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Left Back Pain: Symptoms, Causes, Treatment, Prevention

Somebody has rightly said,” Pain is just a part of life” Each one of us meet with certain kind of pain which makes those painful times terrifying and we run after the things that can help us in freeing our body from the pain holding it. Left back pain is one of such pains caused at times due to various reasons including muscle sprain, sciatica, kidney stones, etc and which can either be acute or maybe chronic enough to seek serious treatments.1 It is studied that about 80% of the Americans will be experiencing back pain in their lifetime. In this current article we will talk about some of the most common causes leading to the left back pain and also talk about some of the most effective ways to treat the pain on the left side of back.

Left Back Pain

Left Back Pain And Its Symptoms:

Usually lower back pain is experienced by most people in their adulthood (though can also be experienced by the younger ones). There can be pain experienced either in the right side of the back or in the left side. It has been known that left back pain is more common in people than the right back pain.

Symptoms of Pain on the left side of the back may include the following:

  • A kind of aching pain in the left side of the lower back that is sometimes punctuated by periods of rapid increase in intensity.
  • The pain can shift down through the hips and to the legs.
  • Sometimes people also meet with a hot-poker type sensation where they feel a serious numbness and cold sensation in their legs or feet.
  • One major symptom will be back stiffness.

Types Of Left Back Pain:

Any kind of pain can be described under two primary categories, including the acute pain and the chronic pain. Left back pain can also be studied under these two following categories.

  • Acute Left Back Pain: Any type of the pain in the back that lasts no longer than a period of three months are categorized into acute back pain. Home treatments can clear out such pain in the left side of the back in an effective way.
  • Chronic Left Back Pain: The left back pain that last for more than three months are categorized into chronic back pain and people with such type of pain on the left back require more intensive treatments and better care.

Left Back Pain: What Can Cause Back Pain On The Left Side?

Left Back Pain: What Can Cause Back Pain On The Left Side?

Following might be some of the causes leading to left sided back pain.

  • Lower back Strain Causing Left Sided Back Pain:

    There are a group of muscles and ligaments which run all through the length of the spinal cord and provide it support and facilitates its movement.2 Whenever there is an excess of pressure or there is overuse of the spine due to any physical activity there can be strain in the tissues. This can also link to small tears in the tissue which cause serious pain.

  • Sciatica Causing Left Sided Back Pain:

    Left back pain can also be possible if you have sciatica.3 Sciatica is also called as Herniated Disc where the discs providing cushion to the spine are forced out of its regular position and this further leads to compression of an adjacent nerve. As nerves are extremely sensitive, there begins a severe pain with the herniated disc. This excessive compression of lower back, the sciatic nerve state is known as sciatica. There is a serious numbness and excessive pain in the affected area.

  • Pregnancy & Left Sided Back Pain:

    One more possible condition which can lead to left back pain is pregnancy.4 As the baby inside grows with its size, the uterus can compress the pain sensitive structures which also includes nerves. There are also complaints of pain down the buttock because of the compression of sciatic nerve in pregnancy. Added to this, what can be added to the left back pain in pregnancy is the growing weight of the body

  • Kidney Infections Causing Back Pain on Left Side:

    There can be severe low back pain caused due to kidney infection.5 The infection usually begins from the bladder and moves up to the kidneys leading to swelling, inflammation and pain. This pain can be felt along the spine and above the hip. With movement this pain can go worse. So in case you are meeting with left back pain it may also be a chance of kidney infection.

  • Kidney Stones As a Cause For Back Pain on Left Side:

    Lower back pain on the left side can also be due to kidney stones. A sensation of urgency to urinate is one common symptom with the people suffering from kidney stone. Here in such a condition the pain can be felt in the lower abdomen and also down the groin.

  • Spinal Stenosis Causing Left Back Pain:

    There is one more condition where the pain in left back pain may be felt. The condition termed as spinal stenosis is something where the spinal canal starts narrowing and gets encroached on the spinal cord.6 It is found that people with arthritis or herniated discs have more chances of being encountered with spinal stenosis

  • Some Other Possible Causes For Left Back Pain:

    There are a number of other health conditions which can commonly cause lower back pain, especially on the left side. Some other such conditions include fibroid tumors, gastrointestinal issues, pancreatic inflammation etc. The best way to find out your reason for back pain is meeting a healthcare professional.

Treatment For Left Back Pain

Treatment For Left Back Pain:

If you are looking for the treatment for left back pain, then here is where you find in the following list.

  • For treating left back pain due to muscle strain, it is advised to follow ice treatment by applying ice packs for at least 15-20 minutes several times a day. There are also pain relievers like Ibuprofen which can be taken for relieving the pain. Physical therapy is also advised with thorough consultation of the doctor or physiotherapist.
  • In case the left back pain is due to sciatica then you might require OTC pain killers to relieve pain and along with some kind of prescribed physiotherapy treatments. Sometimes corticosteroid injections might be required to limit the pain. Massage therapy is also recommended to reduce the pain in left back. There are very serious conditions in sciatica where surgery may be required.
  • In case you are running with pregnancy phase and suffering from left back pain then be sure to maintain a good posture and also adopt a side lying position while resting or while in the bed. Be sure you are maintaining physical activity in a normal level. Ice treatments or heat treatments can be done in case required along with the prescribed physical therapies.
  • In case if the left back pain is caused due to kidney infection, a doctor’s visit is highly essential. With the arrival of symptoms similar to kidney infection, make a visit to the doctor for taking essential antibiotics to treat the infection. In certain cases, there may be a requirement of hospitalization for intravenous antibiotic treatment.
  • There are prescribed anti-inflammatory and narcotic pain medications for the left back pain caused due to kidney stones. It is advised to take plenty of water and keep the water hydrated. Sometimes there may be requirements for some advance medical procedures to treat kidney stones.
  • In case your left back pain is diagnosed to be the result of spinal stenosis, prescribed treatments would be non steroidal medications, antidepressants, narcotic medications and muscle relaxers. Physical therapy can also help in maintaining strength and aid in improving balance. Steroid injections are also required for long lasting pain relief in many cases and surgery may be required in some cases.

Do’s & Don’ts For Left Back Pain:

There are some points to be kept in mind and some tips to follow in case you are suffering from the left back pain. Below mentioned are some of the crucial points which will help you reduce the pain and prevent your condition from getting worse.

  • Do not rest much in case you have a mild or acute back pain. Having more of rest can create more painful conditions. So do not take a rest of more than 3 days in case you are with mild left back pain.
  • Do not completely limit exercising. Though strenuous activities are to be ignored in case of left back pain, walking can actually prove helpful.
  • Make sure you are maintaining a good posture. Do make sure you are not putting any unwanted stress on your back.
  • Doing core exercises will benefit you in case you are having left back pain. People will chronic left back pain can be benefited by strengthening the abdominal muscles. By doing this we can reduce the strain on our lower back.
  • Take the advantage of ice and heat treatments. Applying hot and cold packs in case of left back pain provides enough relief.
  • If you are into smoking, quit it for it also causes negative impact on your lower back. Nicotine constricts the blood vessels and restricts them from supplying blood to the small and soft tissues.
  • Make a proper sleeping habit. Keep a note to put pillow between two knees, make use of small pillow while sleeping etc.
  • Do practice talk-therapy and keep away from depression and anxiety. Such conditions can result in lower back pain. so if you are meeting with left back pain and trapped with any kind of depression, do have a try on talk-therapy.
  • Practice meditation, and various other relaxation techniques for improvement.

Preventive Measures For Left Back Pain:

If you are looking for some ways to prevent the left back pain or back pain on left side, here are the points your must follow on a strict note.

  • Keep a proper posture while sitting, standing or even sleeping. Make sure your head, shoulder and back are in alignment with each other.
  • Be sure you are not slouching while sitting at your desk.
  • Keeping a pillow between your knees while sleeping is recommended.
  • High heels are just not the right stuff! Do avoid high-heeled shoes
  • Try to maintain the body weight with regular exercise.
  • Smoking can lead to various conditions that increase the chances for being encountered by the left back pain. So avoid smoking.

When To Meet A Doctor For Left Sided Back Pain:

Now with the above causes of left back pain it is very clear that there are conditions when we need to make an immediate visit to the doctor. So here below are some of the conditions where it becomes highly necessary to meet a doctor for immediate treatment.

  • In case there is sudden weight loss or night time sweat.
  • Rapid loss of strength, extreme weakness etc
  • Severe abdominal pain
  • Difficult to control bowel movements.
  • Intense feel of emergency urination.


There is a saying, “Every little thing will be all right.” All it needs is a little try towards making it true. Make a doctor’s visit, go for the prescribed diagnosis and Look for the available treatments for you left back pain and accordingly take the essential treatments, following the preventive measures and looks how the pain vanishes.


Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:June 11, 2019

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