Lower Back pain


Lower Left Back Pain

Lower Left Back Pain
Could there be any particular reason why an individual experiences lower back pain on the left side? This article discusses the possible reasons, and also gives a few tips on how to prevent this condition.

Back Pain So Common!

If you experience some kind of back pain, you aren't fighting a lonely battle. In fact, this is the most common reason why people miss work, and the second-most common ailment for which people visit a doctor. All this adds up to around $50 billion that Americans have to shell out each year on this problem.

The reasons for lower back pain on the left side may vary from person to person, and can strike at anytime, making day-to-day chores a difficult task. The pattern of the pain in both acute and chronic back pain might range from a dull, acute ache to a debilitating pain. The lower left area of the back might experience pain due to various ills, which would include both organ-related troubles and muscular-skeletal traumas. One common cause is overuse of the back muscles that is related to repetitive exercise or lifting weights and other such movements. In addition, obesity also puts extra weight and pressure on the lower back.

Factors Leading to Back Pain on the Left Side


Intense lower back pain, especially on the left side is quite common during pregnancy. Growth of the uterus, positioning of the baby inside the womb, and other hormonal changes during pregnancy are amongst the basic causes of lower back pain. As the uterus expands, it shifts the center of gravity of the body along with other changes like stretching and weakening of the abdominal muscles. This automatically changes the body's posture, leading to strain on the lower back. Extra weight being carried during this period means more work for the muscles and increased stress on the joints, which is why the back feels worse at the end of the day. If the growing uterus is pressing on a nerve, it may be another cause of this pain. The joints and ligaments that attach the pelvic bones to the spine may get loosened due to hormonal changes (related to estrogen and ligament-loosening hormone relaxin) during pregnancy, making a pregnant woman feel less stable. This causes pain while sitting, standing, and walking for a long duration.

Herniated Disc

A herniated disc is also known as a bulging, protruding, or ruptured disc, and it might be the effect of excessive exertion or extreme stress. In between the vertebrae, the discs function as cushions -- which has a gel-like substance, and allows the spine a level of flexibility. However, when the spine starts to get tight and compressed, the discs are induced with a force, and the gel snaps via the outermost part of the disc and advances on a nerve. This results is acute pain. Furthermore, when a muscle, bone, or a disc approaches the sciatic nerve, the outcome is sciatica -- acute spasmodic pain along the sciatic nerve.

Muscular Pain

Back pain while breathing is most commonly caused because of muscular injury. Muscle spasms are caused due to sudden movement of the body. There is a chance of spasm response with each breath. Pain while breathing can also be caused due to a pulled diaphragm muscle. This pain often radiates throughout the chest, abdomen and back, making one feel very uneasy.

Lumbar Strain

Individuals in or above the forties are more prone to lumbar strain. If any trauma or an incident has mechanically distressed the lumbar tissues, it leads to a particular discomfort and pain in the lower back. Due to the injury, the nerves in this region get inflamed and trapped, thereby restricting free movement.

Spinal Stenosis

This is constricting of the spinal canal due to inordinate bone growth, herniated discs, or when a cartilage or ligament tissues present in the spinal canal thickens. This can bother and compress the spinal cord and the spinal nerve roots which exit the spinal cord. Lower back pain due to this condition is more common in individuals over 50 years of age. The pain is many a time accompanied by numbness and weakness.

Kidney Infection & Kidney Stones

A kidney infection is also one of the possible causes of back pain. Pain in the flank area on the back, on the sides of the spine, and above the hip region is often caused due to a kidney infection. This pain increases as the bladder gets full or it may also travel towards the genital area. This type of pain is a result of an infection and inflammation of the kidney tissues, and is generally severe. Due to the infection, the kidney swells and stretches the pain-sensitive capsule around it, leading to pain in the lower back area.

Kidney stones also cause pain in the left lower side of the back, which is commonly accompanied by other problems like blood in the urine. One might also feel pain and a burning sensation while urinating. This pain will be relieved when the kidney infection is cured or the kidney stone passes out.

Innate Bone Conditions

A few of the many bone-related disorders are innate in nature, and have been mentioned below. They cause chronic pain in the entire body or on the affected part, depending on the condition.
Scoliosis - An unnatural lateral arching of the spine.
Spina Bifida - A part of the spinal cord and its meninx are exposed via a small opening in the backbone.
Osteopetrosis - An uncommon genetic disorder of the skeletal development, leading to monolithic but fragile bones.
Osteoporosis - A literal meaning, porous bones, a bone disorder characterized by abnormal loss of bone tissue, which results in brittle and fragile bones. In extreme cases, a sudden movement or even a sneeze can break a bone easily.
A few other conditions that lead to lower back pain are mentioned below.

⇛ Mechanical force in the tissues or bones as a consequence of some disease.
⇛ Ovarian troubles, such as uterine fibroids, ovarian cysts (polycystic ovary syndrome [PCOS]), and endometriosis.
⇛ Malignant or non-malignant tumors which develop in any part of the body.
⇛ Problems with the stomach and gastrointestinal system (irritable bowel syndrome).
⇛ Muscle imbalance can also lead to various physiological problems apart from back pain.

Lower back pain while breathing is also known to be an indication of serious health problems like cardiac and pulmonary conditions. Hence, if you suddenly experience such symptoms, it's recommended that you consult your doctor soon, and get the same treated. If you have been examined to rule out the possibility of any serious health problem, then there is nothing to worry about. Breathe slowly and observe to find a pattern that gives minimum pain.

Dealing with the Pain

⇛ After consulting a health care provider, one can take a few over-the-counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to deal with the pain.

⇛ Hot treatments, like a hot bath or a hot water bag kept on the affected area on the back helps in easing the pain. Besides, cold treatments like an icepack is effective too. (Note.- Avoid putting the ice directly on the skin as that might cause a cold burn)

⇛ In order to ease the pain, alter your sleeping position. For example, place a pillow under the knees to help maintain the normal curve of the back. Also, as an alternative, while sleeping sideways, pull your legs up slightly towards the chest, and place a pillow between your legs.

⇛ Being stagnant or lying in bed for a long period of time is not recommended. Instead, keep moving (walk around the house, stroll in the park, etc.), as individuals who are physically active tend to recover sooner than those who aren't.

Few Preventive Measures

Your posture is the most important element in preventing pain in this area. It is very crucial to maintain a correct body posture all the times.

While sitting on a chair for a longer duration (mostly sitting in front of the computer), the left side of your back is under constant strain, and this can lead to lower back pain. Don't lean forward, and try to keep your back straight while sitting on the chair.

Do not stay in the same position for a long duration. You should keep taking breaks in between while sitting for a long time, to avoid back pain.

Keep the lower back supported with a small pillow while driving a four-wheeler, if the seat doesn't provide lower back support. Also, use a pillow in the office if your chair does not provide lower back support. Keep your back straight while driving a two-wheeler vehicle.

Bend your knees inwards while lifting any object from the floor. Don't bend your back.

Be careful and slow while turning, twisting, and bending your body, as sudden movements can also put the lower back under a lot of strain.

Exercise regularly and follow the right techniques while doing so. Do not overdo any type of exercise, and avoid a sudden increase in the duration of the exercise.

Simple Stretching Exercises

Exercising is definitely helpful in getting relief from back pain. But remember that you must take your doctor's advice before starting any sort of exercise, if you are already experiencing back pain. Mentioned below are some easy-to-do workouts for you.

Lie flat on your back. Lift your neck and bring your chin close to the chest. Bring your knees towards the chest and hold them with your hands. Count to ten and then bring the neck and legs back to the original position.

Lie on your stomach and push your upper body off the floor, using your arms, while keeping the chin up. Count to ten and come back to the initial position.

Lie on your back and bend your knees. Keep your feet flat over the floor. Tighten your abdomen and buttocks, and push the lower back off the floor. Count to five and then relax.

Other Exercises: Walking, yoga, and swimming for about half an hour on alternate days too are effective exercises for lower back pain.

Myths & Facts About Lower Back Pain

Myth #1: Take complete rest while you have lower back pain.
Fact: You can rest for a day or two if you have lower back pain. But after that, you need to have some movement, and mainly walk around and exercise. Remember, complete rest will only worsen the pain and slow down your recovery.

Myth #2: Any back pain is the same.
Fact: This is not the case. It can be acute or chronic. Acute means a short-term pain which may last up to a few days or at the most for a few weeks. Generally, the pain that lasts for more than three months is chronic back pain. This type of pain can just come and go in flares. Mostly, lower back pain on the left side is acute, but it may worsen if no proper care is taken.

Myth #3: Worse the pain, worse is the damage.
Fact: The amount of back pain is not directly proportionate to the amount of damage caused. A degenerated disc won't be very painful at first. Or, even a slight lower left side back pain can be an indication of some severe problem as well.

Myth #4: Exercise will worsen lower back pain.
Fact: Performing exercises for lower back pain will help in strengthening the back muscles and help them heal properly. Obviously, you have to exercise in the right way and not overdo the same while you are experiencing severe back pain.

Keep your lower back supple and strong with regular care and strengthening exercises. Don't ignore even the slightest pain if it persists, because, if not taken care of, it may worsen and become severe. It is always better to be careful and take proper care to avoid back-related pain.

Disclaimer: This article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice

By Mamta Mule
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