On occasion, lower back pain may be felt primarily on the left side of your body. Here is when this lower left back pain requires a trip to the doctor:
Begin with conservative treatments
In most cases, the first step to determining if your lower left back pain requires a trip to the doctor is to try conservative treatments. These include:
- Modification to your daily activities. Certain activities or body positions may be aggravating your pain. Try avoiding these positions or activities, while staying active, and your pain may subside.
- Heat and/or cold therapy. Heat therapy can relax tight muscles, while cold therapy can reduce your inflammation.
- Over-the-counter-medications. Anti-inflammatory drugs like aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen can help alleviate your lower left back pain by minimizing inflammation.
When to see a doctor for lower left back pain
If these conservative measures do not alleviate your symptoms, it is appropriate to schedule an appointment with your doctor. In addition, it is a good idea to see your doctor for lower left back pain if:
- Your pain follows an accident or injury
- Your pain gets worse
- Your pain interferes with your day-to-day functioning
When lower left back pain is a medical emergency
In some cases, lower left back pain may be a symptom of a medical emergency. Make sure to seek immediate medical care if you experience lower left back pain along with:
- Dizziness, confusion, or shortness of breath
- Nausea or vomiting
- Bowel and/or bladder incontinence
- Continuous or periodic fever and chills
Remember that all of the above advice regarding when to see a doctor for your lower left back pain only constitutes general guidelines. And at the end of the day, it is usually better to be safe than sorry; so when in doubt it is a good rule of thumb to go ahead and seek medical help.