Left Lower Back Pain

The lower left back region is an elaborate structure that contains may different elements. There are muscles, tendons, receptive nerves that trail from the lower back all the way down to the feet, small yet intricate joints, and spinal discs. Lower left back pain can result if any of these are not properly functioning. This pain can be quite severe and chronic.

Age can be a factor in discerning the actual cause of lower left back pain. Younger individuals are more prone to spinal disc problems and back muscle strains. Adults over 60 are more likely to experience back pain caused by a joint degeneration disorder or a fracture.

Left lower back pain in young adults

Being young can actually make you more prone to certain medical conditions that cause lower left back pain. In this section we will explore three common causes, the associated symptoms, and treatment methods. We will also discuss some rare causes.

Symptom: Lower back pain that is more acute after activity.

Have you experienced any of the following?

  • Restrictions in your mobility. The pain prevents you from walking, standing, and normal activity.
  • Pain that is localized to the lower back.
  • The pain is tender and dull.
  • Muscle spasms rack your back.
  • The lower back is tender to the touch.

Cause: Muscle strain.

The muscles or ligaments in the back can become strained or overstretched. This can occur from heavy lifting, sudden movement, or twisting. The degree of pain will depend upon the severity of the strain; it can be mild or severe.

Treatment: A back muscle strain can generally heal through home treatment methods. When you first notice the lower back pain, it is important that you rest and apply either an ice or heat pack to the affected area. Anti-inflammatory medications can ease the pain and swelling, as can occasionally stretching the back.

Symptom: Lower left back pain that radiates down to the feet.

Have you experienced any of the following?

  • The lower left back pain is chronic (long-lasting).
  • The pain is quite severe in the leg and foot.
  • The pain is restricted to one leg or one side of the buttocks.
  • Pain is heightened when sitting for prolonged periods of time. It can actually be alleviated by walking.
  • The pain is quite severe. It may be felt as a burning or tingling sensation.
  • Other symptoms include weakness and numbness of the back, leg or foot, as well as restrictions to mobility.

Cause: A lumbar herniated disc

A lumbar herniated disc occurs when there is spinal disc degeneration. Once the disc degenerates, the inner core seeps out, causing a herniated disc. This puts pressure on the spinal nerve, which causes the pain to radiate all the way down to the feet.

Treatment: Non-surgical treatment will be the initial method of treatment. Common treatment methods include physical therapy, chiropractic aid, anti-inflammatory medications, and oral steroids.

If the pain does not decrease after non-surgical treatment, surgery may be required. Surgery will aim to take the pressure off of the spinal root nerve in order to relieve the pain.

Symptom: Lower back pain that is intensified when sitting

Have you experienced any of the following?

  • The lower back pain is persistent and accompanied by muscle spasms.
  • The pain is severe.
  • The pain is intensified when sitting.
  • The pain may be decreased by walking and other movement.

Cause: Degenerative disc disease

This condition can affect young individuals. It occurs when the spinal discs deteriorate. This damage can result in inflammation, pain, and muscle spasms.

Treatment: Pain and anti-inflammatory medications can be taken to relieve the pain, inflammation, and muscle spasms. Cortisone injections into the spine, physical therapy, and ice or heat pads are also help reduce pain and inflammation.

Left lower back pain in older adults

Individuals over 60 are quite prone to lower back pain. In this section we will explore the common causes for lower left back pain.

Symptom: Lower back pain is intensified in the morning and evening.

Have you experienced any of the following?

  • The pain interferes with sleep.
  • The pain is more noticeable in the morning and evening
  • The lower back region is tender when touched.
  • The pain is either constant or periodic. It may be intensified with activity.
  • There may be a loss of flexibility, which can prevent you from bending over.

Cause: Facet joint osteoarthritis

Facet joint osteoarthritis is a medical condition that is caused when the cartilage between the facet joints in the spine breaks down. This breakdown results in lower back pain.

Treatment: Treatment aims to relieve the pain and increase mobility. This includes frequent stretching, chiropractic intervention, mild exercise (swimming), and prescribed medications.

Symptom: Lower left back pain that encompasses the leg.

Have you experienced any of the following?

  • Restrictions in mobility; the pain may be so severe that walking is unbearable.
  • Sitting down relieves the back pain.
  • The symptoms develop gradually.
  • Other symptoms include weakness, numbness, and tingling.

Cause: Lumbar spinal stenosis

Lumbar spinal stenosis is when the spinal nerve canal narrows, which puts pressure on the spinal nerves. This causes pain when the individual is standing erect or walking.

Treatment: Physical therapy is strongly recommended, as it will offer viable exercises that can help relieve pain. Anti-inflammatory medications such as Advil or ibuprofen reduce pain and inflammation. Surgery may also be an option, but it is seen as a last resort. Surgery will only be performed if lumbar spinal stenosis significantly interferes with the individual's daily life.

Symptom: Lower back pain that starts suddenly.

Have you experienced any of the following?

  • The pain is intensified by standing or walking.
  • Immobility, such as lying down, reduces the pain.
  • There may be a loss of height.
  • There will be limited flexibly in the spine that may actually be a deformity.

Cause: Compression fracture

This is the most likely cause of lower left back pain in individuals over the age of 50, especially for women with osteoporosis or individuals who have used corticosteroids for an extended period of time. Compression fractures occur when there is great force put on the spine, resulting in a fracture.

Treatment: The goal of spinal fracture treatment is to relieve pain and reduce mobility to prevent further damage. A brace can be worn to stabilize the spine and surgery can be performed to fix the fracture.

Rare causes

Above we have exhibited the most common causes for lower left back pain, but there are a few others that are less common. These include infection, a spinal tumour, fibromyalgia, coccydnia, piriformis syndrome, etc.

How to relieve left lower back pain

There are a few things that you can do at home to relieve left lower back pain. We have listed them below.

  • A pillow: placing a pillow between your knees while you sleep can relieve the pain. For this to be most effective, you should sleep on one side.
  • Exercise: Low impact exercise can relieve lower back pain. Yoga, swimming, and stretching are all recommended.
  • Medication: Non-prescription anti-inflammatory medication, such as Advil or Ibuprofen, can reduce pain and inflammation.
  • Ice or heat pads: Applying these to the lower back can ease pain and tenderness.
  • Avoid bed rest: This may sound contradictory, but most experts believe that extended bed rest can actually hinder recovery. It can also cause bed sores, depression, and blood clots.

Lower back pain may result from a number of different causes, which may depend upon the individual's age. There are several things that you can do at home to relieve the pain, so you should explore all home treatment methods to determine the most effective one for you.