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What Does Lower Back Pain On The Left Side Mean

Herniated Or Slipped Disc

Back Pain Lower Left Side – Video 3 of 3

A herniated disc, also known as a slipped or ruptured disc, can cause intense pain in the lower back.

Between the bones of your spine are cushioned discs that allow the bones of your spine to rotate and bend without rubbing against one another.

Sometimes, these discs can be pushed out of place by heavy lifting, bending, or for unknown reasons. The out-of-place disc is considered herniated or slipped.

When this happens, the bulge from the disc creates pressure on the nerves of the spine which results in pain.

A herniated disc is typically caused by trauma or excessive activity.

If you live a sedentary lifestyle or are overweight, you may also be at greater risk of getting a herniated disc.

The location and type of pain you experience depends on which part of your spine has been affected.

For example, herniated discs in the low back can create pressure on the sciatic nerve, triggering sciatica.

A herniated disc may also interfere with other muscles, nerves, or ligaments, causing symptoms like:

  • Pain in the area of the disc
  • Pressure in the lower back
  • Numbness or tingling in the back
  • Numbness or tingling that happens in the legs or other areas affected by the nerve

Pain that is severe enough to limit your ability to stand or walk should be evaluated by your healthcare provider.

How Is Back Pain Diagnosed

To diagnose the cause of your middle back pain, your doctor will ask about your medical history and symptoms. Theyll perform a physical exam. Your doctor may also perform a more specific neurological exam if youre experiencing numbness and weakness.

Your doctor may also recommend one or more of the following tests:

  • blood tests

Warm Or Cold Compress

Applying a warm or cold compress to your sore ribs can help to reduce inflammation and get rid of the pain. Using heat or cold can help to treat muscle strains and tears and soothe nerve pain.

When should you use heat or cold for a rib injury that affects your muscles or nerves? Doctors from Johns Hopkins Medical center answer the question as follows:19

  • Cold treatment for rib pain. In the first 48 hours after the initial injury, use cold compresses to reduce swelling and prevent blood flow causing bruising.
  • Heat treatment for muscle pain in the back. After the initial swelling has gone down, you should switch to heat compresses to get rid of back pain. The heat increases blood circulation and promotes healing.

How to make a compress for sore rib pain relief:

You can use an old clean sock and rice to make an effective cold or hot compress. This is what you should do:

  • Fill an old sock 3/4 full with rice and tie at the top.
  • For a cold compress place the rice-filled sock in the freezer for a few hours.
  • To make a warm compress put the rice sock in a microwave and heat on full power for 1-2 minutes.
  • In the first 2 days after an injury, place the cold pack on the sore ribs or back for 15-20 minutes at a time. After this time, place the sock back in the freezer. Use every hour or so to reduce pain and swelling in an injured rib.

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    Diverticulitis And Other Digestive Problems

    Diverticulitis can also cause abdominal or lower left back pain. Small pouches can develop along the walls of the colon as you age, specifically on the left side of the abdomen. Diverticulitis results when bacteria accumulate in the pouches to the point where an infection forms. Other symptoms of diverticulitis include constipation, diarrhea, nausea, and fever.

    Muscle Strain Or Sciatica

    What does it mean when the left side of my lower back ...

    Muscle strain is often the cause of back pain from heavy lifting or vigorous exercise. But sometimes itâs due to small jelly-filled disks meant to protect the space between vertebrae. When one of these disks bulges or breaks, it can push on a nerve. When itâs the sciatic nerve, pain runs from the buttock down one leg. This is sciatica.

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    Most Common Causes Of Lower Back Pain On The Left Side

    There are many different conditions that can cause pain in the lower left back, but researchers show that muscle imbalance is the number one cause.

    This mostly happens in people who are left-handed or use the left side of their bodies more than the right one.

    Then, the muscles on the left side are overused, while the muscles on the right side are underused and underdeveloped. Apart from this, there are many more sources of lower back pain on the left side:

    Pain On The Left Side Of Your Body Might Mean A Lot Of Things Heres What Might Be Going On And When You Need To Worry About The Pain On This Area

    When you have pain anywhere, it can make you very worried. But when you have pain on left side of body, and thats the only place, you might start to wonder just what is going on there.The pain you feel might be sharp, or it might be a dull aching. It might be there all the time, or it might come and go. In many cases, pain on this area turns out to be a chronic condition, which makes it even more important to find answers about why you are hurting so much.

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    What Exactly Is The Lower Back Anyway

    Your lower back is known as the lumbar region of the spine. It has a lot of heavy lifting to do: The lumbar spine carries the weight of your entire upper body, plus biomechanical stresses that occur with movement.

    The lumbar spine has five vertebraebackbones. Each vertebra has a large disc cushiony gel wrapped in a tough membrane on its front side that acts as a shock absorber. Each vertebra also has two cartilage-lined facet joints on its back side. Working together, discs and facet joints allow the spine to safely bend and twist.

    Your lower back also includes ligaments, tendons, and muscles. Ligaments are strong bands that hold the vertebrae and discs together. Tendons attach muscles to the vertebrae. These structures help limit excessive movement that could harm the spinal cord.

    Rib Cage Nerve Damage

    How to Fix Lower Back Pain off to the Side

    Intercostal neuralgia is a condition that describes pain in the ribs caused by damage to the rib cage nerves. This can be the result of an injury, inflammation, injury to chest muscles, or shingles.

    According to a study published in the Journal of Neurology & Translational Neuroscience, nerve damage of the ribs can result in middle back pain that wraps around to the front of the chest. Depending on the location of the damaged nerves, you may also experience shoulder pain, chest pain, and pain in the upper thigh.7

    The symptoms of nerve damage that affects the thoracic spine and ribs include:

    • Sharp shooting pains in the left rib cage or right rib cage
    • Burning pains that cause a lot of discomfort
    • Muscle spasms in your back, shoulder, or arm
    • Tenderness when touching your rib cage
    • Loss of sensation in your middle back or chest wall

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    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.

    Muscle Sprain Or Strain

    This is the most common cause of pain, particularly of the right or left side of your lower back, says Dr. Gharibo. It often pops up because of poor posture, body mechanics, and deconditioning .

    Lifting something incorrectly or attempting to lift too much weight can lead to lower back pain, Dr. Gharibo says. You might feel a spasm when this happens, like your muscle is contracting quickly and painfully.

    If you experienced an event that led to a strain or spasm, the obvious next step is to avoid repeating that same activity. Lying down for a short period of time will take the pressure off of your spine, which may help relieve some of the discomfort, according to Dr. Gharibo.

    If you dont have conditions that stop you from taking certain medications, Dr. Gharibo suggests taking an over-the-counter pain reliever, too. He recommends acetaminophen and ibuprofen taken together to help aid the aches. If one pill doesnt work, two may better control the issue, he says.

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    When To Worry About Back Pain Thats Only On The Left Or Right Side

    Unless you experienced an obvious cause, like a fall, you probably arent dealing with a fracture that requires special care, says spine specialist Russell DeMicco, DO. Rarely do you need to worry just because your pain is only on the left side or right side of the back.

    The exceptions are:

    • Age: An older adult may experience a minor injury that results in a more serious condition either because they have low bone density, or they developed arthritis that causes pain.
    • Athleticism: Athletes may experience greater musculoskeletal wear and tear than the general population. Theyre often more vulnerable to fractures, herniated disks or arthritis.

    How Is It Diagnosed

    Why Do You Have Lower Back Pain on Left Side?

    Diagnosis comes through several options which are usually done in combination for a more accurate diagnosis. Your doctor will start with a physical exam which may include pressing in the area of your hip or your buttocks and moving your legs.

    In order to identify that the pain in in your sacroiliac joint and not somewhere else in your lower back, your doctor may decide inject a numbing medication directly into the joint. However, this is not always an accurate test since the medication can spread to other areas.

    You doctor might also send you for an X-ray to confirm. An MRI might be used if your doctor thinks you might have ankylosing spondylitis.

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    What Does Pain In Left Lower Side Of Stomach And Back Mean

    Pain in left lower side of stomach and back is quite a challenge to diagnose. The left lower side of your abdomen is also referred to as Left Lower Quadrant in medical terms. While dealing with abdominal pain, common as well as serious clinical conditions must be kept into mind.

    1. Colitis The parts ofthe colon on the left side are the splenic flexure and the descending colon. Inflammation and infection of the inner lining of the colon is called Colitis. Colitis may be acute or chronic.

    Causes Cause of colitis is widespread it could be infective, autoimmune, caused by the use of medications, drugs, alcohol or certain food substances.

    Signs and Symptoms Severe abdominal pain and tenderness. Fever, loss of appetite, weakness and occasionally bloody diarrhea may be seen.

    2. Diverculitis This is an inflammatory condition of abnormally formed diverticuli in the wall of the colon. Obesity, hereditary factors, lack of exercise, low vitamin D levels, smoking and alcohol abuse and use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are probable risk factors for developing diverticulitis.

    Signs and Symptoms Acute onset of pain in the left lower side of stomach. There may be fever, diarrhea or constipation and bloody stools will be seen in complicated cases of diverticulitis.

    3. Inflammatory Bowel Disease This term covers two major entities affecting the large and small intestine-Crohns disease and ulcerative colitis.

    Back Pain Culprit: Chronic Conditions

    Several chronic conditions can lead to low back pain.

    • Spinal stenosis is a narrowing of the space around the spinal cord, which can put pressure on the spinal nerves.
    • Ankylosing spondylitis inflames the joints of the spine, and sometimes the shoulders, hips, ribs, and other areas too. It causes chronic back pain and stiffness. In serious cases, spinal vertebrae start to fuse .
    • Fibromyalgia causes widespread muscle aches, including back pain.

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    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.

    What Are Your Lower Back Pain Treatment Options

    How to Relieve Right Sided Lower Back Pain with a L5 S1 Facet Decompression

    Fortunately, there are many non-invasive treatment options available today, and only rarely is surgery necessary for pain in the lower back. Treatment is based on the practitioners diagnosis and may include any of the following:

    • Rest and avoidance of the activity linked to the pain
    • Ice or heat therapy

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    Symptoms Of Pain On The Left Side

    Depending on the exact cause of your pain, you may have various degrees of pain. Sometimes, it can also be difficult to determine exactly where the pain is coming from.

    For example, pain associated with your heart can be a dull constant pain that radiates to your left shoulder and neck. But sometimes, the extreme discomfort may feel like there is a heavy weight pressing on your chest. However, if you have kidney or flank pain, you may feel this on the left or right side of your back, but the pain can also travel down to your abdomen and groin.

    Inflammation of your breastbone or tissue around the heart can cause sharp pains in your left chest that feels worse when you breathe in. The inflammation can also cause dull aches in your chest that cause general discomfort.

    Very often, digestive problems like constipation, excess gas, or inflammation in the intestines can cause sharp pains that seem to move around your abdominal area. However, sharp stabbing pains in the left side of the abdomen could indicate a serious problem with your spleen or pancreas.

    It is also important to tell the difference between cardiac-related pain and non-cardiac pain. Stress and panic attacks can bring on painful symptoms as if your heart is about to stop beating. However, the racing heartbeat that usually comes with a panic attack can also put extra strain on your heart and cause severe aching in your left chest.

    Sensations That Might Indicate A Medical Emergency

    1. Sharp pain rather than a dull ache: This could indicate a torn muscle or ligament, or a problem with an internal organ in the back or side.2. Radiating pain: This pain “moves” or shoots to the glutes or legs, which could indicate a nerve compression condition.

    3. Sudden weakness in the legs: Limb weakness can be caused by compressed nerves in the spine due to conditions like sciatica or spinal stenosis. However, sudden leg weakness could also indicate a stroke.4. Incontinence: Back pain paired with inability to control the bowels or bladder might be a sign of serious nerve compression or a spine infection, such as discitis or meningitis.5. Numbness or pins and needles in the groin or glutes: This is known as saddle anesthesia and is also a sign of a serious nerve or spine condition.

    If you have leg weakness, incontinence, and numbness together, you might have cauda equina syndrome, a serious illness characterized by spinal cord nerve damage. This is a medical emergency, and patients usually need surgery immediately to decompress the nerves and reduce permanent damage.

    Related reading: Get help for back, neck, and leg pain caused by spinal stenosis

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    When Is Lower Back Pain An Emergency

    Most episodes of lower back pain eventually resolve on their own, but there are times when you should seek urgent medical attention. Some of these situations include:

    • Patient is a child
    • Pain is severe, constant, suddenly or progressively worsens, and/or doesnt go away
    • Pain interrupts sleep

    While some situations may warrant immediate intervention, most cases are not urgent and can be scheduled at a time convenient for the patient.

    Signs Your Back Pain Might Be An Emergency

    Low Back Pain Pictures: Symptoms, Causes, Treatments

    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.

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    What Are Common Causes Of Lower Left Back Pain

    Lower left back pain can be caused by both internal and external factors. Lets look at both, so you have a better understanding of what might be precipitating your pain. Keep in mind that in some cases, lower left back pain can be caused by more than one thing, such as a sports injury exacerbated by driving or poor work ergonomics.

    When To Contact A Medical Professional

    • Back pain after a severe blow or fall
    • Burning with urination or blood in your urine
    • History of cancer
    • Loss of control over urine or stool
    • Pain traveling down your legs below the knee
    • Pain that is worse when you lie down or pain that wakes you up at night
    • Redness or swelling on the back or spine
    • Severe pain that does not allow you to get comfortable
    • Unexplained fever with back pain
    • Weakness or numbness in your buttocks, thigh, leg, or pelvis

    Also call if:

    • You have been losing weight unintentionally
    • You use steroids or intravenous drugs
    • You have had back pain before, but this episode is different and feels worse
    • This episode of back pain has lasted longer than 4 weeks

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