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:

  1. Damage to the soft tissues supporting the spine and/or certain spinal structures, such as muscles, ligaments, and joints

    See Lumbar Spine Anatomy and Pain

  2. 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.

See Pulled Back Muscle and Lower Back Strain

Other instances of lower back pain may signal a problem with an abdominal organ, or even present as a symptom of a larger problem, such as fibromyalgia or ankylosing spondylitis.

See Causes of Lower Back Pain


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 Seek a Medical Attention

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

    See Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm

  • 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

    See Cauda Equina Syndrome

  • 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.

Dr. Lawrence Alexander is an orthopedic surgeon with more than a decade of clinical experience treating back and neck conditions with surgical and non-surgical methods. He specializes in minimally invasive spine surgery.