

One of the first things you can try is to apply a heating cushion to the affected area. This may or may not help alleviate the pain.

Also, the herb Chamomile has been shown to lessen pain due to its anti-inflammatory properties.

If you’re experiencing additional symptoms like vaginal drying, fever, or vomiting then you should probably seek professional medical help.

Back Pain in Left Side

It’s estimated that up to 60% of adults experience pain in their back at some point throughout their life.

The intensity can range from a dull discomfort to full blown pain. The good news is that most of the time, back pain in left side isn’t life-threatening.

It’s usually associated with poor posture, pregnancy, and in some cases, kidney infections. Let’s explore each of these individually:

  • Pregnancy: It’s actually quite common for women who are pregnant to experience back pain. This can happen for a few reasons. The first is that as the fetus increases in size, it puts pressure on back nerves. Women who are pregnant also go through extreme hormonal changes, some of which can soften tissues and ligaments in the back area.
  • Kidney Infection: When a kidney becomes infected, it can cause dull or serious pain to resonate throughout the back. The pain associated with a kidney infection can be quite extreme. If you think that this is what you have, it’s recommended that you consult a medical professional as quickly as possible.
  • Poor Posture: If you have poor posture when sitting, then can lead to pain in your back. It’s important that you don’t slouch over when sitting. Instead, try to keep your spine straight. If you use poor posture over the course of say, a few years, it will catch up to you and can cause you to experience a lot of pain.

The good news is that back pain in left side is rarely a life-threatening symptom. Most of the time, it has to do with poor posture, pinched nerves. etc.

If your back pain isn’t going away, then you should seek a chiropractor who can help you. In more serious cases, you may need to have surgery to alleviate the pain you’re experiencing, but that’s usually a last resort.

Bottom Line: While back pain can signify something serious, it’s usually the result of a pinched nerve due to poor posture or trauma.

Home Remedies

Aside from rest, try to pay more attention to your posture. By keeping your spine straight while sitting at your desk, it will prevent you from experiencing pain later on.

With that said, if the pain is getting worse, or simply won’t go away, then see your doctor.

They’ll probably refer you to a back specialist who can determine what’s wrong and how to fix it.


One of the more common areas of the left side of the body where people experience pain is the chest area.

When this happens, most people think that they’re experiencing a heart attack. Keep in mind that heart attacks can cause produce symptoms like jaw and shoulder pain.

If the pain is in your abdominal region, then it’s possible that you have food poisoning, kidney stones, or more rarely, an aortic aneurysm.

If your symptoms are combined with something more serious, like smelly urine or smelling things that aren’t there, then you should definitely see your doctor as soon as possible.

Ask a Question: If you want to ask a medical doctor a question that hasn't been answered in one of our articles go to: Ask a Medical Doctor About your Symptoms

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1 Comment

  • I am 34years pregnant 16 week
    But I’m having gallstone. Dr recommend to do ercp and ended up with pancreatic and low potassium.. I’m discharged but still having pain in my lower left . I’m so confused please help

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