What Is Lower Back Pain
Low back pain can result from many different injuries, conditions or diseases most often, an injury to muscles or tendons in the back.
Pain can range from mild to severe. In some cases, pain can make it difficult or impossible to walk, sleep, work or do everyday activities.
Usually, lower back pain gets better with rest, pain relievers and physical therapy . Cortisone injections and hands-on treatments can relieve pain and help the healing process. Some back injuries and conditions require surgical repair.
Lower Left Back Pain For Males
Males are not exempted when it comes to gender-exclusive lower left back pain problems. Men can develop inflammation of their epididymitis, which is the duct behind the testes. Common factors that set off this inflammation are viral or bacterial infections. Physical trauma can do this as well. This condition happens mostly to men 20 to 30 years old, but it can happen to males of any age. Antibiotics are the treatment for this bacteria, but more severe cases will require surgery in order to drain or remove the epididymitis.
Theres also testicular cancer, a condition that develops in about 1 out of every 250 males, according to the American Cancer Society. Lower back pain is one of the symptoms of this disease, accompanied by pain in the testicles, dull ache in the abdomen, groin pain, and a lump in one or both testicles. Treatment options include surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy.
How To Treat Lower Back Pain On The Left Side
If your problem doesnt require hospital treatment, home treatments are usually enough to address the problem. Time, rest, and pain relievers should do the trick. Self-care treatments include ice and hot packs, topical pain-relieving lotion or cream, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, and limiting activities that can cause or aggravate your pain.
If your condition requires medical treatment, your potential pain relief solutions include physical therapy, muscle relaxants, nerve blocks, and anticonvulsant medication for certain nerve issues. A lumbar spine steroid injection can provide you temporary relief from bothersome pain. Stronger pain medications include hydrocodone which will certainly come in handy when ibuprofen cant handle your chronic pain. Now do take note that these drugs can be habit-forming, so always stick to your doctors instructions when taking them.
If you have kidney problems, you may need antibiotics or treatment to break up or remove kidney stones. If your condition is that severe, surgery may be the only option for you.
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Is Lower Back Pain A Sign Of Covid
Any common ache or pain can be triggered or aggravated by any infection. It just so happens that COVID-19 is unusually good at spreading body aches, including the upper and lower back. Although back pain is listed as one of the possible symptoms of the coronavirus, it doesnt automatically mean you have it when youre experiencing some back discomfort.
All infections lower our pain thresholds and the coronavirus is no different. If you were already having chronic back pain in the past, any infection can cause it to flare up. Although some COVID-19 patients experience worse back pain than others, its probably more about their vulnerability to back pain than it does about the coronavirus.
In a lot of cases, its not caused by the virus itself, but by the lifestyle changes brought on by the lockdown. People are complaining more about having back problems due to sitting all day long, especially those who are working from home.
What Causes Lumbar Strain
Injury can damage the tendons and muscles in the lower back. Pushing and pulling sports, such as weight lifting or football, can lead to a lumbar strain. In addition, sports that require sudden twisting of the lower back, such as in tennis, basketball, baseball, and golf, can lead to this injury.
Certain risk factors can increase the risk for this injury. The risk factors are:
- Severe lower back curvature
- Weak back or belly muscles
- Tight hamstrings
Recommended Reading: Mayo Clinic Lower Back Pain Exercises
How To Treat Low Back Pain
- Over-the-counter pain medications such as acetaminophen, aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen to relieve pain and inflammation.
- Prescription drugs like muscle relaxants or pain relievers can provide short-term relief.
- Over-the-counter topical creams, gels, patches, or sprays with lidocaine, menthol, or capsaicin stimulate nerves in the skin, dulling pain. They can be particularly helpful for localized pain due to sore muscles.
- Hot or cold pads may help ease pain, reduce inflammation, and improve mobility.
- Core exercises that strengthen your abs and muscles lining the spine may help take the stress off the back, Rosner says. Check with your doctor before beginning any exercise program to make sure the exercises are right for your condition.
- Mindfulness-based stress reduction , an eight-week program of meditation and gentle yoga, can improve chronic lower back pain.
The Most Common Causes Of Lower Back Pain Are A Strain Or Sprain
Whether you notice it or not, your lumbar spine gets put to work throughout the entire day.
Amid all of this work and motion, a lower back sprain or strain can result from an acute injury, such as one experienced while falling, lifting something too heavy or playing sports. A sprain or strain can also develop over time due to repetitive movements or poor posture.
“Straining a muscle or spraining a ligament are the most common causes of lower back pain,” says Dr. Palmer. “While they can be serious, these common causes of lower back pain aren’t long-lasting taking anywhere from a few days to heal or, at most, a few months.”
Your doctor can help you determine the particular course of self-care that can help heal your lower back pain.
“The treatment for a pulled back muscle or strained back ligament is fairly simple and can include pain and anti-inflammatory medications, muscle relaxers, ice to help reduce inflammation, heat to promote healing, and avoiding strenuous activity until the pain recedes,” explains Dr. Palmer. “The best course of care will depend on the severity of your injury as well as your overall core and lower body strength.”
If your lower back pain persists despite treatment, it may be time to consider other causes of lower back pain.
Read Also: Mayo Clinic Low Back Pain Exercises
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.
- 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:
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.
Stretching Exercises For Back Pain Relief
According to physiotherapist Dr. Phil Page, gentle back stretches can help to release muscular tension and at the same time strengthen the back.20
Prayer stretch to release tension from your middle back:
Framing the door exercise:
This exercise helps to increase mobility in your middle and upper back and can help to alleviate thoracic back pain.
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When Is It An Emergency
Lower left back pain can range from mildly uncomfortable to so severe pain that it ishard to function or move.
If you develop sudden, severe pain in your lower back, seek emergency medical care.
If the pain is milder, but does not resolve within 5-7 days, seek medical care.
If your symptoms worsen, are severe,or you also have fever andchills, go to the nearest medical facility and contact your healthcare provider.
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.
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Common Causes Of Sharp Stabbing Lower Left Side Pain In The Back
The most common causes of stabbing, sharp pain in the lower left side of the back include:
- An injury to structures along the spinal column such as facet joints or spinal discs
- Damage of soft tissue structures that support the spine such as the ligaments or muscles
- Conditions that affect internal organs such as the intestines, kidneys, or reproductive organs
Possible Reasons For Lower Back Pain When Sitting
Every year, millions of Americans miss work days because of lower back pain. Its a common condition caused by several factors, ranging from something as simple as poor posture and strained muscles to a more serious condition like spinal stenosis. Back pain is also aggravated even by normal movements like walking or sitting.
So what are the possible causes of lower back pain that gets worse when sitting? Lower back pain when sitting might be a result of poor posture, strained muscles, trauma, or injury. However, it might also be a symptom of a more serious health condition like sciatica, herniated disk, spinal stenosis, sacroiliac joint dysfunction, degenerative disc disease, spondylolisthesis, and cauda equina syndrome.
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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
Kidney Stones Or A Kidney Infection:
Kidney stones are made from minerals and salts that form inside your kidneys and often form when your urine is too concentrated.
They can affect any part of your urinary tract from your kidneys to your bladder and can be extremely painful to pass. Most back pain caused by kidney stones occurs when the stone or stones move within your kidney or passes into your ureter
Kidney infections most often occur when bacteria enter your urinary tract. According to the Mayo Clinic, symptoms of a kidney infection can include:
- Pus or blood in your urine
- Urine that smells bad or is cloudy
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Lower Left Back Pain From Your Internal Organs
If muscle strain or an issue with your spinal structures is not identified as the cause of your symptoms, your doctor will likely then look toward your internal organs. Although it is less common, your lower left back pain may be provoked by a variety of problem with your internal organs, including:
- Kidney stones
Lower left back symptoms caused by a problem with an internal organs can vary widely based on the organ. In light of this, your recent medical history will be particularly helpful in determining which internal organ may be the source of your symptoms. In addition, x-rays, CT scans, and blood tests may be ordered to confirm that a particular internal organ is the cause of your symptoms.
I hope all of the above information will help you better communicate with your doctor, which in turn can set you on a quicker path to healing.
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.
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How Common Is Lower Back Pain
Around four out of five people have lower back pain at some point in their lives. Its one of the most common reasons people visit healthcare providers.
Some people are more likely to have lower back pain than others. Risk factors for lower back pain include:
- Age: People over 30 have more back pain. Disks wear away with age. As the disks weaken and wear down, pain and stiffness can result.
- Weight: People who are obese or carry extra weight are more likely to have back pain. Excess weight puts pressure on joints and disks.
- Overall health: Weakened abdominal muscles cant support the spine, which can lead to back strains and sprains. People who smoke, drink alcohol excessively or live a sedentary lifestyle have a higher risk of back pain.
- Occupation and lifestyle: Jobs and activities that require heavy lifting or bending can increase the risk of a back injury.
- Structural problems: Severe back pain can result from conditions, such as scoliosis, that change spine alignment.
- Disease: People who have a family history of osteoarthritis, certain types of cancer and other disease have a higher risk of low back pain.
- Mental health: Back pain can result from depression and anxiety.
How To Treat Lower Left Back Pain
One of the best ways to treat lower left back pain or pain on the right side of your lower back is to apply a heat pad. Heat helps to increase blood circulation to the sore muscles and ligaments to speed up the healing process. This type of pain-relief treatment for lower left back pain can be used to relieve back pain caused by strained muscles, inflammation of internal organs, or back pain associated with a womans menstrual cycle.
For information on when to use cold or heat pack for muscle strain and injury, please read my article on using cold and heat therapy for muscle pain and stiff joints.
Dr. Carol DerSarkissian on WebMD says that heat packs are a great way for relieving lower back pain, upper back pain, muscle spasms, abdominal cramping, fibromyalgia, stiff joints, and easing reduced joint movement in the lower back.25
How to Use:
This is how to make your own heat pack at home to ease lower left back pain:
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Unexplained Acute Low Back Pain
Unexplained low back pain means chronic pain that comes on gradually, over time, with no specific injury, event, or illness causing it.
- Prolonged sitting and lack of fitness can weaken back muscles and cause pain from lack of support.
- Ankylosing spondylitis, a form of arthritis.
- Spinal stenosis, a narrowing of the spinal column that puts pressure on the spinal cord.
- Certain types of cancer, in rare cases.
Those most susceptible are over 30, overweight and/or pregnant, and not physically fit. Smoking interferes with healing after any sort of stress to the back.
If there are additional symptoms, medical care should be sought: fever, unexplained weight loss, leg weakness or numbness, or trouble urinating.
An exact diagnosis is made through blood tests and through imaging such as x-rays, CT scan, or MRI.
Once more serious causes are ruled out, treatment may include medications to ease pain, swelling, and inflammation. Steroid injections are useful in some cases.
Overall, exercise and maintaining a healthy weight can be very helpful with easing chronic low back pain.
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