What are the Causes of Left Lower Back Pain and Right Lower Back Pain?


Back pain is extremely common in the American adult population.


Up to 80% percent of us will have some form of back pain in our lifetime.


This different type of lower back pains can come from muscular issues, spinal misalignment's, disc issues, pinched nerves, and more. So, with the many different types of low back problems that can occur, why do we get back pain specifically on our right side of our lower back versus the left side of our low back? In this article we are going to expand on specific causes for lower back pain on the right and left sides of our body.


Common Lower Back Pain Causes that can occur on either the Right or Left side:


Muscle Spasms: One of the most common causes of lower back pain is muscle spasms of the multifidus, quadratus lumborum, and the paraspinal musculature. This can create stiffness, decreased mobility and of course pain.


Spinal Misalignments: When the bones of our spine get stressed out of alignment through either trauma or bad bio-mechanics, it creates pain and tenderness at the location of the misalignment. It can also lead to decreased nerve function at the location of misalignment due to constant stress on the surrounding nerve.


Facet Syndrome: Facet syndrome occurs through a trauma or repetitive stress from work or an exercise we do every day. The lumbar facets in our lower back keep our spine from over-rotating. Facet joints are surrounded by a connective tissue and produce a fluid called, synovial fluid, to lubricate and nourish the joint.


This keeps the two bony surfaces from grinding on top of one another, similarly to how oil in an engine keeps the metal surfaces from scratching one another. In facet syndrome, the two bony surfaces that make up the facet joint become compressed together and can create a pain that stretches horizontally across your lower back.


Other Causes of Lower Back Pain on Either Side:


Kidney Stones or Infection: Either an infection or formation of kidney stones in your kidney will give a very specific pain in your lower back.


Kidney stones form in the kidneys but are felt when the stone tries to pass through the kidney into the ureters. It is typically a sharp pain that can be felt below the lowest rib on your back. This pain can induce nausea, vomiting. You can also see blood in your urine as well as experience painful urination.


With a kidney infection, you can experience all of the same symptoms as a kidney stone, but you will notice a more intense sensation upon movement, and the pain is typically felt along the side of your spine and on the upper area of your hip bone. Both conditions should be addressed by a medical professional as soon as possible.


Gynecological Disorders: Two common conditions that can create lower back pain is fibroids that grow on the uterus and endometriosis. Endometriosis is caused by excess uterine tissue growth outside of the uterus and can be described as a sharp, sporadic, and stabbing pain.


Fibroid growth on the uterus are typically benign and can cause abnormal mensuration as well as painful urination and painful intercourse. Be sure to talk with your gynecologists about these conditions if you are experiencing lower back pain and any of the mentioned symptoms above.


Vertebral Disc Bulge or Herniation and Associated Radiculopathy: A disc bulge or herniation can protrude into the local nerve on one side which can cause an excruciating pain that can make standing up straight difficult as well as walking.


Numbness in the leg, general pain down the leg, and leg weakness can accompany a disc bulge/herniation. This numbness, pain and associated weakness is due to a radiculopathy of the nerve the disc bulge is stressing.


Degenerative Joint Disease: Sometimes referred to osteoarthritis, is a chronic joint disease that is caused when the cartilage in between the joints deteriorates due to bad biomechanical stresses (like what happens with a spine misalignment), and slowly destroys the joint.


Osteoarthritis is most common in weight bearing joints such as the ankles, knees, and hips but can be seen in the spine and shoulders. When this condition occurs in your spine, it can cause stiffness, general achiness and pain, as well as decrease ranges of motion.


Pain in the lower back that is specific to the Left Side:


Pancreatitis: This condition occurs when the pancreas becomes inflamed. The pain can start in your upper left side of your abdomen and spreads to your left lower back. This pain is typically described as a dull sensation. Eating foods high in fat content can aggravate this condition.


Pain in the lower back that is specific to the Right side:


Appendicitis: Is an inflammation of the appendix. The appendix is a small pouch-like tissue on the side of the large intestine.


When the appendix is inflamed it can create lower right sided back pain, but it is more commonly seen as a pain that begins at the right lower portion of your belly button. It can also induce vomiting, nausea, fever and chills.


Your appendix can burst from being inflamed, which is a medical emergency. So, it is very important to get to hospital promptly to get treated, which is by removal of the appendix. Don’t worry though, you can live a full life without your appendix!


Gall Bladder Inflammation: It is typically noticeable after eating a meal and experiencing severe indigestion. The pain is typically in the upper right abdomen region but can be felt in the right lower back.


Liver Issues: Pain related to the liver may be caused by inflammation (hepatitis), an abscess, liver scarring (cirrhosis), or an enlarged or failing liver. Symptoms of liver problems include pain in the upper right abdomen and/or back, fatigue, nausea or lack of appetite, and jaundice. Liver problems are relatively rare in persons not already at risk.



Lower back pain generally points to a larger issue that needs to be addressed.


Fortunately, the most common causes of lower back pain on either the right or left side are easily corrected through Chiropractic treatment.


If you are tired of living with lower back pain or wondering why you are experiencing it, we can help! Click the link below to schedule your assessment.





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Reach Health and Wellness Chiropractic is located in the Chattanooga, Tennessee area specifically in Collegedale, TN, a short distance from Ooltewah, Cleveland, East Brainerd, East Ridge, Ringgold, Apison, and Harrison.


Dr. Ryan Lee is the practicing chiropractic physician at Reach Health and Wellness Chiropractic. For his full bio, click here.


*This content is strictly the opinion of Dr. Ryan Lee and is for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide medical advice or to take the place of medical advice or treatment from a personal physician. All readers/viewers of this content are advised to consult their doctors or qualified health professionals regarding specific health questions. Dr. Lee does not take responsibility for possible health consequences of any person or persons reading or following the information in this educational content. All viewers of this content, especially those taking prescription or over-the-counter medications, should consult their physicians before beginning any nutrition, supplement or lifestyle program.

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Reach Health and Wellness Chiropractic is located in the Chattanooga, Tennessee area specifically in Collegedale, TN, a short distance from Ooltewah, Cleveland, East Brainerd, East Ridge, Ringgold, Apison, and Harrison.

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