Low back pain is sometimes felt only on one side of the body, either as a constant pain or as an ache that flares up for a time then subsides. Lower left back pain may be severe, sharp, and stabbing, or it may be a dull but constant ache. Some lower left back pain is alleviated or worse with movement and sensitive to pressure.
Common Sources of Lower Left Back Pain
Lower left back pain is typically caused by either of the following sources:
- Damage to the soft tissues supporting the spine and/or certain spinal structures, such as muscles, ligaments, and joints
- A problem or disease involving an internal organ in the mid back, abdominal or pelvic region, such as the kidneys, reproductive organs, and intestines
Most cases of lower back pain stem from minor injuries, such as a strained lower back muscle or ligament. While a muscle strain is minor and will heal within a few days or weeks, the pain may be severe and incapacitating.
Understanding possible causes of lower back pain, along with typical characteristics and symptoms, can help patients in consulting with their doctors for an accurate diagnosis and treatments.
When to See a Doctor
If lower left back pain can be effectively managed using over-the-counter pain relievers, activity modification, and/or hot or cold packs, medical attention may not be needed. As a general guideline, seeing a doctor for lower left back pain is recommended if the pain follows an accident or injury, if it does not get better on its own, worsens, or interferes with daily functions such as standing, walking, or sleeping, or if it is accompanied by other troublesome or progressing symptoms.
Some lower left back may indicate a medical emergency. For example, the following symptoms alongside lower left back pain may indicate a serious problem:
- Intense and sudden back pain that does not subside with rest
- Severe, unrelenting low back and/or abdominal pain
- Dizziness, confusion, or shortness of breath
- Persistent or sporadic fever and chills
- Nausea or vomiting
- Painful urination or blood in the urine
- Bowel and/or bladder incontinence
- Significant weakness, numbness, or tingling in the lower body
- Unexplained, significant weight loss
Any of these symptoms may signal a serious underlying condition and warrants prompt medical attention.