Common Causes of Lower Left and Right Back Pain

Experiencing lower back pain can be frustrating and terrifying. The pain may be mild and dull or sharp, stabbing and severe. There are many possible causes of this common condition. The best way to treat the problem is by understanding what causes it.

Some lower back pain can be relieved with a gentle massage while others are aggravated by pressure and movement. Being aware of other signs and symptoms can help you decide when it is time to visit your doctor.

Seek medical attention immediately if you also experience any of the following:

  • Fever or chills
  • Loss of strength
  • Night sweats or recent weight loss
  • Difficulty controlling bladder or bowel function
  • Sudden abdominal pain
  • Some parts of the back can be painful to touch.
  • Difficulty in moving around even with simple activities such as sitting and walking.
  • Mucle spasms

Even if you do not experience the symptoms that are mentioned above but you are suffering from lower back pain, get to know the actual cause of the pain. You may be surprised with the conditions that are causing your discomfort.

Lower Left Back Pain

Common Causes of Lower Left Back Pain

Lower left back pain can be caused by damages to the soft tissues, such as ligaments, muscles, and joints, or it can be due to a problem involving any of the internal organs in the area, such as intestines, kidneys, and reproductive organs.

1. Muscle Strain

Muscle strain on the lower left side of the body is the most common cause of lower left back pain. The pain or discomfort occurs when the muscles are torn or overstretched, which may lead to inflammation and back spasms. Some causes of strain may include:

  • Moving or carrying heavy objects
  • Falling on a slippery surface
  • Physical activities that involve twisting

Depending on the severity, muscle strain usually resolves within a few days to several weeks. Avoid activities that may worsen the condition. Applying ice compress to the affected area can reduce inflammation and swelling.

2. Stress

Stress has been part of everyone’s life. While a small amount of stress can encourage you to perform well, having too many things to handle can affect your overall health and may lead to a persistent headache, shoulder pain, and back pain.

Monitor your stress by identifying the causes. What makes you feel worried, anxious, angry, irritable or tense? Do you often experience a digestive problem or a headache?

Stress will always be present, but there are many ways to prevent it from affecting your health and productivity.

  • Manage your time well
  • Get enough sleep
  • Eat healthy foods
  • Exercise at least 30 minutes a day
  • Interact with family and friends
  • Relaxing techniques

3. Herniated Disc

One of the possible causes of lower left back pain is herniated disc. The vertebrae (bones) that form the spine are cushioned and protected by discs. These discs absorb shock and keep your spine flexible. When one of the discs becomes damaged, it may break open or bulge, which is called a herniated disc.

The common signs and symptoms of a herniated disc include:

  • Leg or arm pain
  • Intense pain in calf and thigh
  • Numbness or tingling sensation
  • Muscle weakness

Some people can have this condition without knowing it. If your back pain travels to other areas of the body or accompanied by weakness, numbness or tingling sensation, see your doctor for accurate diagnosis and treatment.

Conservative treatments for a herniated disc include a planned exercise, avoiding painful positions, and medications to relieve pain. Your doctor may recommend physical therapy designed for minimizing the pain.  In rare cases, surgery may be suggested if conservative treatments do not work.

4. Pregnancy

Lower left back pain is normal during pregnancy as the baby grows and develops. It is also common for pregnant women to complain about the discomfort or pain down the leg or buttock due to the compression of the sciatic nerve. Changes in hormones may cause softening or relaxing of the ligaments and may result in strain on the low back ligaments and pelvis.

To alleviate and prevent back pain during pregnancy:

  • Practice good posture
  • Wear low-heeled footwear with arch support
  • Sleep on your side with support pillows
  • Gentle physical activities such as water exercise and walking

If you experience severe back pain during pregnancy, visit your health care provider.

5. Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Irritable bowel syndrome is a common condition that affects the large intestines and causes abdominal pain, cramping, diarrhea, constipation, and bloating. Some people can control the symptoms by changing their lifestyle, managing diet, and reducing stress levels.

The common causes of irritable bowel syndrome include:

  • Hypersensitive colon
  • Muscle contractions in intestines
  • Inflammation in the intestine
  • Problems in the nerves in digestive system
  • Viral or bacterial infection

Mild symptoms can be alleviated by making changes in lifestyle and diet and by reducing stress levels. Consider drinking plenty of fluids, exercise daily, eat high-fiber foods, and avoid your triggers. Your doctor may also recommend that you avoid high-gas foods, gluten, and certain carbohydrates.

6. Kidney Stones

Kidneys create urine after filtering waste from the blood. Sometimes, minerals and salt stick together and form kidney stones. The size can range from a small dot to a ping pong ball. These deposits are rarely noticed until they cause intense pain and a blockage.

Some signs and symptoms of a kidney stone may include:

  • Pain when you are urinating
  • Red, pink or brown urine
  • Severe pain in the back and side
  • Radiating pain to groin and lower abdomen
  • Pain that comes in waves
  • Persistent urge to urinate
  • Small amounts of urine
  • Fever and chills in case of infection

See your doctor if you experience the symptoms of kidney stones. Also, drink 8 to 10 glasses of water throughout a day to keep your urine clear. Plan your diet carefully and reduce your consumption of protein and salt. Your doctor may also recommend medication to alleviate the pain.

7. Pancreatitis

The pancreas is located in the upper abdomen behind the stomach. It produces hormones that regulate your body’s way of processing sugar and enzymes to help the digestion process. Pancreatitis or the inflammation of the pancreas occurs when the digestive enzymes activate while still in the pancreas.

The common causes of pancreatitis include heavy alcohol consumption, gallstones, and smoking. Other causes include certain medications, infections, surgery, metabolic disorders, and autoimmune diseases.

Depending on the severity of the condition, sign and symptoms of pancreatitis may include:

  • Upper abdominal pain
  • Pain that aggravates after eating
  • Nausea, vomiting
  • Fever
  • Tenderness

In case of chronic pancreatitis, other symptoms include unintentional weight loss, upper abdominal pain, and oily, smelly stools. See your doctor if you experience persistent lower left back pain.

8. Kidney Infection

Kidney infection requires immediate medical attention. If not treated, this condition can damage the kidneys permanently. The bacteria can also enter the bloodstream and cause further infections. A type of urinary tract infection, treating kidney infection usually includes antibiotics.

Other signs and symptoms may include:

  • Fever or chills
  • Abdominal pain
  • Groin pain or back pain
  • Frequent urination, persistent need to urinate
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Pain or burning sensation when urinating
  • Cloudy urine that may smell bad

See your doctor if you experience the symptoms of kidney infection. Without treatment, this problem can lead to a life-threatening condition.

9. Peptic Ulcer Disease

Peptic ulcers are commonly caused by a bacterial infection (Helicobacter pylori). It can also occur due to long-term use of certain medications, such aspirin, naproxen sodium, and ibuprofen. Eating spicy foods and stress can aggravate the condition.

Some symptoms of a peptic ulcer include:

  • Heartburn
  • Burning stomach pain
  • Bloating or belching
  • Nausea

In severe cases, other symptoms are vomiting, difficulty breathing, dark blood in stools, and unintentional weight loss. It is best to see a doctor when experiencing worrying signs of proper diagnosis and treatment. Treatment for this condition depends on the underlying cause.

10. Diverticulitis

Diverticula are small pouches that form on the walls of your digestive system. They develop when weak spots in the colon cause pouches due to pressure. Diverticulitis is the condition when these pouches get infected or inflamed.

Some signs and symptoms of diverticulitis are:

  • Lower left back pain
  • Fever or chills
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Constipation or diarrhea
  • Bloating and gas

See your doctor if you experience any of the symptoms. Mild diverticulitis can be treated with antibiotics, dietary changes, and rest. Your doctor will recommend a liquid diet to speed up the healing process of your colon. Recurring or severe diverticulitis may require surgery.

11. Spinal Stenosis

Spinal stenosis is a condition in which the spaces within the spine starts to narrow. Mostly in adults 50 and above, it gives additional pressure on the nerves that may cause muscle weakness, numbness, pain, and tingling sensation. Commonly caused by wear-and-tear related to osteoarthritis, the symptoms of spinal stenosis can get worse over time. Other causes include injuries, herniated discs, tumors, and Paget’s disease.

Spinal stenosis usually affects the lower back or neck. When symptoms occur, you may experience numbness, stiffness, and back pain. Other specific symptoms may include:

  • Foot drop or leg weakness
  • Shooting pains radiating from the buttocks or lower back down to legs
  • Difficulty walking or standing
  • Loss of bowel or bladder control

Visit your doctor at once if you experience any of the symptoms mentioned. Your doctor will ask about your symptoms, medical history, and perform physical examinations. Imaging tests may also be conducted to find the underlying cause.

12. Ovarian Cysts

Many women experience ovarian cysts at least once. In most cases, cysts are painless, harmless and do not show any symptoms. The majority may also disappear within several months even without treatment. However, when cysts in the ovary have ruptured, it can lead to severe symptoms. Signs and symptoms of ovarian cyst may include:

  • Bloating
  • Pelvic pain in the lower abdomen
  • Feeling of fullness in the stomach
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Painful bowel movements
  • Pain during sex

See your doctor immediately if you experience the symptoms mentioned, especially if you suffer severe pain with vomiting or fever. Your doctor will recommend tests to determine the size, type, and whether treatment is needed.

13. Fibroid Tumors

Fibroid tumors are noncancerous growths composed of renegade muscle cells in or on the uterus. Also called myomas or leiomyomas, uterine fibroids range in size from undetectable by the naked eye to large masses that can enlarge or distort the uterus. In extreme cases, multiple fibroids can develop and expand the uterus.

The most common signs and symptoms of fibroid tumors include:

  • Heavy menstrual bleeding
  • Frequent urination
  • Pelvic pain or pressure
  • Constipation
  • Leg pains or back pain

It is unclear why uterine fibroids form. Some factors that may contribute to the development include hormones, pregnancy and family history.

See a doctor if you have bleeding between periods, painful periods, persistent pelvic pain or difficulty emptying your bladder.

Other gynecological disorders that may cause lower left back pain include:

  • Vaginitis
  • Pelvic Floor Disorders
  • Vulvodynia

14. Spondylolysis

Spondylolysis is a fracture in the connection between vertebrae (bones that make up your spinal column). This condition occurs when a part of the vertebral bone is broken on the sides. This part is vulnerable as it has a poor blood supply and very thin. This condition is common among high impact athletes like wrestlers, dancers, gymnasts, baseball players, lacrosse players, and tennis players.

Some people with spondylolysis do not develop any symptoms. The symptoms include:

  • Low back pain or buttock pain
  • Pain that becomes more painful with physical activity or exercise
  • Difficulty walking
  • Weakness or numbness in one or both legs
  • In rare cases, loss of bowel or bladder control

See your doctor if you experience any of the symptoms mentioned. Your doctor will perform imaging tests like X-rays, MRI or CT scan to see the damage. Doctors prescribe nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and may suggest physical therapy.

 Lower Right Back Pain

10 Common Causes of Lower Right Back Pain

  1. Muscle Strain

There are instances when you would experience muscle strain mainly because you have done something that has caused a problem with the muscles on your lower right back. There are several causes of muscle strain. It may be because you have done some lifting and your position was not correct while you were doing lifts. You may have done sudden movements that caused your muscles to work appropriately.

  1. Sciatica


The sciatic nerve is located at the back of the legs. Sometimes, there are some movements that would cause the sciatic nerve to become compressed. When this happens, a person develops sciatica.

It is apparent that when a person has sciatica, the pain usually starts from the lower back going towards the knees because this is the whole coverage of the sciatic nerve. There are different symptoms that are related to this condition. For instance, coughing can make the pain worse. People usually have a harder time with trying to move their legs because of the condition.

  1. Degenerative Disc Disease

There are instances when the lumbar discs becomes problematic and starts to break down. This condition actually affects people who are 20 and above. Usually, as the condition worsens, people who have this condition find it harder to walk around since they find it harder to stabilize themselves.

At the same time, the pain because of the inflammation may become unbearable. The only fortunate thing about this condition is that there are several treatments for this so that it can be prevented as soon as the condition has been checked.

  1. Isthmic Spondylolisthesis

Isthmic Spondylolisthesis

This is one condition that usually occurs in children but usually, the condition only begins to manifest itself when a person reaches the age of 20 and above. This condition is brought about when the vertebra slips forward and it falls on the disc below it. This is actually a common condition and can cause right lower back pain. It can also cause some pressure on some nerves which can worsen the pain.

  1. Spinal Compression Fracture

There is a possibility that adults would suddenly feel on their lower back and the pain is not just a dull type of ache, sometimes it can be severe. The fracture can be caused by the simplest things such as a sneeze or a cough. Mainly, this occurs because the bones have already degenerated and the pressure has caused the fracture.

  1. Osteomyolitis

This is a type of infection that people usually experience when bacteria gets into the spine. Usually, there are different reasons why people become more susceptible to the bacteria. Older people are more prone to this type of condition.

People who do drugs are also prone to having this type of condition and this is also the same with people who have problematic immune systems. There are also times when people become more prone to this because of another health condition.

  1. Herniated Disk

Herniated Disk

This is probably one of the most common causes of lower back pain that may be felt in the right and left sides of the lower back. This may be caused by an injury or a sudden movement. Sometimes, people who have this do not even realize that they already have this condition. There are times when herniated disk can be serious. You can tell that you need to be brought to the hospital immediately if you have lost control of your bowels or you cannot move because of this condition.

  1. Fractured Spine

There may be other parts of the body that can be fractured but if you fracture your spine, this can be a very serious condition. This can occur when people have just gone through an accident or sudden movement.

People who are over 60 years of age may be more prone to this type of condition. You can tell that you have a fractured spine if every movement that you make is just painful. This is an emergency situation and if you believe that you have a fractured spine, make sure that you will try your best not to move because you have to be brought to the hospital.

  1. Kidney Pain

Kidney Stones

Since the kidneys are located near the back, the back becomes affected if there is something wrong with one or both kidneys. The type of pain that can be felt on the lower back may be on the left side or the right side depending on the kidney that is affected. There are several reasons why the kidney may be causing pain. It can be because of kidney stones or a certain type of kidney infection. Having yourself checked by the doctor will allow you to know what treatments can be done to get rid of the kidney disease.

Read: 10 Natural Home Remedies for Kidney Stones

  1. Pregnancy

This is especially true in the latter part of your trimester when your back may get strained because of carrying your baby. It is already normal for the ligaments in some areas of the back to become stretched and become inflamed but you can usually lessen the pain by applying hot compress on the lower right part of your back if that is the part causing you discomfort. If in case the pain persists, that is the time when you should see your doctor immediately.

Final Word

Lower back pain can be mild to extremely severe. It is best to see a doctor for accurate diagnosis, and immediate treatment as the pain could be a sign of a severe medical condition. For mild cases, some natural treatments for back pain include chiropractic adjustments, regular full-body exercise, essential oils, OTC medications, Epsom salt bath, and improving posture. Consider sleeping with a pillow under your feet to help your back.

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