Why Is Lower Back Pain Such A Common Problem
The bottom part of your back typically has just five vertebrae fewer than your neck and mid-back. And these vertebrae do a lot of heavy lifting! Your lower back is where your spine connects to your pelvis, bearing the weight of your upper body. This area experiences a lot of movement and stress, which may lead to wear, tear and injuries.
Lower Back Pain Caused By Infection
Infections of the spine are not common, but they do occur. The doctor will ask about the usual signs and symptoms of infection, especially when back pain is accompanied by fever and/or chills. Dialysis patients, IV drug users, and patients who have recently had surgery, trauma, or skin infections are at risk for infections of the spine. Infections of the spine can be caused by a number of agents, most commonly bacteria. Doctors will first test for the presence of bacteria, then give antibiotics.
What Questions Should I Ask My Healthcare Provider About My Back Pain
See your provider and get treatment soon so that you dont have to suffer from back pain. Some of the questions you may want to ask them include:
- Whats causing my back pain?
- Is there a name for my type of back pain?
- Will my pain go away on its own?
- Whats my best treatment option?
- What can I do at home to help treat my pain?
- Do I need to see a specialist?
- Can I work/go about my usual activities?
- How can I prevent the back pain from coming back?
Recommended Reading: Should You See A Chiropractor For Lower Back Pain
Abdominal Pain Originating From The Digestive System
A pain that shoots from the large intestine is often a cause of lower abdominal pain in both males and females. Certain symptoms clearly indicate that the pain may be caused by bowel irritation. Some of these symptoms are:
- Intense pain felt as one passes bowel movements
- Sudden changes in the bowel habits
- Traces of blood observed with passing motions
- Severe bloating with gas
- Constipation or diarrhea, as both could result in pain
Abdominal pain is often associated with the terms “colic pain” or “cramping of the stomach”. These terms are used to describe the pain that generally comes and goes. Intense bowel pain is normally relieved as constipation is released. The main causes of pain resulting from the bowels include irritable bowel syndrome, which can lead to conditions like diarrhea, constipation or be bloating. Other conditions could also include diverticulitis disease, and complications resulting from such conditions are more commonly seen in older adults. There are also certain medical conditions that are associated with the inflammation of the bowel system like ulcerative colitis or Crohns disease, but these are quite rare. Another rare cause of such pain may be associated with colorectal cancer.
How Common Is Lower Back Pain
Two out of every three adults suffer from low back pain at some time. Back pain is the #2 reason adults visit a doctor and the #1 reason for orthopedic visits. It keeps people home from work and interferes with routine daily activities, recreation, and exercise. The good news is that for 9 out of 10 patients with low back pain, the pain is acute, meaning it is short-term and goes away within a few days or weeks. There are cases of low back pain, however, that take much longer to improve, and some that need evaluation for a possible cause other than muscle strain or arthritis.
Symptoms may range from muscle ache to shooting or stabbing pain, limited flexibility and/or range of motion, or an inability to stand straight.
Recommended Reading: How To Fix Upper Back And Neck Pain
Back Pain And The Muscles
Muscle strains are a common cause of back pain, including in your left side.
You may have strained yourself while working out in the gym or on the football pitch. Perhaps you have moved awkwardly while getting out of bed in the morning.
Bad posture is another cause of pain in the back or side. If you often sit or stand in a poor position, it may place added stress on your muscles and your spine.
Abdominal Pain Arising From The Reproductive Organs
This is a condition commonly seen in women. It relates to the abdominal pain that starts from the reproductive organs namely the uterus, fallopian tubes or the ovaries. Any pain associated with the reproductive organs is normally felt in the middle of the lower abdominal region.
Pain that is felt more towards the side can be more typical of a pain coming from the ovary. Pain that starts from the uterus often worsens during the menstrual cycle and is known as dysmenorrhoea.
Certain conditions that affect the reproductive system can also lead to pain during intercourse. This is known as dyspareunia, and it is a condition that needs to be discussed with your doctor at the earliest if it is troublesome.
Some examples of conditions affecting the reproductive system that could cause pain include endometriosis, fibroids, inflammatory disease of the pelvic area and other problems associated with pregnancy like miscarriage and ectopic pregnancy.
Also Check: What Helps Scoliosis Back Pain
Fractures And Lower Back Pain
are often very difficult pain problems and indicate the possible presence of . In patients with severe osteoporosis, spinal fractures can occur with no early warning and no significant trauma the patient does not have to fall to fracture a vertebrae.
Patients with spinal compression fractures experience spasms and, often, very high pain levels.
In patients with low back pain where the cause is difficult to determine, especially for elderly patients with osteoporosis, a fracture in the sacrum may be the cause of the pain. A standard X-ray or bone scan may not show a sacral fracture. Imaging techniques such as CT scan or MRI can often reveal these fractures.
It is very important that patients with acute lumbar compression fractures be tested for osteoporosis. A bone density study is needed, unless the patient has no other osteoporosis risk factors and has had a very high impact fracture. Studies have shown that many patients with fractures in the U.S. are discharged from hospitals with no plans for management of their bone density problems, which then are left to worsen.
Although pain can be very intense, it is best for patients with lumbar fracture to resume activity as soon as possible. This is especially true for elderly patients, who can too easily become weakened, and develop other complications, if mobility is reduced for too long. may be needed for pain control, for as brief a period as possible.
Can Back Pain Be Prevented
Recurring back pain resulting from improper body mechanics may be prevented by avoiding movements that jolt or strain the back, maintaining correct posture, and lifting objects properly. Many work-related injuries are caused or aggravated by stressors such as heavy lifting, contact stress , vibration, repetitive motion, and awkward posture.Recommendations for keeping ones back healthy
You May Like: Can Hsv 2 Cause Lower Back Pain
Low Back Pain Treatment
Taking medications may seem an easy way to get rid of pain in the lower left of the back, but it often lacks the provision of immediate pain relief, so you need to resort to simple home remedies that provide immediate long-term relief.
- Ginger: Ginger is a powerful herbal anti-inflammatory and helps relieve pain in the lower left back. And the individual can benefit from this herb in the form of ginger tea or by eating ginger juice and combining ginger and other vegetables every day until the pain subsides.
- Turmeric: Turmeric is a very useful spice in the treatment of arthritis pain and is one of the main causes of chronic back pain. Turmeric contains an anti-inflammatory substance. Anyone suffering from lower back pain can consume turmeric tea or cook with turmeric, along with herbs and other spices such as cinnamon, basil, and rosemary. To get the necessary relief from pain in the lower left of the back.
- Potato juice: Potato juice is one of the most effective natural remedies for lower left back pain. It is a miracle cure because it has anti-inflammatory properties to get rid of pain in the lower left back. Consuming a cup of fresh potato juice will greatly reduce back and joint pain. Potato juice increases blood circulation in the body and improves speed of recovery from injury to the back muscles or even tissue damage.
by Dr. Don DuffAug 20, 2019
Ready To Address Your Back Pain
The University of Maryland Spine Network can help you put your pain behind you. With convenient locations throughout the state, the UM Spine Network is home to the region’s leading spine surgeons and specialists that can help you identify the source of your pain and put an end to it for good.
Put an end to your back pain. Find a spine specialist near you.
In This Section:
You May Like: How To Get Rid Of My Lower Back Pain
What Are The Risk Factors For Developing Low Back Pain
Anyone can have back pain. Factors that can increase the risk for low back pain include:
Age: The first attack of low back pain typically occurs between the ages of 30 and 50, and back pain becomes more common with advancing age. Loss of bone strength from osteoporosis can lead to fractures, and at the same time, muscle elasticity and tone decrease. The intervertebral discs begin to lose fluid and flexibility with age, which decreases their ability to cushion the vertebrae. The risk of spinal stenosis also increases with age.
Fitness level: Back pain is more common among people who are not physically fit. Weak back and abdominal muscles may not properly support the spine. Weekend warriorspeople who go out and exercise a lot after being inactive all weekare more likely to suffer painful back injuries than people who make moderate physical activity a daily habit. Studies show that low-impact aerobic exercise can help maintain the integrity of intervertebral discs.
Weight gain: Being overweight, obese, or quickly gaining significant amounts of weight can put stress on the back and lead to low back pain.
Genetics: Some causes of back pain, such as ankylosing spondylitis , have a genetic component.
Smoking: It can restrict blood flow and oxygen to the discs, causing them to degenerate faster.
Backpack overload in children: A backpack overloaded with schoolbooks and supplies can strain the back and cause muscle fatigue.
What Type Of Doctor Should I See For Back Pain
This depends on your condition or symptoms. If you have no obvious injury that would explain your pain, you may want to start by seeing a . This is a specialist in physical medicine who can diagnose back pain and determine whether nonsurgical treatments such as physical therapy may help. Depending on those findings, a physiatrist may also refer you to a , doctor or other type of back specialist, , for additional discussion.
Don’t Miss: Does Losing Weight Help With Back Pain
Treatment For Sharp Stabbing Lower Left Side Back Pain
Treatment for sharp, stabbing pain in the lower left side of the back varies widely depending on the underlying cause. Getting an accurate diagnosis by a healthcare professional is crucial in order to receive proper treatment. If the lower left side back pain originates due to a problem with internal organs, identifying the cause and treating it can help alleviate the discomfort. The following examples describe potential treatments for internal organ issues:
- Kidney stones Medication may be prescribed or shockwave therapy may be recommended to help break up the kidney stones.
- Endometriosis Medication may also be prescribed to target the pain and surgery may be performed to remove excess tissue.
- Pancreatitis If a bile duct obstruction is present, it may need to be surgically removed or fluid can be drained from the pancreas.
If pain on the lower left side of the back develops due to a musculoskeletal or spinal issue, the following strategies may be useful:
Also Check: Which Tempurpedic Mattress Is Best For Lower Back Pain
Exercise To Loosen Muscles
Although it may seem counterintuitive to exercise when lower back pain is causing you grief, the right kind of movement can help eliminate the discomfort. Its always important to consult your physician before you engage in exercise when you have pain, but this conversation is well worth having if youre suffering.
First, you should keep in mind that not all exercise is beneficial in combating back pain. Try to avoid toe-touch exercises and sit-ups, which may add to the stress on your spine instead of relieving it. Leg lifts are another exercise to stay away from when you are hurting. If your core is not strong, leg lifts could be too demanding on your body if youre already experiencing pain.
Several types of exercises can be useful when you need to relieve back pain. Partial crunches can aid in strengthening your core without applying too much pressure to the area. Slow and controlled wall-sit exercises may also be useful. Other repetitions to consider include bringing each knee to the chest in succession, pelvic tilts, and swimming.
Recommended Reading: Is Gel Mattress Good For Back Pain
When To See A Doctor
If lower left back pain can be effectively managed using over-the-counter pain relievers, activity modification, and/or hot or cold packs, medical attention may not be needed. As a general guideline, seeing a doctor for lower left back pain is recommended if the pain follows an accident or injury, if it does not get better on its own, worsens, or interferes with daily functions such as standing, walking, or sleeping, or if it is accompanied by other troublesome or progressing symptoms.
Some lower left back may indicate a medical emergency. For example, the following symptoms alongside lower left back pain may indicate a serious problem:
- Intense and sudden back pain that does not subside with rest
- Severe, unrelenting low back and/or abdominal pain
- Dizziness, confusion, or shortness of breath
- Persistent or sporadic fever and chills
- Nausea or vomiting
- Painful urination or blood in the urine
- Bowel and/or bladder incontinence
- Significant weakness, numbness, or tingling in the lower body
- Unexplained, significant weight loss
You’ve Been In Pain For Over A Week
Most back pain will subside after a few days, but if you’ve been experiencing pain for over a week, then it’s time to call a doctor. Your doctor will perform any examinations or tests required to help get to the bottom of your pain before it could become a bigger problem. As is the case with many health conditions, prevention and addressing problems early is key.
Recommended Reading: How Can You Relieve Lower Back Pain
Ways To Relieve Back Pain Naturally
There are a wide variety of natural remedies to soothe your back, which can help reduce the intake of medications or provide an added benefit to your existing medical treatment.
Take a look at these natural pain-relieving strategies and find out what works best for you:
Read on to learn more about effective pain-relieving strategies for chronic back pain from natural methods.
What Questions Might A Healthcare Provider Ask To Help Diagnose Back Pain
Your healthcare provider will ask if you injured yourself, how long youve had back pain and how severe your pain is. They need to know other medical problems you have and what medications you take. If you have family members who have had similar issues, let your provider know. They might also ask questions such as:
- Are you able to work every day?
- Does what you do for a living involve lifting?
- Do any of your hobbies aggravate your back pain?
- Do you have any other symptoms?
- Where is your pain located?
- How does the pain affect your daily activities?
- What at-home treatments have you tried?
Don’t Miss: How To Relieve Lower Back Pain While Lying Down
Other Causes Of Lower Left Back Pain
Does the pain in your lower left side extend through your buttocks?
This might be a sign that you have a tightened sacroiliac joint. Thats the joint that connects the base of your spine to your pelvis.
The protection around the sacroiliac joint is less effective than other back joints.
Thats because your sacroiliac doesnt have a disc. When a tightening of the sacroiliac jointoccurs, you might feel pain in your buttocks, too.
Because as your sacroiliac joint tightens, so do the surrounding muscles and ligaments.
If it is your sacroiliac joint, many people find relief with chiropractic adjustments.
If youre experiencing lower left back pain or left side back pain, youll want to keep a few other conditions in mind. Things like:
How Can Back Pain Be Prevented
In most cases, you can prevent back pain by making changes to your lifestyle.
Doing exercise helps to keep your back flexible and strong. Exercise improves your posture and helps your muscles to support your spine. Exercises that can help prevent back pain include:
- low-impact aerobic exercise
- strengthening exercises, such as lifting weights, climbing stairs or hiking hills
- stretching exercises, such as Pilates and yoga
Maintaining a good posture is important when you sit at home, in your workplace, or in your car. Try not to slouch, and use equipment that supports your back, such as a lumbar support or footstool if you need.
Keeping a healthy weight is also important. Excess fat can strain your back and lead to back pain, sciatica and inflammation.
Practise safe lifting in your home or workplace. Whenever you pick up a heavy load, squat down, hold the object close to your body, and lift with your legs.
- Quit smoking Smoking increases your chances of developing persistent back pain.
- Relax Learning relaxation techniques and mindfulness can help to reduce stress and muscle tension in your back.
- Avoid high heels wearing high heels can place strain on your back.
Also Check: How To Heal Lower Left Back Pain