Lower Right Back Pain: Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis & Treatment

Back pain is not uncommon. Lower back pain is a universal phenomenon that nearly affects every individual. Some may specifically experience lower right back pain. Lower back comprises the right part of the spine, lower spinal vertebrae, lumbar, and the hip. The pain spread along region affecting the right side of your lower back area.

Lower Right Back Pain – An Overview

lower right back pain
Lower right back pain
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It can be acute or chronic pain. Many people who suffer from lower right back pain experience sharp or shooting pain. However, the entire lower right spinal region aches for a long time. The sharp tingling pain may be short-lived. In chronic cases, it lasts for several hours.

When the pain is chronic, it also causes stabbing and burning sensation. Over time, the pain travels through the lower part of the body and leads to numbness in the limbs.

How severe is a lower right back pain? While the pain itself remains intolerable, sometimes it causes instability, lack of balance and makes the person weak. Affected people are unable to perform daily activities. Some of the physical activities may awaken or trigger the pain in lower right back. Sometimes, the pain remains constant but worsens with movements.

Causes of Lower Right Back Pain:

The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, which is a department of the National Institute of Health states briefs about the origins of back pain. Lower back is an arrangement of the muscles, bones, and tissues that connect the neck and pelvis. Any problem arising in the connection tissues, causes back pain, including lower side of right back.

Sometimes the pain that may arise in the lower back can be muscle pain. In other cases, the pain in the right side of lower back has no association with the lower back. In general, the lower right back pain associated with the history of falling, heavy weight lifting, sports-related injuries and sudden jerks.

  • Spinal problems
  • Musculoskeletal problems of the internal organs also lead to lower back pain.
  • Any damage or injury to the internal organs also causes pain in the lower back.
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Let us see briefly about the causes of lower right back pain.

Spinal problems that cause lower right back pain:

In many cases, spinal issues cause lower right back pain-

  1. Sciatica – It indicates compression of nerves on the right side of the spine. The nerve from the right spine and hip extends to buttocks. There is a further extension of the nerve to knee, calf muscle and heel of the right leg. Compression of the nerve in right side causes throbbing pain and numbness in the right lower back. It pain also extends to right leg.
  2. Osteoporosis – It is a bone disorder that may affect the pain. It weakens the bone, makes it fragile and leads to compression and fracture.
  3. Spinal stenosis – Spinal canal becomes narrow and causes sharp pain in the lower right back. It also creates burning sensation and numbness.
  4. Spinal infection and congenital spinal conditions like scoliosis also trigger lower right back pain.
Musculoskeletal problems that cause lower right back pain:

The most common cause of the lower right back pain is muscle damage or injury.

  1. Accidents or injuries to bones, muscles, tissues, spinal vertebrae and ligaments in the lower back causes pain in the lower right region. It can be accidental damage or sports injury. On a lighter note, damage to the structure of the muscles and bones causes the pain.
  2. Protrusion of intervertebral disc, disc bulge, and disc prolapsed are the other common conditions that trigger lower right back pain. The discs serve as cushions located between the spinal vertebrae and offer protection. When the disc protrudes or bulges, it causes severe damage to the vertebrae and results with intolerable pain in the lower right side.
  3. Muscle spasms or tensed muscles in the right side of the spine.
  4. Joint problems, an age-related illness like spondylosis, arthritis, etc. affects the lower back. It also causes severe lower right back pain.
Damages to internal organs:

Damage or injury to internal organs also causes lower right back pain.

  • The kidney is located on either side of the spine, just below the ribcage. Infection or inflammation on the right kidney causes severe lower right back pain.
  • Kidney stones – cramping and sharp pain radiates across the lower abdomen, back and right side of the lower back.
  • Appendicitis
  • Endometriosis in women – Thickened walls of uterus causes severe lower back pain
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Lifestyle problems and habits that create lower right back pain:
  1. Long hours of sitting are one of the causes that affect the back muscles. Over time, it leads to wear and tear.
  2. Poor posture and lack of physical activities
  3. Sedentary lifestyle
  4. Lifting weights or overuse of back muscles cause injuries

Signs and Symptoms of Lower Right Back Pain:

The onset of a dull ache in the lower back region is a universal sign of lower right back pain. The pain awakens during a specific activity like lifting weight, bending, exercises, etc.

  • Radiating pain – the pain doesn’t affect the lower right back. It radiates from lower right back to buttocks, thighs, calf muscles and legs.
  • Pain worsens after long hours of sitting
  • Pain that reduces when you change positions take a small walk
  • Pain when you wake-up in the morning, which diminishes in a few minutes
  • Muscle spasms and sprains on the right hip
  • Tightness in the right side of the spine/hip
  • Lack of mobility or poor movement
  • Weakness in the limbs
  • Loss of control and balance

Diagnosis of Lower Right Back Pain:

Since many conditions cause lower right back pain, a detailed consultation with the physician, followed by tests and examinations help to diagnose the right cause.

Diagnosis of lower right back pain comprises of an analysis of the patient history of the medical condition, history of the diseases, current level of activity, symptoms, and lifestyle.

  • Information about the level of pain or symptoms – like how the pain worsens, how long the pain sustains, the intensity of the pain, how the pain radiates, what conditions exacerbate the pain etc
  • Level of activity – many people with lower back pain, are likely to be physically inactive
  • Sleep habits, sleep posture and kind of mattress used etc
  • Injuries, accidents, etc.

Followed by brief consultation, the physician performs a physical examination to narrow down the list of causes of lower right back pain. It includes,

  • Palpation to find tender areas, muscle spasms, joint abnormalities etc
  • Neurological examination
  • Reflex test
  • Leg Raise
  • A range of motion test

Imaging Test for further diagnosis is required in many instances. An imaging test is prescribed when the pain sustains for more than three months. The analysis apparently indicates the damage or injury to the spinal or muscles.

  • Xrays to analyse the bone abnormalities
  • CT Scan to diagnose the structure of the spine to assess the structure with clarity
  • MRI to detect the defects or malfunctions in the muscles, ligaments, and tissues
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Treatment for Lower Right Back Pain:

Treatment for lower right back pain is based on the diagnosis. The procedure is based on the actual cause of the pain. If a reduced activity or sedentary lifestyle is a significant cause, doing exercises, stretches, staying active etc. becomes the right treatment for lower right back pain.

Treatment includes lifestyle changes, simple home remedies, exercise recommendations, medications, and therapies. Based on the intensity of the pain, areas affected and diagnosis of the condition, treatment is decided by the physician.

If the lower right back pain is caused by organ problems, appropriate treatment for the internal organs reduces the pain.

NSAIDS – Non-Steroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs:

In case of moderate to severe pain, which persists for a more extended period, the physician prescribes NSAIDS to reduce lower right back pain. It provides better pain relief than Tylenol.

Muscle Relaxants:

If the OTC or prescription painkiller doesn’t work, the physician may prescribe muscle relaxants to relieve lower back pain.  It is useful for muscle spasms, sprain, sports injury, etc.

Simple home remedies:
  • Hot or Cold wraps – Applying ice cubes or a bag of frozen peas son the painful area reduces the pain instantly. Similarly, warm wrap also eases away the lower right back pain.
  • Change of mattress. Sleep on the medium firm mattress rather than a hard or soft bed.
  • Walking or jogging – in many cases, being inactive aggravates the pain. Unless there is a severe injury, physical activity reduces the lower right back pain.

The goal of the treatment for lower right back pain is not only to reduce pain but also treat the underlying cause. During the initial period, lower right back pain is easily manageable with proper rest and reducing the mobility. If the pain doesn’t subside after painkillers or home therapies, physical therapy may be required.

References:
  1. https://www.spine-health.com/conditions/lower-back-pain/lower-right-back-pain-internal-organs
  2. https://www.healthline.com/health/pain-in-lower-back-right-side
  3. https://www.webmd.com/back-pain/features/causes
  4. https://www.livestrong.com/article/168253-causes-of-lower-back-pain-on-the-right-side/
  5. https://www.spine-health.com/conditions/lower-back-pain/early-treatments-lower-back-pain
  6. https://www.prevention.com/health/health-concerns/highly-effective-treatments-for-lower-back-pain
  7. https://www.webmd.com/back-pain/features/medication#1
  8. https://www.spine-health.com/blog/6-overlooked-remedies-lower-back-pain-relief

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