- The most common cause of left back pain is muscle strain.
- Other causes of pain in the lower left back include kidney infections, herniated discs, and pregnancy.
- To treat pain in the lower left back, take over-the-counter pain relievers, improve posture, and heat.
- For more suggestions, please visit Insider’s Health Reference Library.
Tingling or throbbing pain in the lower left of your back may prevent you from exercising and basic activities for a few days. The good news is that this may be because your back muscles or ligaments are strained and will heal over time.
But in some cases, unilateral back pain (such as the left side) indicates a serious problem, such as an infection or injury that requires medical attention.
Here are nine potential causes of pain on the left side of the lower back, when to see a doctor, and how to treat it yourself.
1. Muscle strain
The most common cause of pain in the left lower back is injuries to the muscles, tendons, and ligaments that support the spine, such as:
- Back injury caused by a fall or other accident
- Sudden twist
- Uneven weight distribution, such as carrying a heavy bag on one shoulder
- Bad posture
Michael Rosner, MD, a neurosurgeon at the George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences, said that if you feel sore, stiff, tingling or muscle cramps, it means that your back pain is caused by a muscle strain.
Late bladder infections or left kidney infections can cause persistent pain that radiates through the left lower back.
Anthony Chiodo, MD, clinical director of spinal cord injury medicine at the University of Michigan, said that if you have other symptoms, such as burning, fever or chills during urination, please see your doctor as soon as possible to check for infection.
3. Kidney stones
Kidney stones are mineral deposits in the urinary tract that can cause severe pain in the lower left part of the back, as well as pain in the lower abdomen, groin, and under the ribs. Another common symptom is hematuria.
Smaller stones can pass through the urinary tract without treatment, but the urologist may need to break them down with surgery or use shock waves to remove larger stones.
Endometriosis is a disease in which painful lesions grow outside the human uterus. It can cause pain in the lower left back, as well as severe cramps during menstruation and painful intercourse.
5. Stress fracture
Overtime repetitive physical activities, such as weightlifting or playing tennis, rowing, and gymnastics can strain the spine and cause stress fractures.
When you touch the area, the area may be injured, and the pain may be too severe to respond to over-the-counter treatments. Most cases will heal on their own within six to eight weeks, but the only way to get a correct diagnosis is through medical care.
More than two-thirds of pregnant women experience low back pain, the most common form being so-called posterior pelvic pain.
Pain in the back of the pelvis is a deep, throbbing pain, and you will feel pain on one or both sides of your lower back.
As your baby grows up, you may also feel sore back muscles. That’s because the baby’s weight will deviate from your center of gravity, which may require you to exercise different muscles in your back to compensate.
7. Sacroiliac joint dysfunction
Sacroiliac joint dysfunction refers to abnormal movement and inflammation of the joints connecting the hip bones and the lower spine.
Inflammation of the left hip joint can cause dull pain in the lower left back, usually accompanied by pain in the hip or upper back of the left thigh.
This condition may be chronic, or it may be the result of temporary stress. Risk factors include the effects of accidents such as pregnancy, uneven leg length, or falls.
8. Herniated disc
The lumbar intervertebral disc is the tissue cushion between each vertebra of the lower spine, which expands or compresses under pressure, resulting in a herniated disc.
Most people have no symptoms of a herniated disc, but some people experience pain and numbness on one side of the lower back, depending on the position of the disc. In rare cases, a ruptured or ruptured intervertebral disc causes severe pain and requires surgery to prevent permanent nerve damage.
“If you have radioactive leg pain or increased leg weakness, or bowel or bladder dysfunction, please go to the emergency room,” Chiodo said.
Although rare, spinal cancer or spinal tumors can cause back pain on the left or right side of the back.
Other symptoms may include unexplainable
, Fever, numbness, weakness or difficulty walking. However, it is important to note that this is a rare cause of back pain.
Pain in the lower left back is a common disease, usually the result of soft tissue damage. Most back pain can be treated at home and should disappear within a few weeks.
Other symptoms such as fever or severe pain that last more than a few days may indicate a more serious underlying cause, such as a ruptured disc, fracture, or infection.
If you feel numb in your arms or legs, have problems walking or standing, or if you cannot control your bladder or bowel, consult your doctor as soon as possible.