One of the most common questions we receive is, what causes lower left side back pain?
Lower left back pain is a very common condition and has several causes. The key to get quick and lasting pain relief is in understanding what really causes it.
Often times the individual experiences a sharp pain in the lower left side of their back.
The two types of pain people describe suffering in their lower back are acute back pain and chronic back pain. Acute back pain is described as a sharp, burning or shooting pain, while chronic back pain is a dull and aching pain. One common symptom is constipation and back pain.
There are two general causes for pain in the lower left side of the back: neuropathic pain is caused by nerve tissue damage, and nociceptive pain is pain that occurs outside the nervous system. A pinched nerve is an example of neuropathic pain, and a condition such as arthritis is nociceptive pain.
Common causes of lower left back pain:
- Bulging or herniated discs
- Muscle spasms
- Pulled back muscle
- Muscle imbalances
- Muscle strain, injury or trauma to the back muscles, ligaments or joints
- Trigger points
- Stress / Negative emotions
- Inflammation caused by diet
- Compression of one of the lumbar nerves, sacral nerve or the sciatic nerve
Alongside the common causes listed above, lower left back pain can as well be a tightening of the sacroiliac joint, spinal joints and buttocks. The protection around the sacroiliac joint is less effective than other back joints, as the sacroiliac contains no disc.
When a tightening of the sacroiliac joint occurs, a person may experience pain in the buttocks as well because as the sacroiliac joint tightens, so do the surrounding muscles and ligaments.
Pain on the left side of the lower back can be caused by other conditions as well. This pain can be symptomatic of conditions such as a urinary tract infection, irritable bowel syndrome, osteoporosis, spondylolysis, gall bladder stones, kidney stones or a kidney infection. If the person experiencing the pain is female, it may be a symptom of a gynecological disorder. It should be noted that being obese might cause pain in the left side of the lower back as well.
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Recommended lower left back pain treatments
- Muscle Balance Therapy
- Massage Therapy
- Trigger Point Therapy
- Inversion / Decompression Therapy
- Acupuncture / Acupressure
- Use a Back Support or Cushion (like the Freedom Back or BackJoy)
- Relaxation, Meditation, Journaling
- Dietary improvements (ie. reducing foods that cause inflammation like dairy, wheat/gluten, sugar, nightshades)
- Drink more clean, filtered water
Muscle imbalances are often the biggest underlying cause of lower left back pain. If you are not familiar with muscle imbalances, or muscle balance therapy, you definitely want to start here:
If a person suffers from lower left back pain for more than a day, it is recommended that they contact their primary care physician. It is incredibly important that the true, underlying causes of back pain are diagnosed before treatment can begin.
The doctor may utilize X-rays, MRIs, CT Scans, Mylelograms or Bone Scans in order to diagnose the cause of back pain in the lower left side. Treating back pain can involve taking pain relievers, starting an exercise program that focuses on the lower back, or attending physical therapy. If going to a doctor is not an option for you right now, use the resources below to identify home treatment options.
Left Side Back Pain Prevention:
There are several courses of action a person can take in order to prevent back pain on the lower left side:
- While walking and sitting, keep a relatively upright posture
- When lifting objects (heavy or light), always lift with the legs-never bend from the waist
- Exercise; focus on working out the muscles in the core (abdomen and back)
- Daily Stretching
If experiencing back pain, consult a doctor before beginning treatment.
Written By: Updated: June 29,2011