When To See Your Doctor
Mild, short-lived pain in the lower left abdomen that goes away on its own typically does not require medical care. But pain in this area that persists, recurs, progresses or is severe should never be ignored, as this symptom might signal a serious medical problem.
According to Dr. Borkar, pain on the lower left side that comes with lower back pain, unintentional weight loss, severe or worsening abdominal pain, nausea or vomiting and blood in the stool all require a trip to your GI doctor for an evaluation.
The Top 2 Reasons For Upper Left Back Pain
Upper left side back pain is less common than lower left back pain. This is because the bones in the upper region of our bodies are much less flexible than bones elsewhere. This area is commonly known to range from the base of the neck to the rib cage. This includes the shoulder blade and the connection of the rib cage to the thoracic region. The area includes many structures that may cause pain, including shoulder joints, muscles, tendons, ligaments, and nerves. Common issues in this area arise from the musculoskeletal, this includes conditions such as fractured vertebrates.
When Back Pain Requires Emergent Treatment
In some people who have metastases to their spine, a condition called malignant spinal cord compression may develop. The symptoms include worsening back pain, weakness of the legs, and sometimes loss of urinary or bowel control. This is a medical emergency, and immediate treatment is needed to prevent complications such as paralysis.
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Preventing Upper Back Pain
While back pain is common, its possible to lower your risk of getting upper back pain. Here are some tips:
- Practice good posture. Sit and stand up straight. When you sit, position your hips and knees at 90 degrees.
- Exercise.Cardio and resistance training will strengthen your back muscles and lower your risk of injury.
- Maintain a healthy weight. Excess weight can place stress on the back.
- Quit or avoid smoking. This will help you quickly heal after a back injury. Quitting is often difficult, but a doctor can help you develop a smoking cessation plan right for you.
Other Causes Of Pain In The Upper Left Back
Following conditions can cause upper left back pain-
- Respiratory conditions or lung infections can cause pain in chest and upper left back. Commonly associated with cough, difficulty in breathing and sometimes fever.
- Skin conditions affecting skin and subcutaneous tissue like boils, abscesses, stings and insect bites can cause upper left back pain. These conditions are easily noticed and is often accompanied with itching and burning sensation.
- Certain gastrointestinal conditions like indigestion and bloating, pancreatitis and perforation of peptic ulcers causes pain in middle and upper left back. In such cases gastric complaints like nausea, vomiting, changes in bowel habits and burning stomach pain may be present.
- Conditions related to urinary system like kidney stones or infection can cause pain in the upper and middle back or flank region, which may radiate to the groin.
- Women may occasionally experience referred menstrual pain or pain from uterine related conditions in the region under lower left ribs.
- Cardiac conditions, particularly chest pain from a heart attack can extend to left upper back, neck and jaw. This needs immediate medical care.
- Rarely certain infections, tumors or cancers in the area and spread of certain types of cancers can be the cause of upper left back pain.
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How Is It Treated
In most cases, people with mild to moderate back pain can manage their symptoms with:
- Over-the-counterpain medicines, such as acetaminophen and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs .
- Over-the-counter muscle relaxants, such as methocarbamol .
- Heat or ice.
- Manual therapy, such as massage, mobilization, or spinal manipulation.
But if your pain gets worse and you’re having a hard time doing your daily activities, you may need to take a prescription pain medicine. Surgery is seldom used to treat upper and middle back pain.
What Is Middle Back Pain
Middle is any type of pain or discomfort in the area between your upper and lower back. Healthcare professionals refer to this area as the lower thoracic area or lower thoracic spine. The upper thoracic area or upper thoracic spine makes up part of the upper back. The lumbar spine makes up part of the lower back.
The middle back consists of the spine , spinal cord, nerves, discs, muscles, blood vessels, ligaments, and tendons. Any of the structures in the spine or back area can become irritated or inflamed in response to a variety of mild to serious conditions. Middle back pain causes include , poor posture, , muscle , and car accident injuries. Middle back pain is not as common as because the thoracic spine does not move as much as the spine in the lower back and neck.
Pain in the middle of the back may be either short lived or chronic, which is defined as lasting more than three months. Middle back pain may be described as a dull, annoying ache or a sharp, acute pain. The pain can radiate, or spread, to other areas of your body. The converse is also true pain that is caused by a problem somewhere else in your body can radiate to your middle back.
In some cases, acute back pain can resolve with basic self-care measures within a few weeks, but it can also persist and lead to more serious problems over time.
How To Remedy Mid Back Pain Left Side
The first step is to get a proper diagnosis as to the root of the problem. Think about what could be causing mid back pain on the left. There are very common issues causing mid back pain in left that covers lots of individual habits in routine life. Please check some common things listed below that developing a mid back pain on left slowly or gradually.
- Bulging or herniated discs
If posture is a problem than a person can make adjustments in sitting and walking. If there has been an injury, medication, both hot and cold compresses that cause problems. Sometimes, surgery may require to get relief from mid back pain on the left side of your body. Sometimes disc issues require surgical treatment as well. If the kidneys are involved, it is important to seek medical attention. The back pain will be resolved when the kidney problems are addressed.
Source Therapy First
In most cases, people can pinpoint the reason for the pain. And deal with it accordingly on their own that changes the lifestyle using home remedies. However, when the pain will not go away, is unexplained or becomes progressively worse, its time to get medical help. According to WebMD.com, doctors can use a variety of tests to assist patients. X-rays and EMG tests are a few of the testes to diagnose and identify the actual source of the pain.
What Types Of Back Surgery Might You Need
Needing upper back surgery is rare, but if you do need it, you have options. These are some of the most common procedures for thoracic spine injury.
- Kyphoplasty or vertebroplasty: To repair compression fractures due to osteoporosis, your doctor will inject a glue-like bone cement.
- Spinal laminectomy/spinal decompression. If you have spinal stenosis , your surgeon may remove bony walls of the vertebrae to ease pressure on the nerves.
- Microdiscectomy. When a disc bulges and presses on a nerve, microdiscectomy minimally invasive removal of a disc is the gold standard procedure.
The success of your treatment, at least in terms of pain relief, may depend on whats causing your upper and mid back pain.
The not-so-good news: Some people will never be pain free.
If you have a condition that leads to chronic pain for instance, fibromyalgia or spinal stenosis its important to manage expectations for relief, says University of Washington pain control expert David R. Patterson, PhD.
The truth is that most chronic pain does not have a cure. You can only manage it, says Dr. Patterson That could mean a combination approach to therapy: body as well as mind .
Perhaps the best news of all is that most back pain gets better on its own, even if you do nothing but exercise patience.
Anatomy: Merck Manual. Injuries of the Spinal Cord and Vetrebrae.
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Treatment For Upper Left Back Pain
Maintaining a healthy weight, along with a habit of cardio and strength workouts will help to prevent upper left back pain in the first place. Practicing good posture can also decrease the likelihood of this type of aggravating pain.
When upper left back pain persists, however, it may be time to consider a number of different treatment approaches.
5 Types of Treatment for Pain in the Upper Back on the Left Side:
Treatment For Mild To Moderate Pain
In most cases, people with mild to moderate upper and middle back pain can manage their symptoms with:
- Over-the-counterpain medicines, such as acetaminophen and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs , to reduce pain. But if these don’t get rid of your pain, you may need a prescription pain medicine that is stronger.
- Over-the-counter muscle relaxants, such as methocarbamol . These can relax muscles and may reduce pain.
- Heat or ice to reduce pain and stiffness.
- Exercise to stretch and strengthen the muscles of your back, shoulders, and stomach.
- Physiotherapy to help increase your flexibility, strength, and balance. Your physiotherapist may teach you an exercise program so you can do it at home.
- Massage to help reduce muscle tension and pain for a short time and to improve blood flow.
- Spinal manipulation to help relieve pain and improve function. It can range from massage and slow pressing to a quick thrust.
- Acupuncture. It involves putting tiny needles into your skin at certain points on the body to promote healing and pain relief.
- Capsaicin cream may help relieve pain.footnote 1 Capsaicin is a substance contained in cayenne peppers. Capsaicin cream is applied directly to the skin over the painful area. Do not apply topical products that contain capsaicin to areas of broken skin.
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Sharp Stabbing Pain In Lower Left Side Of Back
Lower back pain that is localized to one side of the body may feel like a constant ache or pain that flares up occasionally and then subsides. Pain in the lower left side of the back can be sharp, stabbing, and severe or a dull, consistent ache. In some cases, lower left side back pain stops or worsens with movement and may even change when pressure is placed on the back.
Serious Causes Of Referred Back Pain
Back pain is back pain, right? Not so fast. Sometimes pain in your back can come from an entirely different region of your body, which could be serious.
Referred pain is when you feel pain in one part of your body caused by disease or an injury in another. It’s often due to problems with chest and belly organs. For example, an infection in your kidneys may cause pain in your back or sides.
Read on to learn about four causes of referred back pain that can signal you have a severe health problem.
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What Are Common Upper Back Pain Treatments
The range of treatments for upper back pain and neck and mid-back pain, too suggest there is no best option. These are some examples of different approaches that may help you.
In most cases, upper back pain is not a cause for worry however, it can be uncomfortable, painful, and inconvenient. Furthermore, if pain develops suddenly and is severesuch as from an injury and, certainly if pain and symptoms progressively worsen you should seek medical attention.
Simple home remedies. In general, the following home treatments may help relieve upper back pain. Ignore the hype about special products marketed on TV or social media. Stick with what science says works, at least for most people with minor musculoskeletal strain:
- Gentle stretches
- Over-the-counter medication such as ibuprofen , naproxen , or acetaminophen
- Ice to reduce pain and swelling
- Heat to improve mobility and ease stiffness
Posture exercises. If your posture is good, your spinal structures should be correctly aligned, which reduces back strain. Start with these strategies to improve the way you stand or sit.
Injections. A trigger point injection is a direct shot of powerful pain medicine. It may solve your problem, or it may just buy you enough pain-free time to pursue other interventions to get your upper back pain in check.
Issues With The Left Lung
Infections or inflammation that affect your left lung will also cause pain under your left ribs in your back. Pneumonia, pleurisy, or a collapsed lung can cause sharp, intensely jabbing pains in your back.
There are many natural ways to cleanse your lungs and help prevent acute or chronic lung infections developing.
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Diagnosing Lower Back Pain
To diagnose lower back pain, a doctor will first do a physical exam. Theyll look at how well you move and if your back has any visible issues.
Then theyll take a medical history. This will cover your symptoms, any recent injuries, previous back issues, and the severity of your pain.
A physical exam and medical history are often enough for a doctor to determine the cause of your pain. However, they may also need to do an imaging test. Potential tests include:
- X-ray, which can find broken or misaligned bones.
- CT scan, which shows soft tissues such as the discs between vertebrae and potential tumors
- myelogram, which uses dye to enhance the contrast in a CT scan or X-ray to help a doctor identify nerve or spinal cord compression
Spleen Pancreas And Part Of The Liver
Although your liver is located under the right rib cage, part of it is located on the left side just under your heart. Below your heart under the left part of your rib cage are your liver, spleen, and pancreas. These organs, along with your liver, are an important part of your digestive system and help to break down food to extract nutrients and filter out waste products.
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Bone And Muscle Causes
Middle back pain refers to pain that occurs below the neck and above the bottom of the rib cage.
The area contains numerous bones, muscles, ligaments, and nerves. Pain can come directly from any of these. It can also come from nearby organs that can cause referred pain thats felt in the middle back.
There are a number of bone and muscle issues that can cause middle back pain on your left side.
Muscle Strain Or Sprain
A muscle strain or sprain is the most common cause of low back pain.
A strain is a tear or stretching in a tendon or muscle, while a sprain is a tear or stretching in a ligament.
Sprains and strains usually happen when you twist or lift something improperly, lift something heavy, or overstretch your back muscles.
These injuries can cause swelling, difficulty moving, and back spasms.
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Diagnosis Of Upper Left Back Pain
Diagnosis can be made after thorough history taking and physical examination. Recent history of fall, accidents injuries and stings may suggest the cause of upper left back pain. Presence of fever is assessed to rule out possibility of infections. Blood investigations help to detect infections, inflammation and other possible conditions. X-rays, bones scans and MRI may be performed to find bone, muscle, ligament and soft tissue damage as well as diseases of lung and abdominal organs. Nerve conduction studies, ECG and other cardiac related investigations may be performed, if appropriate.
Urinary Or Kidney Infections
A urinary infection or an infection of the left kidney may cause constant, stabbing pain that can radiate through the lower left side of the back. Symptoms such as burning, itching, or pain while urinating, chills, or a fever, indicate the presence of a possible infection. These types of symptoms warrant an examination by a doctor.
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Signs Your Back Pain Might Be An Emergency
In our 20s and 30s, normal back pain often can be attributed to factors of daily life, such as sitting too long, picking up children, or overdoing it while exercising.
In our 40s and older, work injuries and the beginnings of arthritis and degenerative conditions are more common.
Back pain is so common, in fact, that many patients shrug off symptoms that might indicate a medical emergency.
Approximately 80% of adults will experience back pain in their lives, so its important to be able to identify the severity of your symptoms and track how long the pain lasts.
If back pain can be associated with a specific activity, such as lifting or twisting wrong, and the pain goes away within 72 hours after resting and applying ice, its usually nothing to worry about. However, if pain creeps on gradually, appears suddenly, or doesn’t go away, you might have a more serious condition.
Dysfunction Of Sacroiliac Joints
Dysfunction of the sacroiliac joints is also called sacroiliitis. You have two sacroiliac joints, one on each side of your spine where it connects with the top of your pelvis. Sacroiliitis is inflammation of this joint. It can affect one or both sides.
Pain in your lower back and buttocks is the most common symptom. The pain is usually made worse by:
- unexplained weight loss
- pain after a fall or injury
If you need help finding a primary care doctor, you can browse doctors in your area through the Healthline FindCare tool.
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