Left Side Back Pain
Upper Left Side to Middle Back Pain:
Upper left side back pain is less common than lower left back pain. This is because the bones in the upper region of our bodies are much less flexible than bones elsewhere. This area is commonly known to range from the base of the neck to the rib cage. This includes the shoulder blades and the connection of the rib cage to the thoracic region. The area includes many structures that may cause pain, including shoulder joints, muscles, tendons, ligaments, and nerves. Commonly issues in this area arise from the musculoskeletal, this includes things like fractured vertebrae.
Common Symptoms of Upper Left Side Back Pain:
Sharp and Stabbing pain
Limited pain - occurring during specific activities
Common Conditions Related to The Upper Left Back:
(My pain is radiating down the left side of my neck) - Pinched Nerve or Cervical Radiculopathy:
A pinched or inflamed nerve occurs within a person's spine. Our nerves are major carriers of information from the brain to the rest of the body, and vice-versa. There are two different types of nerves, motor and sensory. If a nerve is pinched or inflamed, the signal of this information sending is interrupted in some way. A pinched nerve occurs when too much pressure is applied to a nerve by surrounding tissues. This can be caused by a variety of things, including compression, constriction, or overstretching of the nerve. If you have a pinched or inflamed nerve in your upper left back your symptoms are most likely pain that is sharp and radiating down your neck, numbness or burning sensation, and the feeling of weakness on the upper left back. Pinched nerves often also come as a result from things like herniated disc, degeneration of disc, and bony growths.
Treatment for Upper Left Back Pinched Nerves:
If you’re suffering from a pinched or inflamed nerve we highly recommend you get rest to lead you to recovery. Along with rest, people often use medication and physical therapy, especially anti-inflammatory medication when it comes to inflamed nerves. It’s also recommended that you isolate your neck and keep it still during your recovery time. Neck collars or immobilizers are a great way to help lead you towards a faster recovery by isolation of the neck.
(My neck is stiff) - Arthritis or Cervical Spondylosis:
Arthritis is a condition that affects the joints, muscles, and/or bones. Any portion of the back can be affected by arthritis, including the upper left side of one’s back. However, it is worth noting that the lower back is the most common site for arthritis. Most of the causes associated with upper left back arthritis are age related. This means that upper back arthritis tends to be a degeneration disorder. This type of neck arthritis is often referred to as cervical spondylosis.
Treatment for Upper Left Quadrant Back Arthritis:
The key in treating upper left back arthritis is to work on strengthening and improving the flexibility in this area. Stretching and exercising is highly recommended in the recovery of cervical spondylosis.
Lower Left Side Back Pain:
If you’re experiencing lower left side back pain, you’re not alone! Nearly 60% of adults feel some form of lower back pain in their lifetime. Lower left side back pain is more common compared to the back pain felt on the lower right quadrant. Often we define lower left side back pain as ranging in between your hip and leg. Many people describe their lower left pain as dull and achy. Often times the pain in the lower back is known to increase with the intensity of activities. For example, you may feel the most pain when carrying groceries or going for a run. There’s good news about your lower back pain, it often times feels much more serious than it actually is. Most conditions that are associated with lower left back pain are fairly treatable, however, there are a few instances that may be something more serious.
Symptoms of Lower Left Quadrant Back Pain:
Intensely cold or intensely hot
Stabbing or shooting sensation
- Pain radiating down the lower body
Symptoms that Require Urgent Care
Severe pain after a fall or extreme impact
Loss of bladder control
(if you’re experiencing any of these symptoms along with back pain contact your doctor immediately)
Common Conditions Causing Lower Left Back Pain:
(My pain is acute, localized & infrequent) - Lower Back Muscle Strain:
If you’re experiencing fairly infrequent and acute pain in your left lower quadrant it’s likely some muscle or ligament strain. This injury generally isn’t too serious and often goes away on its own. However, there are circumstances where the injury and could be more severe. Muscle strain happens when the muscles in your body are over-stretched or torn. This type of muscle strain can result in damage to the muscle fibers. This type of strain usually causes the area to become inflamed. This inflammation can create a lot more problems for an individual, including back spasm - which can be extremely severe.
Treatment for Lower Left Back Muscle Strain:
Rest and medication are the best way to get rid of your pain quickly. However, you never want to rest for too long because this will weaken your overall muscles. Most muscle strains should go away within four days to a week. Another great option is bracing this area of the body. Check out BraceAbility’s selection of lower back braces here.
(My pain is numbing & worsens at night) - Herniated Disc:
Your spinal column is made up of a series of vertebrae stacked one on top of the other. These vertebrae range from seven in the cervical spine, 12 in the thoracic spine, and five in the lumbar spine. These vertebrae are cushioned by discs that protect them and absorb shock. It’s not uncommon for one of these discs to slip, this is referred to as a herniated disc. The lower back is one of the most common places to experience a herniated disc. The pain most commonly felt is described as numb and progressively worse at night. Herniated disc often worsen when performing an activity such as walking or running.
Treatments for a herniated disc can vary greatly. The treatment you and your doctor decide on will depend on the level and frequency of discomfort. Many people can relieve herniated disc injuries through exercise and physical therapy. We highly recommend you avoid heavy lifting during recovery, and if needed take over the counter medication. It can often time be difficult to understand the difference between a herniated disc and other back conditions. If you’re struggling to understand the difference in what lower back condition you’re experiencing, read this blog article for clarity!
(My pain is in my lower left stomach) - Diverticulitis:
Diverticulitis happens when diverticula form in the wall of the colon. This type of condition is intestinal meaning it affects the intestines or stomach and abdomen area. These pouches of diverticula can get inflamed or infected and can become very painful. Often times, diverticulitis is associated with left side back pain because of the location in the stomach. Diverticulitis is not completely understood by doctors, specifically what causes it. The primary symptoms include belly pain in the lower left side of the body, fever, and chills, bloating of the stomach and diarrhea. If you think you may have diverticulitis please consult with your doctor for treatment ideas.
Left Hip & Groin Pain:
It’s not uncommon to experience hip pain or joint problems and confuse it with back pain. Hip pain is commonly what we call "referred pain," meaning pain or injury that occurred in your back or elsewhere may be felt in this region. If you’re experiencing pain that is located on the inside of your hip or near your groin it’s most likely caused by problems with your muscles, ligaments, and tendons. If you’re a female your hip pain is likely from arthritis or a fracture. This area is often the most difficult to treat because the structures of the area are very deep within the groin area, this includes the hip joint. If you're suffering from acute hip pain it is likely from an injury, not a chronic condition.
Pain in hip and groin: problems within the hip joint itself
Pain on the outside of the hip & groin: problems with muscles, ligaments, and tendons
Groin Pulls or Tears:
A pulled groin is a common injury in the area. This is caused by a strain to the hip abductors or the muscles that pull the legs together. These muscles are attached to the thighbones at the level of the hip and run down the side of the thigh. This injury occurs when the area is overused or overstretched, common amongst athletes.
- Hip pain
- Dull ache in the groin area
Your hamstring is made up of three distinct muscles, running down the back of your thigh. The hamstring muscles operate together as the knee flexor. Hamstring injuries most often occur when the muscles experience extreme stress and tear. It's extremely common to experience the effects of your hamstring injury in the groin and hip area. Often times, the injury will happen higher up, resulting in radiated pain to this area.