Lower Left Back Pain
If you are suffering from lower left back pain there are a few things you need to know and what to look for to determine the possible the cause and severity of your pain. The first question is typically how long have you been suffering. A gradual onset versus a more acute onset can often give some insight into the cause of your lower left back pain. Below are some of the of the more common causes.
Herniated Disc or Bulging Disc
Often times a disc can herniate or bulge causing an intense pain in the lower back and potentially the legs. If the disc herniation has occurred to the left of the midline the pain can be referred into the left side of the lower back. This pain can be sharp at times or my be experienced as a deep dull ache. Either way depending on the location of the protruding disc material it may also include pain in the the upper buttock area or even down into the legs. Disc injuries are often associated with muscle spasm as well, because the inflammation can irritate the exiting nerve and cause the back muscles to go into spasm. Treatments for a disc injury can include rest, anti-inflammatory medication, exercise, spinal injections, spinal decompression or even surgery depending on the severity.
Facet Joint Pain
If you have an irritated facet joint on the left side it can also lead to lower left back pain. The facet joints are the joints that connect each vertebrae together in posterior portion of the vertebral body. The facets allow movement by gliding upon each other. Each joint is surrounded by a capsule and the joint has lubrication that keeps it moving smoothly. When a facet joint stops moving properly or becomes injured or arthritis it can start to irritate the nerve called the medial branch. This can lead to pain referred in to the left lower back or even into the upper buttock or thigh area depending on what facet joint is affected. Treatments for facet joint pain may include chiropractic manipulation, physical therapy, facet joint injections or specific exercises and stretches.
Another common cause of lower left back pain can be a simple muscle sprain or strain. A muscular injury to the left lower back muscles can occur with improper lifting, twisting or a sudden jolt or trauma such as a sports injury or auto accident. This type of pain often feels like a deep burning or dull sensation and can limit range of motion or movement. A muscle strain can be very limiting with regards to motion, however it is better to keep the range of motion as full as possible without stresses the muscle to the point of pain. Treatments for muscle strain include heat, ice, massage, gentle manipulation and rest. Rehabilitation should start as soon as it is tolerated to ensure the muscle does not heal in a shortened fashion.
These are just a few of the more common causes of lower left back pain. There are other conditions that may be more serious like kidney issues or other internal organ dysfunction. It is always important to consult a physician to get to the bottom of the problem once and for all and to initiate a treatment plan that is both safe and effective.